Stafford and Moreno lead way at G-Day

ATHENS – Georgia's offense erased most of the worries surrounding its potential in Saturday's annual spring G-Day game. In the meantime, it created a whole new set regarding the Bulldog defense.

The Red team, made up of the first-team offense and second-team defense, outgunned the second-team offense and the first-team defense of the Black team 34-21 in front of 21,407 shivering fans in Sanford Stadium. The wind chill at the game's 2 p.m. start was 35 degrees.

"I thought today was a great day other than the wind whipping around," head coach Mark Richt said. "I can't hardly think of a thing to complain about."

Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez can think of plenty, like the 55 total points scored or the 11 plays of 20 or more yards surrendered by both defenses in the 40-minute game. Georgia's offensive groups averaged more than 35 yards on those 11 plays and 6.9 yards on the game's 93 total plays.

"You're concerned any time you give up that many big plays in a ballgame," said Martinez, who coached on the Black team sideline and threatened after the game to throw out this depth chart. "There was some miscommunication, and that's always a concern because you can't have those things, but we're a long way off from a game. Hopefully, we'll get that corrected.

"They've got something to think about all summer."

Safety Kelin Johnson, whose unit took most of the abuse, said the Bulldogs are in need of defensive leadership, and he holds himself, as a senior, most accountable.

"Of course it's a concerning day," he said. "Our leadership is going to have to step up. We just have to hold everybody accountable. When you know you're getting gashed and missing tackles and guys running after the catch, it hurts you, hurts you a lot."

Sophomore quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Red team by completing 6-of-12 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, a 60-yard bomb to Mikey Henderson and a 6-yard strike to tight end Tripp Chandler in the final minute of the game.

Redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno led all rushers with 68 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries for the Red team. Senior Kregg Lumpkin had 13 carries and 53 yards for the Red team.

In Richt's previous five seasons in Athens, the defense always has been ahead of the offense in spring, and that's the natural order of things, he said. Still, he defended the defense Saturday while also acknowledging the big plays.

"When I was coaching at Florida State, every fifth or sixth year the offense would score a couple points in the spring and that happened to be this spring here," he said.

It isn't supposed to look so easy, though. Backup quarterback Joe Cox played for both teams and completed 7-of-8 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Kris Durham had a game-high six catches for 137 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown on which he ran through and by several defensive teammates. Fullback Brannan Southerland carried the ball twice for 19 yards and caught two passes for 48 yards.

For Martinez, it all looked too familiar.

"I'm not saying we had a horrible spring, but you can't give up big plays, and we're giving up big plays too many times," he said. "Whether it's once a day or twice, it's very glaring and it just can't happen. We may shuffle our lineup and see if we can get it straightened out."

Richt stuck to the positives after the game, of which the most heartening for him is the offensive line. The first-team group of center Fernando Velasco, guards Scott Haverkamp and Chris Davis and tackles Trinton Sturdivant and Chester Adams cleared the way for 373 yards of Red team offense against the first-team defense.

"The last 11 practices, that same five played every single snap," Richt said. "By no means is that a set-in-stone lineup right now, but they deserve to be the front line. To think they're going to be a dominating bunch this year would be asking a lot, but I think they're going to be a pretty good group from what I saw today."


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