Offense makes big plays in scrimmage

ATHENS – Georgia's offense barely had any time to operate but still made big play after big play. The defense had a disappointing afternoon but still finished with 12 sacks.

It was that kind of day Friday as the Bulldogs held their second scrimmage of spring practice.

The line remains the offense's biggest problem, quarterback Matthew Stafford said. The pass protection and run blocking both were a problem during a two-hour workout in Sanford Stadium, Stafford said.

"We're struggling a little bit," he said. "It takes a while. Everybody said we're going to have a lot of guys coming back, but we've got Chris Davis playing a different position. We're going to have a new guard in there and a new right tackle. We're working hard. I think we'll be all right."

Head coach Mark Richt said this year's struggles have been worse than last year, when the team knew its offensive line would be an issue.

"If that's what he thinks, then it has to be true," said Davis, a sophomore who has moved from guard to center. "We just have to take that and build on it. We have to get our effort up and play ball every day."

The offensive line is slowed by the absence of sophomore guard Clint Boling, who is out the rest of spring due to mono, but the problems run deeper than that, Richt said.

"The good new is, when they did it right, it looked great, but there are still too many missed assignments," Richt said. "Guys are still fundamentally struggling, especially our second unit."

Georgia put up some impressive offensive numbers despite the line issues. Freshman running back Dontavius Jackson had 56 yards on nine carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run. Fellow freshman Richard Samuel had eight carries for 30 yards. Starter Knowshon Moreno had 11 yards on four carries.

"Richard made some nice runs out of nothing I thought at times," Richt said. "We didn't run the ball really very well. We had one long run and the rest was mostly the backs trying to make the best of it."

Samuel also had three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown (longer than 40 yards), but freshman Walter Hill led the receivers with four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Michael Moore had three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Moreno had two catches for 74 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Israel Troupe had four catches for 48 yards, and Tavarres King had a 42-yard touchdown on a Hail Mary.

Stafford was 8-of-12 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback Joe Cox also threw two touchdown passes, and freshman Logan Gray threw one.

Senior wide receivers Kenneth Harris and Mohamed Massaquoi, who would be Georgia's starters if the season started this week, Richt said, missed the scrimmage due to a sprained ankle (Harris) and a jammed neck (Massaquoi). Freshman running back Caleb King sat out to rest his sprained knee one more day. He'll definitely be back Monday, he said.

"I was planning on practicing, but they told me just to rest up for Monday and for G-Day," King said.

The bright spot for the defense was freshman Justin Houston, who had three of unit's 12 sacks. (Those came in what Richt estimated was a 100-play scrimmage. All scrimmages are closed to the media, and the statistics are unofficial.)

Linebacker Darryl Gamble had 7.5 tackles and defensive tackle Geno Atkins had 4.5 and a sack.

"The defense just gave up too many big plays," Richt said.

"It was guys not focused, and they didn't come out there with an edge," linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. "They weren't ready to play. It's inexcusable at any time, it doesn't matter when it is. I guess they were just looking forward to the weekend."

NOTE: Georgia will take two bus loads full of players and coaches to Twiggs County on Sunday the funeral of Chris Little's mother, who died in her sleep Wednesday. Little, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman, is sitting out this spring due to injury.


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