Richt insists 2-QB system is alive at Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — <b>D.J. Shockley</b> admits he may have had a look of concern on his face when he came off the field following a lost fumble last Saturday against Mississippi.

But D. J. Shockley insists his concern was not about a lack of confidence in his ability to hold the ball or avoid turnovers.  

"I was thinking more does Coach (Mark) Richt have confidence in me,'' Shockley said.

The concern was justified. Following the second-quarter fumble on his only series of plays, Shockley did not come back in the game. Instead Richt left starter David Greene on the field to lead the Bulldogs to the 31-17 win over Ole Miss.  

Richt's decision also led to new questions this week about the status of the two-quarterback system as No. 7 Georgia prepares to visit No. 24 Auburn Saturday. Richt says he intends to play both quarterbacks against Auburn, but says Shockley's fumble affected plans for the Ole Miss game.

Admitted Richt: "I really just lost my nerve on (the fumble). I'm not sure if it was Shockley or the center. I should have played Shockley. It was just a situation where I felt I should keep Greene in the rest of the ballgame. Looking back on it, I don't know if that was the best thing.''  

Richt said Tuesday Shockley has responded with "very good'' practices Monday and Tuesday. "Good practice, good attitude,'' Richt said.

Richt worried that not giving Shockley another chance against Ole Miss might rattle the redshirt freshman's confidence, especially since Shockley threw an interception while playing only three possessions the previous week against Florida.

"It makes you wonder what will happen next,'' Shockley admitted this week. "At the same time you have to be ready when your name is called.''

Shockley said Richt approached him after the Ole Miss game. "He sensed a little disappointment on my face (and said) he felt a little nervous coming out after the fumble,'' Shockley said.

Added Shockley: "I can see where it came from, but at the same time confidence is something I thought I earned.''

Said Richt: "It wasn't like he was down and moping. I probably felt worse than he did. Maybe not. I should have played him more.''

Injuries to receivers Damien Gary and Terrence Edwards and the recent change in playing time for Shockley have some fans wondering if Shockley might be given a chance  to play receiver this week.

No thanks, says Shockley.

While no one is ruling out the possibility for any player to assume a different role for a trick play, Shockley and Richt have been consistent in saying there are no plans for a position change.

"I still think the world of Shockley and we'll make sure he gets a great opportunity this week,'' Richt said.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says his defense will prepare for both quarterbacks but expects to see more of Greene.

"The main thing you have to do is (prepare to face) the starter,'' Tuberville said. "It looked like they had a change in philosophy going more with Greene, but you never know. I'm sure Coach  Richt uses Shockley as a momentum changer. It's good to have two like that.''

The biggest change would be for Georgia to return to the rotation it had settled into before the Florida game — two series for Greene for every series for Shockley.  Against Florida, Shockley played three possessions. On his first drive, Georgia was stopped on three downs. On his second series, his first-down pass intended for Terrence Edwards was returned 47 yards for a touchdown. On his one possession in the second half, Florida again stopped the Bulldogs on three downs.  

Then came the brief  appearance in the second quarter of the Ole Miss game. On first down, Shockley kept the ball for no gain on a play-action pass and took what appeared to be a late hit on the Georgia sideline, prompting Richt to issue an unusually strong and animated complaint to the officials.

On second down, Shockley again kept the ball and this time ran for 10 yards and a first down. But on his next play, he fumbled the snap from center, giving Ole Miss possession at the Georgia 27. Five plays later, the Rebels scored to tie the game at 14-14.

Since completing 10 of 14 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns with one interception against Kentucky, Shockley is 3 for 6 passing for 27 yards with one interception and one lost fumble in his last two games.

Shockley also has rushed for 23 yards on five carries the last two weeks. Shockley's strength running the ball could help earn him more playing time if the shortage of receivers leads to a greater emphasis on the running game against Auburn.

"That's something to look at,'' Shockley said. "If I'm back there, that's another threat.''

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