2009 G Day: News and Notes

ATHENS - David Hale's news and notes from Georgia's G Day.

NO HELPING HANDS

As well as the defense played Saturday, there almost certainly would have been a few more points scored if Georgia's receivers had done a better job holding on to the football.

"I thought each quarterback put the ball on the money most of the time," Richt said. "It would have been nice to see the receivers hold on to it, and it would have been a lot more exciting for fans as well."

Receivers dropped six passes in the game – several of which would have been for big gains. Aron White dropped two passes over the middle, and Israel Troupe had a grab close to the end zone that squirted out of his hands at the last second. Vernon Spellman, Caleb King and Zach Renner also had drops in the game.

It was a source of concern Saturday, but quarterback Joe Cox said the performance hasn't been indicative of the job the receivers had done overall this spring.

"We haven't had a problem with drops, so it was kind of surprising to see so many of them," Cox said. "But it happens. This is just one of those things where you make a mistake, and you just try to not make it again. I'm still completely confident in the wide receivers we have, and I know they'll use this day to work that much harder this summer to get ready for the season."

READY FOR RETURNS

Jeff Owens used a towel to rally the crowd during a few dull moments in the game. Demarcus Dobbs wore a protective boot and hobbled up and down the sideline with crutches tucked under his arms. Bruce Figgins watched his depleted corps of tight ends haul in six of the 21 receptions in the game but never stepped on the field, himself.

More than two dozen Bulldogs missed Saturday's G-Day game due to injuries, but by the time Richt sees his team again in August, that number shouldn't be nearly as high.

"We're short about 25 healthy bodies, and when our rookies and freshmen come in, by June there will be another 50 healthy guys running around, which will be a boost in and of itself," Richt said.

Only wide receiver Kris Durham, who will undergo shoulder surgery next month, and offensive lineman Josh Davis, who had two shoulder surgeries this offseason, are expected to miss any of the regular season, Richt said.

Still, this spring proved to be only marginally useful in terms of defining roles in the fall because there were simply too many players on the sidelines to make a fair assessment. But while the competition may not have been as fierce as the coaching staff preferred, the results were still positive.

"I think we accomplished as much as we could under the circumstances," Richt said. "Now it's going to be up to our senior leaders to take us from this point to where we need to be in August."

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN

One position in which injuries prevented much shuffling on the depth chart this spring was on the offensive line.

After a season in which offensive line coach Stacy Searels had to piecemeal a group together nearly every week, plenty of depth appears to be on the horizon once Trinton Sturdivant, Chris Davis, Vince Vance and Josh Davis return from injuries. All four missed the spring.

"We'll have some options in the fall, so there's no telling what can happen," said Clint Boling, one of the few healthy starters guaranteed of a spot in the starting lineup in the fall. "We'll have a lot of guys with experience, and that's going to help us all. It's going to bring out the competition, and guys are eager to accept that."

While Boling figures to be a clear-cut starter in September, just where he'll land on the line is up in the air. He played every position on the line except center a year ago, and Richt said there's no safe bet as to where he might end up in 2009.

"If Trinton comes back healthy, I could see Clint playing the left guard spot," Richt said. "That's if we feel certain that Cordy (Glenn)'s a right tackle. Cordy could still be a guard and Vincent Vance might be a right tackle. There's a lot of things that could move around."

FINALLY GETTING ACTION

Dontavius Jackson has watched and waited long enough. The freshman tailback redshirted the 2008 season and was held out of spring practice with an injury up until Monday. But Jackson finally returned to full participation last week, and although his work on G-Day – three carries for just one yard – was hardly eye-popping, Richt said he was happy just to have his tailback healthy and carrying the football.

"He came out healthy," Richt said. "It's tough to not get into any kind of contact until this game, but I was just glad he got to play, get tackled a few times and get the confidence that his injury is OK."

A GOOD CROWD

There's nothing quite like having your first taste of action in front of fans at Sanford Stadium to be broadcast for the world to see, but that's exactly what was in store for freshman quarterback Zach Mettenberger on Saturday.

"I'd never been on national TV," Mettenberger said. "It was definitely a different atmosphere out there than Oconee County."

The G-Day game was broadcast nationally for the first time by ESPN on Saturday, and several former Bulldogs made the trip to Athens to put in some time in front of the cameras or behind the microphone.

Matt Stinchcomb, Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno were among the many former Georgia players on hand for the game, but Richt was far more impressed with the turnout in the stands.

The official attendance totaled 42,458, and the team raised 15,000 pounds worth of donations for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia as well.

"It was a great crowd, beautiful weather," Richt said. "I thought it was a great day for Georgia football."


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