Perfect weather, a fun game and no injuries is about all you can ask for from a spring game and yesterday delivered. The crowd enjoyed it (that may have been the first game in the past few years, scrimmage or otherwise, I’ve attended at which nobody yelled at Bobo’s playcalling).
What made it so much fun for me was the competition, mainly between Georgia’s coordinators. Grantham lived up to that quote of Jordan Jenkins I posted yesterday. After the first team offense knifed through the first team defense on the first series of the day, Grantham started blitzing often and to good effect. He used his time outs on the Black team’s last series of the first half and was rewarded with a touchdown. Bobo then ran the Red offense through a two-minute drill that quickly restored a ten-point lead at halftime. Things really got fun in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Red team was facing a fourth and short, down by six. Bobo put Murray back in the game… and Grantham called a time out, which visibly frustrated Bobo. Gurley, meantime, walked out on the field during the time out, clearly wanting to go in and was shooed back to the sideline. The end result was a toss to Marshall that did not pick up the first down. And then there was Amarlo Herrera woofing at the Red sideline after the Connor Norman interception on a deflection put the game away.
They may not have played for steaks or beenie-weenies, but don’t think they didn’t care who won yesterday.
As for some specifics:
- The biggest groan of the day came on the first play of the game, a little trickeration that saw Wooten loft a pass into the arms of a wide upon Lynch, who promptly dropped the ball. Red went on to score, so it didn’t matter, but still…
- The biggest cheer of the day came when Jarvis Jones made an appearance on the Black team sideline.
- The first thing you notice about Tray Matthews when he steps on the field is that physically he looks the part of a safety. He made a few solid hits, but what I was most pleased about was that there’s something to the talk about his instincts. I honestly cannot recall a moment after a play had ended at which time I thought he was out of position. For a true freshman, that’s rather astounding.
- Biggest surprise of the game was Jonathan Rumph, easily. He’s got Marlon Brown’s height, but isn’t as thick or as physical. He’s more of a glider than a blazer, so his speed is a little deceiving, but he can make plays. If he can bulk up some between now and September and learn how to block better, he’s got a good chance to be a significant contributor this fall.
- Nicest surprise of the game was that there appears to be more defensive line depth than I anticipated. Taylor and Mayes both did nice jobs on the second team line. (And Taylor does have a quick first step for a big man.)
- I don’t know how he does it, but somehow Josh Harvey-Clements manages to pull off looking both skinny and huge at the same time. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but he was all over the field and you can see why Grantham wants him out there. He’s tall enough and quick enough to be disruptive on both ends of the passing game.
- Herrera looks totally composed out there. He’s a leader. He also blew somebody up on a running play with what may have been the most violent hit of the day.
- There didn’t seem to be very much depth in the defensive secondary. Wilkerson started on the first team defense at corner and got picked on by Murray for two big completions on the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but did a few good things as well. On the Red team, there were plenty of smaller, slower guys to go around. I’d have to think some of the fall signees will have a good chance to crack the two-deep.
Marshall’sMitchell’s injury, things looked a little thin at wideout, at least until Rumph stepped up. That should get better by the time fall rolls around, though.
- Offensive line play looked good sometimes, overwhelmed sometimes and disinterested sometimes. I watched Theus literally give up on a play that led to a sack.
- Quarterback play? Well, it’s a G-Day that shouldn’t lead to any calls to bench Murray. Mason looked scattered in the first half (although the coaches didn’t do him any favors with the Black team roster), but looked much sharper in the second half. He’s got a quick release and is accurate with his short and intermediate throws. But he lacks Murray’s arm strength and I thought he was a little quick to give up on throwing the ball and take to the run. You can get by with that at a scrimmage, but it’s a good way to get yourself killed in SEC play. He was still worlds’ better than the rest of the pack. Parker Welch made a nice throw to Rumph for a TD, which certainly distinguished his afternoon from LeMay’s. Given Mason’s redshirt, let’s just say it’s a good thing Aaron Murray dodged the injury bullet last season.
- As for Murray’s day, it was more than good enough when he wanted it to be. The first TD drive of the day was almost too easy and he was brilliant on the two-minute drill to end the first half. But the blitzing bogged the offense down and Murray with it now and then. That being said, there are times when I think that no matter how much trouble the offense may be in, they can always call for Murray to throw a back shoulder pass. It is money. If there’s anybody in college ball who throws that pass better than Murray, I’d like to know who he is.
Overall, this remains a very talented team, although there are some depth issues here and there I’d like to see filled in by the fall. I couldn’t really say that the defense looks faster than it did (this year’s inside LBs aren’t going to match Ogletree in that department, for one thing), but it looked fast enough. And the offense’s biggest problem was that it seemed lackadaisical at times, maybe because of how easy the first score came. But there will be a ton of weapons available on that side of the ball, so it’s hard to get that worried. All in all, it looks like it could be one of those years when it all comes together – just maybe not at the very beginning.