Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post G-Day

Monday April 10, 2006

It’s a good thing that the Black team’s first play on Saturday was a 67-yard play-action touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Mikey Henderson. In one swift stroke, the hype surrounding both Stafford and Henderson was validated, and that was at least something to take from G-Day. Forget that the coverage was horribly blown or that neither Henderson nor Stafford really set the world on fire for the rest of the game. One play was enough.

That’s how it is with intra-squad scrimmages. If the offense does well, is the defense a weakness? If the receivers light it up, do we have a Swiss cheese secondary? And so it was with G-Day – enough rough edges to keep the pessimists sleepless and enough bright spots to get us salivating. Some storylines by position:


I’m glad to see a consensus forming around the opinion that Stafford didn’t so much dominate and grab the starting job as everyone else just took a step backwards. Drops aside, it took Tereshinski four series to complete a pass. Cox was intercepted so much that he should be the MVP for the defense. Cox’s performance was unfortunate. He led his units on some pretty nice drives but got nothing out of them and actually gave up points. As for Tereshinski, we saw more of what we saw in the Arkansas and Florida games: a limited arm, preference for the tight ends and other intermediate passes, and very low point production. He did have some of the better pocket presence of the quarterbacks and stepped up for a few nice passes.

Stafford’s performance was all about comfort. Coach Richt pointed out how well he had taken to ball fakes, and that was clear on his first pass. But a bobbled snap and some tipped passes showed that he is still finding his way around the pocket. As I expected, he’ll also have to learn when the play is over and when to throw the ball away or take the sack. Still, if this is just a matter of comfort and experience, it will take a lot to convince me that he shouldn’t be the starter.


It was the Jason Johnson show. Like Johnny Brown and Ronnie Powell before him, this reserve fullback from Chicago exploded to lead the backs in rushing and also had some nice catches out in the flat. We’ll see a bit of Johnson during the season, but with Southerland and dozens of tailbacks out there, it will be tough to find him much playing time.

As for the running backs, it is becoming pretty clear that at the very least Brown and Lumpkin are heads and shoulders above the rest. Lumpkin has great power and can very often make the first guy miss – a very important skill – and Brown has the explosiveness to break off a big run, though he sometimes gets trapped behind the line. The days of the “three-headed monster” are coming to a welcome close. The depth will still be there, and it will become even deeper with the addition of Moreno this fall. That depth is invaluable and will likely come in very handy at some point this season. The majority of the carries should go to Brown and Lumpkin though, and I hope that even among them one will continue to stand out.


I need to go back and look at this more closely, but I don’t recall a single outright drop by a wide receiver. There were several contested balls that weren’t caught of course, but the open catches were made. That wasn’t the case with the tight ends. Three huge drops punctuated the first half, and Milner once again cost Tereshinski the opportunity to get on track early. Chandler likewise had two first half drops, one of which earned some mild criticism from Coach Richt on the TV broadcast. Chandler had a much better second half and ended up with one of the higher receiving totals of the afternoon. We’ll probably get a chance to see what the freshman Ward can do at TE.

The receivers as a group didn’t have a poor day. Mikey Henderson maintained good balance on his touchdown reception. Kenneth Harris proved to be incredibly dependable and pretty fearless going across the middle. If Georgia has some receivers who can be effective downfield, there is a huge role for Harris underneath. Kris Durham showed some very nice hands if not blazing speed. Gartrell got in there for a few good grabs. Receivers had a bit more difficulty with passes to the outside. Massaquoi was more or less shut down by Paul Oliver. Quarterbacks had placement problems on many passes. Out routes were frequently jumped. Overall, I didn’t see receivers outworking defensive backs to make plays, but they did make the catches when the ball was delivered to open spaces.

Offensive line

Some good, some bad. The line was most effective on the delay running plays. Pass protection was iffy, but you never know how much of that is the line and how much of that is some outstanding defensive ends knowing the plays they see in practice every day. Shackleford probably had the most disappointing day.

Defensive line

Nice performance. The ends are solid, and tackles Owens and Weston really impressed. The DL frequently had to hold back and keep from unloading in the backfield. We’ll see how the depth holds up here, but I’m very encouraged by the top of the depth chart.


Very active. The position changes seemed to have worked out well. Tony Taylor looked much more at home as did Jarvis Jackson and were very disruptive against the pass. Marcus Washington looked good as well.

Defensive backs

Clearly the story of the day was the play of the cornerbacks. Paul Oliver has blossomed into Georgia’s next dominant corner, and he has the size to bang around with the bigger receivers. Flowers was also effective. The biggest buzz of the day might be about high school senior freshman Asher Allen. Allen was involved on the broken play that allowed the first score of the game, but he was also involved on a number of nice defensive plays including a 100+ yard interception return for a touchdown on an underthrown fade pass from Joe Cox. On that play, Allen got a chance to show the speed which has him a candidate to return kicks. Safeties weren’t as spectacular, but they were still decent. Battle, Byrd, and Kelin Johnson got their nose in on several plays.

Special teams

The kickers don’t get a chance to show much, but it was good to see that Bailey is OK after Asher Allen forgot compounded his mistake on the long touchdown pass by rushing (and running into) Bailey on the extra point. Asher also got a lot of time fielding punts and looked shaky on several of them. We saw on his interception return that he has the speed to be a great return guy, but he’ll have to work on becoming sure-handed back there first.

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