ATHENS, Ga. — Joe Cox and Logan Gray will be the starting quarterbacks for the Red and Black teams, respectively, when Georgia ends its spring football schedule with today’s G-Day game at Sanford Stadium.
Cox, a senior, is expected to take over for Matthew Stafford as the team’s starting quarterback.
Gray on Friday was named the team’s biggest surprise of the spring on offense.
Freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger are listed behind Cox on the Red team depth chart.
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Among those joining Cox on the Red team’s starting offense will be tailback Caleb King, fullback Shaun Chapas and receivers Tony Wilson and A.J. Green. The offensive linemen on the Red team, made up of the first-team offense, are tackles Clint Boling and Cordy Glenn, guards Tanner Strickland and Justin Anderson and center Ben Jones. The tight end is Aron White.
The Black team, which will wear white, features Georgia’s first-team defense, including linebackers Rennie Curran, Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble and defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Kade Weston.
No more misses
While the coaching staff has been generally pleased with the productivity of Georgia’s secondary this spring, Mark Richt was hoping he would see a bit more.
In Georgia’s first scrimmage of the season, the defense picked off two early passes but ended up handing the ball back to the offense both times after fumbling the football.
A few days later, the defensive backs got their hands on four passes but didn’t come down with an interception.
Following a season in which the secondary picked off just five passes all year, the missed opportunities have become a significant source of consternation for Richt and his staff.
“Defense has got to take as much of a serious attitude toward ball security and turnovers as the offense does,” Richt said. “I’ve tried to make a bit of a point that — if four balls hit our hands in a game and we catch them, we’re going to win.”
Richt praises Butler
The spring isn’t exactly a showcase for special teams, so Richt hasn’t seen a whole lot of punter Drew Butler, but Richt’s still pretty confident Butler is ready to take over for Brian Mimbs.
The son of former Georgia place-kicker Kevin Butler, Drew Butler got in a few punts a season ago, mostly in situations that dictated a pooch kick. That’s all Richt needed to notice the best asset Butler brings to the table.
“One thing about Butler is he’s got a very quick operation time where he’ll catch it and get the ball off really quickly,” Richt said. “Mimbs wasn’t slow by any means, but Butler is a little bit quicker. The snap, the catch and the punt, that operation time is really outstanding.”
Of course, replacing a two-year starter like Mimbs won’t be easy, and Butler still needs to work on the one thing for which Mimbs was best known.
“Butler, when he hits it, it’s very, very nice, but he has to become a little more consistent,” Richt said. “But it’s good to see he has the ability to hang it high and deep. He just has to get a little more consistent.”
Bobo gets final say
Offensive line coach Stacy Searels got a new title this offseason — that of running game coordinator — but Richt said that hasn’t meant anything new for the offense.
“Coach Searels’ title was basically a public announcement of what’s already been happening. He’s been the run game coordinator, and him and Coach (Mike) Bobo work close. Coach Bobo still has the final say on everything, but as Mike’s studying the perimeter, (Searels) is studying the guts.”
Martinez pays off
Richt was vocal in his support for defensive coordinator Willie Martinez a year ago, even as the defense struggled down the stretch.
The support has paid off this spring, Richt said, and the Georgia defense has looked sharp during the past four weeks.
“I see a defensive team that is very unified right now and has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Richt said. “They feel like they have something to prove. We’ve quite frankly allowed them to practice in such a manner as to create the attitude or the edge that they need to.”