ATHENS, Ga. — It was Aaron Murray’s first real action as Georgia’s starting quarterback inside Sanford Stadium. There were maybe 20 people in the stands. And no media.
But relying on his coach, his teammates and himself, the debut went well.
And, of course, it helped to have All-SEC wide receiver A.J. Green.
Murray, a redshirt freshman, threw two touchdowns to Green, highlighting his first preseason scrimmage.
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“I felt more comfortable in the pocket today,” said Murray, who, according to the team, was 12-of-21 for 237 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. “That’s been my biggest thing, just relaxing and trusting (the offensive line), so that’s what I did today. Trust them a lot today. And when there was pressure, just let those guys make the necessary blocks.”
Murray admitted that much of his strategy simply was getting the ball to Green. Both touchdowns were more than 60 yards, one a route on which Green took the rest of the way, another when Green beat the coverage downfield.
“It’s pretty nice, the plays he makes,” Murray said. “It definitely makes things easier.”
Green returned the praise, saying he liked Murray’s presence on the field.
“He was very confident, real poised,” Green said. “He went through his reads pretty good. The balls he threw to me were just really good.”
The interception was by freshman safety Alec Ogletree in a red-zone situation. The decision to throw the pass fell under what coach Mark Richt called the “foolish” category.
“Other than that play, he made a lot of very good decisions and good throws,” Richt said. “Definitely, he has a very good command in the huddle and of the system. He does a good job of getting us in the right plays. We’ve given him a lot of leeway in that regard.”
Among other notable showings: Tailbacks Washuan Ealey (66 yards on five carries) and Caleb King (63 yards on 14 carries), receiver Logan Gray (45 yards on two catches) and freshman backup quarterback Hutson Mason (9-for-23 for 78 yards, one touchdown and one interception).
The first units went against the second-teamers on both sides of the ball. So Richt was happy that the first-teamers on the whole “whipped” their counterparts.
“There were some nice plays made on both sides of the ball,” Richt said. “If you’re an optimistic guy like I am, you’re like, ‘That’s what we can be.’ So that was encouraging to me.”
Linebacker Darryl Gamble estimated the defense had about eight sacks, half of them by him.
“And if we were playing a real game and guys had laid out, it could’ve been more,” Gamble said.