Bulldogs Blog

Spring game running blog

Final: Red, 32-31

I was just writing this:

The Red Team, which deserved to win anyway, came back and emerged the victor, thanks to a freakish defensive play.

As the Black Team was trying to move into position for a go-ahead field goal, QB Parker Welch was hit, and the ball popped in the air. Walk-on Ricky Lowe picked it off in the air, and ran the rest of the way for a (very unofficial) 61 yards.

But then this happened:

Whoops. Jay Rome got open in the flat, caught a pass from Christian LeMay, and ran the rest of the way for a (very unofficial) play of 61 yards.

That threatened to tie it at 32 with 59 seconds left, but Mark Richt ordered the Black Team to go for two. LeMay's pass was incomplete, and as it turned out the Reds did squeak by.

And so that's a wrap. I'll be heading to the locker room for some interviews and other updates.

9:00 left in game, Black Team leads 25-17

It's the point of the game where ridiculous stuff happens, as we just saw:

First, the Red Team took over at its own 1, after an interception, and promptly fumbled because it appeared QB Hutson Mason wasn't paying attention. It was recovered by the defense for a touchdown.

Then came the extra point: The defense didn't go out there. Yup, it was just the 11 on the kick unit, with no defense. Upon the snap, holder Adam Erickson ran it in for the 2-point conversion. The fans both laughed and cheered.

I suspect the move was made so that the game didn't end up going overtime.

2:58 left in third quarter, game tied at 17

The Black Team figured out how to make this a game: Have the coaches send a bunch of Red Teamers to their side.

Hutson Mason, who began the day on the Reds, led a touchdown-scoring drive to make it 17-10. (On a drive that featured a lot of quick throws to take away the need for good blocking.)

And then Richard Samuel, who also began the game on the Reds, scored the game-tying touchdown.

Interesting that Samuel is getting some late carries at tailback. He still appears ticketed for fullback, but they'll give him some looks at tailback just to avoid ruling it out.

9:27 left in third quarter, Red Team leads 17-3

When the rosters for this game were announced, I told a colleague the Black Team should be expected to win, because it has the first-team defense. But that colleague responded that the Red Team should win because the Black Team offense might stink.

He was right, I was wrong.

The Red Team (starting offense) just got its second touchdown against the starting defense, on a 31-yard pass play from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King. That makes it basically a draw today between the first-team offense and defense.

But the matchup of the backups has been a blowout, with the defense dominating. Why? Because the second-team offensive line is really struggling. As I'm writing this, the White Team is finally moving downfield, but that's on quick throws that don't require much blocking. And to do this the Black Team had to add top backup QB Hutson Mason, who had been on the Red Team.

Offensive line coach Will Friend said last week that he had five or six guys he really felt good about. We're seeing that now.

Halftime: Red Team leads 10-3

Some more notes and observations:

- The defense gave up 10 points on four five, but it more or less had the advantage for the half. The offense had a great second drive for a touchdown, but then it could only get a field goal out of the LeMay interception.

- Not that this is breaking news or anything, but the first-team offense did much more with Aaron Murray in there than Hutson Mason.

- Branden Smith, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings and Damian Swann have each gone back for punts. There have been no kickoffs. (The offense just starts at the 25.)

The kick and punt return spots are going to be wide open entering the summer. Perhaps it's just because Malcolm Mitchell was injured, but I'm not sure he'll be a factor on special teams if he's already playing defense and offense. I'm a bit surprised we haven't seen more of Justin Scott-Wesley returning kicks. Maybe that's coming.

11:09 left in second quarter, Red Team leads 7-3

So back in that previous post, when I say you'd expect the Black Team to have the advantage? Well, not so much at this point.

The first-team offense put together a good second drive, and scored on the first-team defense. Ken Malcome's 3-yard touchdown run finishes off a good end-to-end drive.

While Malcome got the start and the touchdown, Isaiah Crowell had some good plays on that drive too. He didn't have a lot of room to make big plays, but he showed a good straight-ahead running style.

It's also a decent sign for the offensive line that it was able to move the ball, after being dominated most of the spring. Center David Andrews is playing both ways, incidentally, as he continues to get a crash course in anticipation of being the starter.

3:30 left in first quarter, Black Team leads 3-0

A few observations after each team had one possession:

- The Red Team (or the starting offense) got one first down, on the first play, and then the Black Team (or starting defense) shut them down. That's kind of how you'd expect this to go.

- The first play saw Aaron Murray go right at Arthur Lynch. I don't think that's an accident. Murray and Lynch have a rapport off the field and in practice, now they just need to develop it on the field.

- Ken Malcome got the start over Isaiah Crowell, and got the first two carries.

- A very good opening possession for Christian LeMay, who completed a 27-yarder to Rantavious Wooten on the first play, then later hit Taylor Bradberry for a 21-yarder.

That's a great start for LeMay, even if it is against backups. And for what it's worth they've also subbed in some defenders from the Black Team, like Christian Robinson and Garrison Smith.

- Walk-on Adam Erickson nailed a 47-yard field goal. I wouldn't say Marshall Morgan (the incoming kicker recruit) should be worried yet, but Erickson is first in line in case either Morgan or Collin Barber falters.

Pregame: 1:30 p.m.

It's a beautiful day here in Athens. Let's play two spring football games! No wait, I think one will do, especially with everyone hurt.

I've taken my seat in the press box. A few quick notes:

- It looks now like Richard Samuel, who had been dealing with a concussion, will be able to play. So there's at least one interesting sub-plot, in terms of how much he plays fullback, and how well.

- The cover of the G-Day program is the same as the spring media guide, with one exception: Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree have been edited out. Hmmm. (I'm not alone in observing this.)

- Downtown Athens was fairly lively, and the fact this isn't on live television should help attendance.

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