August 15, 2012

Turnovers irritate Richt



As he sat down to address the media following Wednesday's second scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, Georgia coach Mark Richt took a moment to preface what he was about to say.

"I'm gonna guard my words a little bit," Richt mumbled, before rattling off some statistics, not all of which could be considered positive.

Neither side of the ball was spared.

On offense, even quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason drew his coach's ire.

Murray completed 8 of 14 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, while Mason completed 8 of 18 for 67 yards and a score.

However, all Richt cared to talk about were the fact each of the two threw an interception and lost a fumble, two of five fumbles the Bulldog offense committed during the 90-minute scrimmage, the team's second of the pre-season.

"They can make up an excuse if they want to, but the bottom line is - it's just like we told the running backs - when we run a play, you better bring it back to the manager, "Richt said. "I don't care if the whistle blew and it comes out. The ball never comes out."

Murray and Mason weren't the only quarterbacks with turnover issues.

Christian LeMay (who also had an interception) and Parker Welch also lost the ball, as did backup running back Brandon Harton.

"I saw some good things. There were some good things, but I saw a lot of bad things. There were three picks, just bad interceptions, bad throws - well, one that Corey (Moore) made was a good play so I'll give him that," Richt said. "But every time the quarterback got touched they fumbled the ball. They're not supposed to get tackled, but sometimes they'll get touched. Every time they got hit or touched a little bit they fumbled the ball. I wasn't too happy about that."

Neither was Murray.

"We've been pretty sharp all camp and haven't really thrown many interceptions. We had been doing a good job not fumbling, but today we didn't as good a job with that," Murray said. "There were a couple of fumbles in the pocket, not keeping two hands on the ball at all times. We've just got to be more careful. When you've got those big bodies moving around you, you've really got to be sure you're protecting the ball."

Richt's barbs weren't relegated to the just the play of his offense.

The Bulldog coach lamented that the first-team defense allowed the second-team offense to drive the length of the field before scoring on a pass from Mason to freshman Blake Tibbs.

"Our No. 2 offense drove the field on our No. 1 defense and scored a touchdown - that was Tibbs' touchdown on a throw from Hutson . Harton broke a tackle in the backfield for a big first down to spark the drive. I didn't like that much," Richt said. "The No. 1 offense started out great, but after the No. 2 offense scored, the No. 2 defense stoned the No. 1 offense the next three drives and the one-minute drive. … the No. 1 defense got scored on at the goal line…I didn't like that."

Richt conceded there were a couple of positive notes, but even those did not appear to sweeten his mood.

For the second straight week, freshman running back Todd Gurley led all rushers with seven carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns, including one of 66 yards. Fellow frosh Keith Marshall also had a big day, rushing five times for 62 yards, including one of 56 yards.

Richard Samuel and Ken Malcome also enjoyed big good days, rushing for 40 and 35 yards, respectively, and scoring one touchdown apiece.

Wide receiver Chris Conley led all receivers with four catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

"I'm thankful for Coach (Mike) Bobo giving me some opportunities. I had some more deep plays. they put me in the slot and threw to me underneath a lot. I made some play on the outside, some on the inside and I made some intermediate plays, "Conley said. "It was a good scrimmage for me - different areas of the field - I got to use a lot of different parts of my game."

Defensively, linebacker Chase Vasser led the way with three sacks, while freshman Josh Harvey-Clemons had four tackles, along with an interception and a sack.

"There were some nice plays and I think the running backs ran well, but like I told the team, I thought we looked 'good,' like a pretty good team. But you know, pretty good is about 8-4, but I don't even know if that's pretty good, maybe 9-3, buy you know we'd like to do better than 8-4, 9-3, but that's about how we played today. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great, either," Richt said. "Was there a great effort every play, No? Was there great effort lot of time? Yeah. Was every guy busting his tail every play? No. I don't know. I didn't see a team that was ready to be great. I saw team that just wanted to be pretty good. I wasn't that thrilled about it."

Statistics

Rushing: Gurley 7-82 2 TD, Marshall 5-62, Samuel 6-50, Malcome 5-35, Harton 7-31. Passing: Murray 8-14-1-1, Mason 8-18-67-1-1, LeMay 2-5-0-1. Receiving: Conley 4-114 TD, Tibbs 3-32 TD, Rome 2-32, Gurley 2-22, King 2-9. (Wooten, Harton, Samuel, Hicks and McGowan also had catches but Richt did not have yardage). Kicking:Morgan 1-for-1 on FG, 42 yards; Barber 2 punts, 49.75 average. Defense: Vasser (six tackles, four for loss, three sacks), Williams (four tackles, interception), Ogletree (four tackles, two for loss, two sacks), Moore (one interception), Harvey-Clemons (four tackles, one for loss, one pick and one sack), Drew (four tackles), Rambo (four tackles), Swann (three tackles), Jarvis Jones (three tackles, sacks), Sanders Commings (three tackles, pass breakup).