August 26, 2009

Offensive mistakes worry Richt

The way Mark Richt sees it, Georgia is fortunate that its season-opener at Oklahoma State is still nine days away.

Based on Wednesday's "practice game" at Sanford Stadium, there is still apparently a lot of work to be done.

"Overall, my feeling was, we were not quite ready to beat Oklahoma State. I'm glad we've got (nine) more days to prepare" Richt said. "We had a few too many penalties. We were substituting pretty freely because it was warm and some of your younger guys didn't handle it very well in my opinion."

Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium was simulated to copy a half of football under actual game conditions with the Bulldogs' first and second teams pitted against the scout team squad.

The final score was 27-24, but the results were deceiving considering Richt put his veterans in a 21-0 hole.

"This was just a stepping stone for us to get better," defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. "We had the opportunity to see where we're at but we've still got a lot of room to improve."

Richt admitted that the defense did have its moments.

The No. 1 unit only gave up three points, and got an interception from nickel back Makri Pugh.

Although the quarterbacks were off-limits to any contact, Owens figured they would have gotten "quite a few" sacks against the scout team offense, which was quarterbacked by Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Vernon Spellman.

"There were some fine defensive plays. I thought we had some good, solid tackling. I thought the tackling was pretty good," Richt said. "It's hard to really tell sometimes defensively because you can't protect well enough to get the ball out, but just listening a little bit I think we had a couple of guys open where they (scout team quarterbacks) couldn't' get the ball to them because of the pressure, but I don't know if we'll be that fortunate down after down. I'm sure there will be times we do put pressure on them."

Offensively, Richt said there were some obvious issues.

Although the Bulldogs got a touchdown pass each from Cox and backup Logan Gray (who also received snaps with the first team), Richt said the offensive continuously hurt itself with penalties that forced it to reach for field goals instead.

"It was just an erratic day, an erratic day," Richt said. "We hit some nice plays then have a couple of penalties that hurt us and forced us to kick field goals instead of touchdowns. We just weren't sharp, that's the main thing.

"We weren't awful. But when you're playing this game and you're having almost your first and second team versus the rest, you would think we would have been a little more explosive offensively against that group."

Cox said his touchdown pass when 40 yards to sophomore A.J. Green while Gray threw one to Tavarres King.

"I really don't know what to take from it (the scrimmage)," Cox said. "We got some good looks from the scouts and we did some good things. It was just another scrimmage but it was just a lot more structured today."

Although no statistics were kept from the nearly two-hour scrimmage, Richt said that running back Richard Samuel "ran the ball well."

"Richard had a good day, he was solid," said Richt, who added that the team appeared to avoid any serious injury during the two-hour scrimmage.

This and that

• Cox, Owens, Rennie Curran and Demarcus Dobbs have been named captain for next week's game.

• Richt said center Ben Jones (ankle) will return to practice Monday.

• Kicker Blair Walsh will once again handle kickoff and extra points.

Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans did not scrimmage but Richt said the pair could have gone.

• Richt revised his depth chart for kickoff return, tabbing Brandon Boykin, Richard Samuel and freshman Branden Smith has the top three. Freshman Carlton Thomas will continue to get looks there as well.

• Linebacker Darius Dewberry and tight Aron White both participated in the scrimmage. Caleb King did not.

• The Bulldogs were serenaded by a marching band version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma" and other crowd noise over the loud speakers during the scrimmage.

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