Mason, Conley, Green stand out at UGA scrimmage

Who really wins a scrimmage anyway?

That was the gist of the feedback provided by the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday after they completed their first scrimmage of spring practice at Sanford Stadium. The session was closed to the media and to the public, so perspective had to be provided by the players and coaches as to how it went.

The fact that the sum total of their commentary was that it was a push or a draw seems to point to it being a good day had by all. That, and the fact that no injuries were reported.

“I thought the scrimmage was about like the weather — good and bad,” coach Mark Richt said after the two-hour workout, conducted amid intermittent rain, sometimes hard. “Obviously, when the defense does well, the offense isn’t doing well — and vice versa. So there’s always something good happening and there’s always something bad happening, I guess you could say.”

Said wide receiver Chris Conley: “There were highs and lows on both sides, which I guess is good. That’s something you want to see. There was competitiveness on both sides by everyone. I can’t really pick a true winner of the day. I guess Georgia won.”

Conley provided some of the day’s highlights for the offense. He and quarterback Hutson Mason hooked up on back-to-back plays for touchdown passes, the first from 14 yards and the second from 40.

And Mason solidified his status as the undisputed No. 1 quarterback. The rising senior completed 12 of 18 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception. Meanwhile, the other three quarterbacks behind him — Faton Bauta, Brice Ramsey and Jacob Park — combined to complete only 5 of 29 passes for 72 yards and an interception.

“I will reiterate, there were multiple dropped balls,” Richt said. “There were some pretty good throws that should have been caught. And I would say by every guy, not just receivers, but tight ends and backs, too.”

It appeared that the offense again struggled to run effectively. Brendan Douglas was the day’s leading rusher, with 36 yards on eight carries, and Todd Gurley gained 14 yards on three carries. But the rest of the backs struggled to find room to run. Third-string tailback A.J. Turman had 20 yards on 10 carries.

“A.J. ran the ball hard. He just didn’t have as much space,” Richt said.

Once again, J.J. Green remains a big story for the defense. Since switching from running back, which he played last season, Green has worked his way into the No. 1 spot at nickel back, also called the Star position. The 5-foot-8, 183-pound rising sophomore led the Bulldogs with seven tackles and also had a sack. But it was his hit on the 220-pound Douglas that still had everybody buzzing afterward.

“I like hitting people,” Green said. “I hit Douglas today. He can tell you about it. It felt pretty good. … It wasn’t one of them hits where he sees me, just tell you that right now.”

Said Richt: “I’ll say this about J.J., he’s very tough and very physical for a guy who hasn’t played defense long.”

Linebacker Reggie Carter also had seven tackles, along with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Cornerback Brendan Langley added five tackles, and Shaq Wiggins returned an interception 19 yards. James DeLoach had the most productive day of the defensive linemen, with four tackles, two tackles for loss, a pass batted down and two sacks.

Ray Drew also had a sack and three tackles, two for a loss, but he spent the day playing with the second- and third-string defenses.

“It’s about like making Kool-Aid growing up,” said Drew, who is playing more of at tackle than end this spring. “You know, you’ve got to figure out which one tastes better, the one with four scoops of sugar or the one with five scoops. You’ve got to see what mixes best with what and who plays best with who.”

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