And on the seventh day, they scrimmaged.
The seventh day of Georgia’s preseason, that is, brought the Bulldogs to Sanford Stadium on Wednesday morning and brought coach Mark Richt to spit a little fire directed at the offense afterwards.
“Nobody was pleased,” said receiver Justin Scott-Wesley said. “None of the coaches. Nobody was pleased. Even Coach Richt, he got fired up by the lack of passion that the offense had. … He had some words.”
Maybe not exactly the same words he shared with the media afterwards.
“I thought the guys look kind of tired,” Richt said. “I think they were trying to fight. For the first time, [I] didn’t see as much juice. It was a little disappointing to me, quite frankly, being that it was a scrimmage. It was practice No. 8, the first day after the first two-a-day. I’m sure they are a little worn out, I’m sure they are tired.”
Aaron Murray completed 13 of 18 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown, but also had three interceptions. Freshman Brice Ramsey threw two interceptions and sophomore Christian LeMay had another.
“The interceptions weren’t good, obviously,” Richt said. “That can ruin your day. …You throw three picks, you might lose on a day like that.”
The scrimmage, which was closed to the media and spectators, probably can’t be viewed as a true barometer of where things stand for the Bulldogs three and a half weeks before the season opener against Clemson because so many players were out with minor injuries.
Georgia’s official injury list released Wednesday included 19 players, including 18 on scholarship.
Missing from the defense were starting safety Tray Matthews (shoulder) and linebacker James DeLoach (thumb) and up-and-comers in linebacker Leonard Floyd (hand), nose guard Chris Mayes (concussion) and cornerback Shaq Wiggins (groin).
“No excuse for not really dominating,” said quarterback Hutson Mason, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. “That’s more of a reason why we should be putting up big numbers and dominating. … We kind of lacked the passion and enthusiasm. I’m tired. Everybody’s tired. Everyone’s mentally and physically exhausted, but that’s no excuse.”
Mason said players should be “geeked” and have “some swagger to them” when playing at Sanford Stadium,
“We weren’t really affected that a lot of people were out,” said cornerback Sheldon Dawson, who had two interceptions, including one for a touchdown. “We took great opportunities and just ran with it.”
Richt acknowledged that the defense won the day but said “there was still an awful lot of yardage.”
It was the No. 1 offensive unit against the No. 2s and the No. 1 defense against the No. 2 offense.
“Both sides still could have got a lot better,” Dawson said.
The top units, as they should, had pretty good days, Richt said.
The offense returns 10 starters from a unit that set program scoring records last year, but was missing receivers Michael Bennett and Rantavious Wooten (hamstrings), guard Chris Burnette (shoulder) and tight end Jay Rome (ankle) on this day.
Tailbacks Keith Marshall (2 carries, 80 yards) and Todd Gurley (12-59) combined for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, with Marshall scoring on a 75-yard run.
Tight end Arthur Lynch (4 catches, 91 yards, TD) said the running backs and offensive line performed well.
“Right now we’re a good offense, but it’s do we want to be a great offense,” said Lynch, who said of the offense finished strong after a “sluggish” start.
Also making interceptions were junior college transfer safety Shaquille Fluker, freshman cornerback Brendan Langley, starting cornerback Damian Swann and walk-on safety Austin Herod.
It was the first of three preseason scrimmages for Georgia, coming off a 12-2 season and picked to win the SEC East for the third straight year by the league’s media.
“When you scrimmage and you only have three of them, you’re thinking it’s a special day, you’re thinking it’s a special day to get in between the hedges and compete,” Richt said.
Richt said the Bulldogs weren’t dogging it but he saw a lack of energy and enthusiasm.
“I think we’ve got a ways to go,” Richt said. “We’ve got a ways to go and a short time to get there.”
Said Mason: “We’ll fix it and be ready for the next scrimmage.”