Notebook: Williams leads paper-thin secondary in scrimmage

Shawn Williams didn’t have familiar company with him at safety during the Bulldogs’ second spring scrimmage Saturday.

Georgia secondary coach Scott Lakatos’ unit had to use a couple of walk-ons in Saturday’s scrimmage due to an excess of injuries.
Associated Press

With Sanders Commings joining Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton and Marc Deas on the injured safety list, a walk-on joined Williams on a banged-up No. 1 defense.

Just don’t ask Williams to name that player.

"I forgot his name," said Williams, who had seven tackles and an interception.

Receiver Tavarres King, who caught three passes including a 45-yard touchdown, identified the player as Connor Newman from Duluth and said he was joined by another walk-on, Lucas Redd from Jefferson.

"It was a challenge," Williams said. "I had to step up and be the leader in the secondary and make sure everybody was on the same page."

The offense took advantage, scoring all five of its touchdowns through the air in Sanford Stadium.

The scrimmage, closed to the media and public, was the last before spring practice wraps up with the G-Day game Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Michael Bennett had three catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Aaron Murray completed 11 of 16 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.

At least 18 of the 91 players on Georgia’s spring roster were out due to injury.

That’s 19.8 percent or nearly one of every five players.

Commings and cornerback Brandon Boykin became the third and fourth Georgia defensive players sidelined with a concussion, along with Hamilton and inside linebacker Christian Robinson.

The majority of the injured are on defense.

"That was, I’m sure, part of their struggles today, especially on the perimeter," coach Mark Richt said. "Those guys, we’ll get a bunch of them back next week, which will be good. I’m not exactly sure who, but a lot of them are slated to come back."

Richard Samuel and Brandon Burrows took advantage of their new first-team roles. Samuel had seven tackles and Burrows had six, with a pair of sacks.

"We’re out there busting," King said. "It’s been a pretty rough spring. We need it. We need it to get back to where we want to be."

Drills growing more and more competitive

The injuries could be a byproduct of an added emphasis in each practice on declaring winners and losers in drills.

"When you compete the way we’ve been competing and hit the way we’ve been hitting, there’s going to be some of that," Richt said. "My goal this spring was to make sure that we’re a physical football team and we’re a team that’s going to get after it every time we put the pads on and snap up our chin-strap. I’ve seen that."

Richt said there’s more competitive drills than in the past. He created a point system for every drill.

"The goal is to win the day," Richt said. "If you win the day, you have half the conditioning after practice."

No surprise that the change is well-received by players.

"Guys love that," King said. "We like competing and that’s what we’re here for."

Player draft for G-Day

Players will have a big say in how the teams shape up for G-Day.

Under a new format, captains for the red and black team will choose their teams on Monday night.

That means instead of the No. 1 offense going up against the No. 2 defense, the teams could be a mix of starters and backups.

"Shoot, I’ve wanted to do that for years, but I always let the assistant coaches talk me out of it, but this year I’m not going to let them," Richt said.

King said if he could choose three offensive players he would pick Murray, tailback Brandon Harton and tight end Orson Charles.

Horton is a 5-foot-6, 174-pound walk-on.

"I’ve got to go with the little man," King said.

Mason has hold on backup job

Hutson Mason remains ahead of freshman Christian LeMay for the backup quarterback job, Richt said.

Mason completed 12 of 19 passes for 192 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the scrimmage.

LeMay was 2 of 2 for 67 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass.

"You watch him and you know you recruited the right guy," Richt said. "You also know he’s just trying to figure it out."

This and that

Tailback Washaun Ealey (hamstring) missed his second straight scrimmage and hasn’t practiced the past two weeks. Richt is hopeful that Ealey will be able to be back for G-Day. Carlton Thomas led all rushers with 26 yards on eight carries. Caleb King rushed for 16 yards on seven carries. "Not much in the way of running the ball, but the guys protected pretty good, threw and caught the ball pretty good," Richt said. … Cordy Glenn lined up at left tackle and Trinton Sturdivant at right tackle during pre-scrimmage warm-ups. Justin Anderson was the first-team right guard. … Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham indicated in a radio interview Friday that inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (strained groin) will be limited for the rest of spring. … Redshirt freshman tailback Ken Malcome (groin) didn’t scrimmage after feeling pain during warm-ups. "He wasn’t feeling good enough to go," Richt said.

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