Richt not impressed with turnover-riddled scrimmage

Freshmen tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall combined for 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just 12 carries.

Georgia’s starting offense scored on its first three possessions.

Yet when Georgia football coach Mark Richt was done reading out the statistics from Wednesday’s second preseason scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, he offered a warning of sorts.

“OK, I want to guard my words a little bit,” a less-than-pleased Richt said.

The scrimmage was closed, but this much is clear: Georgia had fumble issues.

Four in all for the quarterbacks.

Richt said that Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason each had a fumble. Tailback Brandon Harton also fumbled.

“I might feel better watching film,” Richt said.

Or maybe not.

Perhaps an hour after Richt’s post-scrimmage news conference, as coaches began to look at film, it was relayed to the media that quarterbacks Christian LeMay and Parker Welch also fumbled. So that’s five fumbles in all.

“Every time the quarterback got touched, they fumbled the ball,” Richt said. “They’re not supposed to get tackled, but sometimes they’ll get touched. … We better get better at that.”

On top of that Murray, Mason and LeMay each threw an interception, making a total of eight turnovers.

“Just bad interceptions, bad throws,” Richt said. “Well, one Corey (Moore) made a great play. I’ll give him that.”

Not the stuff that makes up an SEC contender.

The No. 1 units went up against the No. 2 units.

Gurley had 87 yards rushing with two touchdowns, one that went for 66 yards.

Receiver Chris Conley had four catches for 114 yards and a touchdown catch of about 70 yards.

The No. 2 offense drove the field against the No. 1 defense one time to score on a Mason strike to freshman Blake Tibbs. Richt wasn’t happy that Brandon Harton broke a tackle in the backfield to get a first down.

“Like I told the team, I thought we looked like a pretty good team, but pretty good’s about 8-4,” Richt said. “I don’t even know if that’s pretty good. Maybe 9-3 if you’re lucky. We’d like to do better than 8-4 and that’s about how we played today.”

The players seemed less fazed by the miscues.

The always-upbeat Murray, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 158 yards with a touchdown and interception, said he “thought it was a great scrimmage offensively,” citing the early drives.

Asked about turnovers, Murray said: “We’ve got to take care of the ball. We can’t be careless with the ball. I think we’ve done a great job all camp of not having many tunovers — many interceptions or fumbles. You’ve got to protect the ball.”

Said Conley: “I don’t know if it was sloppy. We started out hot and things started to lull a little bit.”

Defensive end Ray Drew said “there were a few turnovers here and there, but that’s what practice is for, to try and get that corrected. We have a good defense, we have a good offense, but everyone’s prone to make mistakes. Just get them out of our system by Sept. 1.”

That’s when Georgia opens against Buffalo.

“I don’t know,” Richt said. “I didn’t see a team that was ready to be great. I saw a team that was still pretty good. So I wasn’t that thrilled about it.”

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