G-Day: Shockley set to take over

D.J. Shockley

ATHENS – Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley gives himself a B for his spring practice performance. Coach Mark Richt says that's about right but cautions no final grades can be handed out until Sept. 3, when the Bulldogs open the season.

"It's hard to judge a guy who has mobility … when you don't let him cross the line of scrimmage," Richt said. "Some of the things that make him special, you can't judge in the spring."

Instead of taking advantage of his athleticism, Shockley has worked this spring on adjusting to being the starter, rather than just a fill-in for David Greene.

"He's got a little more enthusiasm in practice, but he's always been good," quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said. "There's a little different air about him because he knows it's his show."

Bulldog fans can see Shockley run that show today at Sanford Stadium during the team's annual G-Day spring game. Admission is $5 for adults and proceeds from the game go to the Athens YMCA.

Georgia's coaching staff asked Shockley to work specifically on three things this spring -- passing accuracy, ball security while scrambling and pocket movement. His accuracy, the most important of the three areas, is also the area where he still needs the most improvement.

"We have to be more consistent throwing the football," Bobo said. "(Shockley's) accuracy has got to improve."

His ball security and pocket movement both have gotten better, Bobo said. Ball security was an issue because Shockley tends to carry the ball too carelessly when he begins to scramble.

"Usually when I get out of the pocket, I hold the ball everywhere," he acknowledged.

His ball security has improved, and he has done a good job overall of not turning the ball over, Bobo said.

"We haven't had a lot of interceptions, we just haven't had a lot of completions, either," Bobo said.

D.J. Shockley, a former PARADE All-American who hasn't started a football game since 2000, said he's focusing on making sure he knows Georgia's offense and makes the right decisions, adding he isn't worried about the physical aspects of the game.

"I feel like I'm getting more mentally prepared than anything," he said. "The physical side is going to come. Once you go out there, it's like riding a bike again."

He wants to put on a good show for the fans today, he said, but he also has a bigger audience. Georgia has been picked to finish as low as No. 4 in the SEC East by one early poll, and Shockley thinks he knows a big reason why.

"I do take it personally," he said. "I think people look at what we have coming back and look at our talent and the people who are going to play next year and that's what they base it on. I think they're looking at key positions and saying, ‘Hey, they might be weak here.' I take that personally because the last three or four years we've had an outstanding quarterback and people are looking at that now as, ‘Hey, they've lost a key part of the team and that's really going to hurt them.'

"So I think I'm out to prove a lot of people wrong and that, even though we lost a great quarterback, I can get the job done as well."

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