The Red team, which included the first-team offense, ran four plays out of the wishbone formation on the way to gaining 269 yards overall in a 21-12 victory over the White team and the first-team defense.
With its victory, the Red team earned a steak and lobster dinner, while the losers will be served beans and franks.
The Bulldogs’ offense struggled all spring. In its previous two scrimmages, it hadn’t scored a single touchdown in live drive work. In front of a Sanford Stadium crowd of 24,117 on Saturday, starting quarterback D.J. Shockley threw three touchdown passes, all of 14 yards or longer. He was 11 of 19 for 193 yards with one interception.
“Today was good medicine for D.J. and the offense,” head coach Mark Richt said. “There were a lot of plays made offensively that had not been made at all this spring.”
The wishbone was one of them. Richt told Red team coach Mike Bobo on Friday afternoon to put it in just for fun, he said. Georgia ran it on four plays, including the first two of the game, and gained more than 40 yards combined.
“I did it as a spoof and then we gained a bunch of yards out of it, so I guess we’ll run the wishbone next season,” Richt joked. “I told Mike to only run it on the first play, but I guess he liked what happened so he ran it a few more times.”
Georgia’s running backs probably will spend the rest of the summer lobbying for more of the offense. The Bulldogs have been working on ways to take advantage of their impressive stable of backs. The Red team lined up Des Williams at fullback and Thomas Brown and Danny Ware split behind him.
“I’m not positive we’ll keep it in there, but I like it,” said Thomas Brown, who led all rushers with 67 yards on eight carries.
“I think (Richt) wanted to let Boise State see it a little bit,” said Danny Ware, who had 38 yards on nine carries.
Tyson Browning gained 52 yards on 10 carries to lead the White team.
Willie Martinez, the Bulldogs’ first-year defensive coordinator, was one person not too happy to see the offense finally hit its stride. The White team included the first-team defense and the second team offense.
“Any time you have big plays, it’s not good ,” said Martinez, who coached on the Red team. “Obviously, I wanted a game that was 0-0 or that we won 2-0.”
Tight end Leonard Pope caught touchdown passes to cap each of the Red team’s first two drives. His first catch came from 36 yards out on a faked end-around to Sean Bailey. On his second touchdown catch, Pope caught the ball at the 3-yard line and dragged linebacker Tony Taylor and safety Kelin Johnson into the end zone.
It was a perfect start for Shockley, who said after the game that he wanted to make the team’s fans forget his last performance on this field, a underwhelming effort against Georgia Tech.
“A lot of people remember the last game you play,” he said. “Just to reassure people, ‘Hey, he can play quarterback and move this team,’ is one of the things I wanted to do.”
There were low points for Shockley, most notably a terrible pass he threw in the second quarter that was intercepted by Tim Jennings. Shockley was rolling to his right on the play and tried the throw the ball more than 40 yards to the left side of the field off his back foot.
“We missed a couple plays, but that’s going to happen, but overall he had a good day,” said Bobo, who added it was Shockley’s best performance of the spring.
The Bulldogs’ maligned receiving corps helped Shockley on Saturday. Bryan McClendon led the way for the Red team with 70 yards on four catches, including a touchdown grab on a perfectly thrown pass by Shockley to finish the game’s scoring. Seven different wide receivers had at least one catch.
“We’ve been working hard all spring, and I guess the hard work came out today,” said Peach County graduate A.J. Bryant, who had two catches for 25 yards.
The White team’s points all came on drives led by backup quarterback Joe Tereshinski, who solidified his spot as the No. 2 quarterback.
Wide receiver Kenneth Harris was the bright spot for the White team. He caught four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Greg Blue led all players with seven tackles.
Richt said he was very pleased with the game because it showed players on both sides of the ball that they have work to do but the ability to do it.
“We’ve got a chance to compete again for the SEC East — and more — hopefully,” he said.