Today’s 12 p.m. game is the last of three spring scrimmages for the Bulldogs, and, while most agree it’s the most important practice of the spring, it’s not the end-all, be-all.
“It wasn’t for me in my career,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “because I was a lot better than (Jim) Kelly.”
When Richt signed with the University of Miami, he expected a high-profile collegiate career. Instead, he spent most of his time backing up Kelly, who went on to quarterback the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls and earn a place in the NFL Hall of Fame.
But on a couple spring days in Southern Florida, Kelly couldn’t carry Richt’s clipboard.
“I guarantee you,” Richt said. “On U of M Day, I used to kick his butt, and I used to expect to be the starter, and they never moved me. It got my mom really hot. I was probably 10-for-10 with three touchdowns, and Kelly stunk.”
So, it’s unlikely the Bulldogs will find a starting quarterback today no matter how well or poorly senior Joe Tereshinski, redshirt freshman Joe Cox and true freshman Matthew Stafford play. (Sophomore Blake Barnes won’t participate after breaking his right thumb Monday.)
Tereshinski will quarterback the red team, which will consistent of the first-team offense and second-team defense. Cox and Stafford will quarterback the black team, which has the second-team offense and first-team defense, but both will get one quarter with the first-team offense, Richt said.
Stafford is eager to get another shot after performing poorly in his estimation during Monday’s scrimmage.
“As far as knowing what to do on every play, I feel good breaking the huddle,” he said. “I just want to get back out there. It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth (Monday).”
Tereshinski thinks all three spring scrimmages carry equal value, he said, but he also acknowledged that today “is the last impression leaving spring and putting in the minds of the coaches to say, ‘Hey, I can lead this team and control this offense.’”
Having thousands of people attend the game will help coaches get a better idea of how each quarterback handles pressure, Richt said.
“When there are people in the stands, and they know it’s on TV and they’re in their game jerseys, it just feels like more of a game,” he said.
Along with the quarterbacks, several defensive backs will be battling for playing time. The starting cornerback job opposite Paul Oliver still is being contested, Richt said. Thomas Flowers, Asher Allen and Bryan Evans (who will not play today due to injury) are competing for that spot and also the nickel back position. Reserve safeties C.J. Byrd and Donavon Baldwin also could make a big impression today, Richt said.
Offensive tackles Daniel Inman, Ken Shackleford and Michael Turner will have the longest days. They will have to play for both teams since Georgia has only three scholarship tackles.
Instead of the traditional eight-minute quarters, Georgia will play 10-minute quarters today in a controlled environment. The extra time is partially to give the coaches more chances to see the quarterbacks in action.
“I just thought we needed a little more work as a unit” too, Richt said.
The game will be televised by CSS. Tickets, which will be available at the gate, are $5, and proceeds from this year’s game will go to the Georgia Unit of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
The game will continue as scheduled even if the rain forecast for Athens arrives, Richt said.
NOTES: Georgia governor Sonny Perdue visited Athens on Friday for the dedication of the Paul Coverdell Building and stopped by the football offices for a game of racquetball with Richt. … Defensive tackle Ricardo Crawford, who suffered a minor neck injury Wednesday, was back at practice Friday. … Offensive lineman Zeb McKinzey dislocated a finger on his left hand during a goof-off drill Friday in which the offensive linemen were running receiving routes and throwing passes. “I won’t be playing anymore receiver this year so that’s disappointing,” said McKinzey, who won't miss any time due to the injury. … Former Bulldog Richard Seymour attended Friday’s practice. … Georgia’s players will receive their 2005 SEC Championship rings after today’s game.