With just 12 seconds left to play in a tie game, quarterback Zach Mettenberger hit Lynch over the middle. The sophomore tight end then rumbled over safety Shawn Williams and into the end zone for the score on what proved to be one of the most impressive plays of the game.
“It was a good ball by Zach, it was a good call by Coach (Stacy) Searels, who was calling the plays for us,” Lynch said. “I was able to break the tackle and get my feet under me and then get to the end zone.”
The catch proved to be a rare glimpse of Lynch’s receiving skills after he spent much of his freshman campaign either blocking or watching from the sidelines.
With Bruce Figgins returning from a medical redshirt, Aron White established as a solid receiving target and Orson Charles developing into one of the SEC’s top tight ends in the passing game, Lynch said coaches told him he’d likely be a point man on blocks and work special teams, but Saturday’s effort gives him a chance to expand that role this fall.
“I wanted to get some film on me and make some plays out there, and this was a good way to do it,” Lynch said. “But this means something, but not everything. In reality, I have to go out there in camp and perform if I want to get out there on the field.”
It may not have quite the glamour of the quarterback competition, but the battle for the two vacant starting safety jobs proved to be every bit as intense.
Junior college transfer Jakar Hamilton, sophomore Bacarri Rambo and junior Nick Williams have rotated with the No. 1 unit defense, and Rambo said no favorite has risen to the top just yet.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, man, I’m just hoping I’ll be out there in the starting lineup,” Rambo said.
Williams was the game’s leading tackler with seven take-downs, while Rambo finished with two tackles and a pass break-up, and Hamilton made two tackles. Shawn Williams, who spent some time with the first-team defense earlier this spring, finished with four tackles while playing with the No. 2 unit Saturday.
A depth chart at the safety position is due next week, but Hamilton said he isn’t planning on any firm answers until the fall.
“I feel as if they’re still rotating right now,” he said. “Me and Rambo are rotating with Nick Williams with the 1s, and it’s a real good rotation. But we’re still working together, and we’re still working hard.”
From long range
G-Day provided few fireworks on the field, and the special teams was largely ignored in order to keep the pace of the game moving quickly. But it was kicker Blair Walsh who provided fans with a rare bit of suspense near the end of the first half.
After the offense for the red team sputtered at the white team’s 43, Walsh came on to attempt a 61-yard field goal, which would have unofficially been a new school record.
As it turned out, however, Walsh didn’t get much air under the kick, and it was doomed from the start.
“I didn’t hit it good,” Walsh said. “I knew it wasn’t going in. But it was nice to get it, to go out and try it.”
Tailback Caleb King sat out of Saturday’s G-Day game with a sore knee, but head coach Mark Richt said the injury wasn’t a long-term concern.
“We’re not concerned,” Richt said. “It was just irritated and got a little swollen. We’re not sitting here thinking, oh boy we’re in trouble. We’re not thinking that at all. We think he’ll be fine in a week or two, and he’ll be able to do everything all summer and prepare. We don’t see that as anything where he’d have to have a surgery that would set him back or anything like that.”
Receiver Israel Troupe and linebacker Richard Samuel also missed Saturday’s game after both suffered concussions during last week’s scrimmage.
Richt said he thought the team came out of Saturday’s game without any significant injuries, too. Receiver Kris Durham was slightly shaken up after one catch, but later returned to the game. Linebacker Cornelius Washington limped off the field in the second half, and Richt said the injury didn’t appear to be anything more serious than a sprain.
The lone problem may be with right tackle Josh Davis, who suffered shoulder injury Saturday. Davis missed the start of last season after two shoulder surgeries.
“I don’t know how serious that was,” Richt said of Davis’ shoulder injury Saturday. “We don’t think it’s anything big, but time will tell.”