Aaron Murray won't lie.
As a redshirt freshman quarterback, he knows he's not going to be perfect every time he steps on the field but it's not that he won't try.
But as the Bulldogs held their final scrimmage of the preseason, Murray left Sanford Stadium feeling he took a positive stride heading into next weekend's season-opener against Louisiana Lafayette.
"There's still some things, some rookie mistakes that I did. There was a screen where I should have just thrown it out of bounds instead of scramble and got sacked," Murray said. "There were a couple of things here and there but the main thing is I'm feeling better, I'm more comfortable. I feel I made a step forward today."
Head coach Mark Richt had little to complain about.
In a simulated game scrimmage, that from a time standpoint equaled a full half of football, Murray completed 9-of-17 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, that going to wide receiver A.J. Green.
"We tried to simulate it the best we could and because of that I think he felt it pretty good. It's nothing like it will be when we get 95,000, but he's still learning; he's still a freshman," Richt said. "There were a couple of times he could have made a better decision. But I'm thankful that we got into these situations and it happened today. Hopefully, the point will be driven home a little bit better because it was more of a real situation. Hopefully, he'll learn from it."
Senior receiver Kris Durham said he has no concerns about the young quarterback.
"Mistakes are going to happen whether we've got Joe Montana or whoever," Durham said. "Sometimes you make a bad read; he's human. He made a lot of great throws. The passes to me were all on the money and the touchdown pass he threw to A.J. was on the money. I've got nothing but praises for him."
The defense deserves its share of kudos as well.
With the Bulldogs broken into two units - the first team offense and defense versus Louisiana Lafayette (the scout team) - Georgia "won" the game 38-24, with Richt spotting the scout team 21 points and later giving credit for a missed field goal.
In other words, the first-team defense did not allow a single point.
Senior linebacker Darryl Gamble continued his solid preseason with eight tackles and two sacks, giving him eight in Georgia's three scrimmages.
Kiante Tripp and Chase Vasser added two sacks apiece, while Jakar Hamilton and Bacarri Rambo each had interceptions. Rambo returned his pick 66 yards for a touchdown while sophomore split end Marlon Brown picked up a blocked punt and scored a touchdown.
Safety Shawn Williams led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles while playing for the scout team.
Offensively, Caleb King rushed five times for 36 yards and a touchdown while Washaun Ealey had four carries for 31 yards.
Branden Smith returned a punt 63 yards while backup quarterback Hutson Mason completed 5-of-10 passes for 69 yards.
Durham led all receivers with three catches for 78 yards.
"There was nothing earth-shattering on the depth chart, but it did have a game day feel for everyone, and everybody got a good taste for it," said Richt as the Bulldogs played for approximately 60 minutes. "It felt like a game, I know I felt it in the locker room, during our pre-game routine and during the scrimmage."
Jonathan Owens' career comes to an end
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Jonathan Owens was granted a medical disqualification and will no longer be able to play football, Richt said.
A graduate of Susan Moore High School in Blountsville, Ala., Owens suffers from chronic patella instability in his right knee, according to UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson. After consulting with physicians, it was determined he would no longer be able to continue his playing career. He will undergo surgery on Aug. 31 for patella re-alignment.
"It's always difficult when a player must give up the game," said Richt. "Jonathan is an outstanding young man and we look forward to him still being involved in our program."
Owens was redshirted in 2008 and played in one game in 2009.
Although Owens will remain on scholarship, it will not count toward the 85 allowed by the NCAA.
Text-help systems implemented at Sanford
The UGA Athletic Association has installed a text message-based communication system at Sanford Stadium for 2010 football games, beginning with the Louisiana-Lafayette game.
The text messaging system allows fans to communicate directly with the stadium's command post if assistance is needed in dealing with any special needs inside the stadium. Should fans need assistance while inside the stadium, they can simply text "DAWGS the issue and location" to 69050. Standard data and SMS rates apply.
This and that
Richt announced that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, offensive line coach Stacy Searels, running backs coach Bryan McClendon will coach from the field. Inside linebacker coach Warren Belin, secondary coach Scott Lakatos, wide receivers coach Tony Ball and tight end coach John Lilly will coach from the press box.
Richt said walk-on freshman quarterback Greg Bingham was the only player to suffer a significant injury (concussion) during the scrimmage.
The Bulldogs played the scrimmage without offensive linemen Cordy Glenn (mono), Chris Burnette (concussion), Ben Jones (knee). Trinton Sturdivant (knee) and Tanner Strickland (shoulder) were able to participate. ... Team captains for the opener include Shaun Chapas who will represent the offense while Vance Cuff and senior Demarcus Dobbs are the defensive captains and senior fullback Fred Munzenmaier is the special teams captain.
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