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Georgia Bulldogs 17, Georgia Bulldogs 7: Notes from the 2010 G-Day Game

One of the drawbacks to co-authoring a weblog devoted to providing broad coverage of University of Georgia athletics is that it is difficult to give immediate attention to the G-Day game, which annually occurs on the day of a baseball game and overlaps with postseason gymnastics. Accordingly, I have little to add that has not been covered already by Senator Blutarsky or David Hale, or that I did not touch on during this evening’s ESPN Radio appearance. My limited, and largely random, observations are these:

The game was well attended. The lower deck of the south stands was packed and there was plenty of overflow into both end zones, with a fair amount of folks in the upper deck. There were enough people there to show passion and commitment, but not enough people there to cause northerners to think we’re crazy.

This year’s G-Day game was unrepresentative even by G-Day standards, which is saying something. Everything was played close to the vest. The defense was far from unleashed, and, because the Bulldog running backs are known quantities (and Caleb King was sidelined), the ground game was curtailed significantly, which probably had approximately as much of a distorting effect on the play on both sides of the ball as insurance has on health care costs.

Nowhere was this more true than with respect to the quarterbacks. Execution against the first-team defense and execution against the second-team defense are only vaguely comparable. The rules regarding sacks significantly limited the utility of Logan Gray’s mobility (which at least deterred him from making contact in a non-contact jersey). As everyone has noted, Aaron Murray was trying too hard to live up to the hype. If the G-Day game caused you to think anything significantly different from what you thought before the G-Day game, you’re overemphasizing the importance of the G-Day game.

With the foregoing caveat, Zach Mettenberger’s obvious improvement virtually ensures a three-horse race that will not be settled until after the season is underway. MaconDawg is right; the quarterback derby will not be resolved before Pentecost, nor will it be resolved by Labor Day. Mettenberger’s steady improvement, coupled with his one-game suspension, means that, while he is out of the running to start the season opener, he is not out of the running to start the SEC opener one week later.

Either Murray or Gray will start the Louisiana-Lafayette game, but, because it’s the Louisiana-Lafayette game, whichever one of them does not start the game will finish it. Each will receive his fair share of snaps in a glorified scrimmage only marginally more meaningful than the one we witnessed last weekend, and that will do nothing to end the competition, as Mark Richt may throw a freshman quarterback into the deep end on the road in Columbia. The jockeying for position could well continue for the first few outings of the fall---remember when Joe Cox saved the day?---so don’t think Saturday settled anything; it didn’t. Be prepared for our next Saturday spent in Sanford Stadium to leave everything equally up in the air.

A good time was had by all. The weather was nice. The four of us made a family outing of it, making Saturday my two-year-old daughter’s first trip to Sanford Stadium. My seven-year-old son wore a reversible pair of shorts that is black on one side and red on the other; he wore the black side out and rooted for the Black team in the first half, I took him to the bathroom so he could turn his shorts inside out at halftime, and he rooted for the Red team in the second half. The frozen strawberry lemonade was a hit with the whole family. Other than the fact that my inability to reply to a text message without the assistance of another adult prevented me from crossing paths with Doug Gillett---sorry, Doug---it was a great afternoon.

Give it up for the band. There’s something sublimely surreal about the Redcoats striking up "Krypton Fanfare" at the start of the fourth quarter of the G-Day game . . . and 40,000 or so people holding up four fingers to indicate "our" ownership of an intra-squad scrimmage. Actually, though, when you think about it, the G-Day game is the one game in which you know Georgia will dominate the fourth quarter. It’s also the one game in which you know Georgia will be dominated in the fourth quarter, though. Dang, this is confusing. . . .

U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi. I don’t know which was the ugliest moment of the spring scrimmage, the interception right in Marcus Dowtin’s breadbasket or Blair Walsh’s field goal miss.

I don’t have either a pithy witticism or a short summation here, so I’m just going to make this paragraph about the receivers. There were some nice catches out there and some equally maddening drops, but we should not put too much stock in either. Even Orson Charles is going to drop one every now and again, while I’m not so sure the penalty-free first half wouldn’t have seen a flag for a push-off in the end zone under actual live-game conditions with Penn Wagers on the field. Kris Durham is now officially the player about whom at least 10,000 guys will say to the 10,000 guys next to them at least six times apiece next fall, "All he ever does it catch everything we throw near him." Finally, when did references to Arthur Lynch in print and on the internet switch from "Arthur Lynch" to "Artie Lynch"? Was there a press release, like when Hillary Clinton became "Hillary Rodham Clinton" or Prince became that weird squiggly symbol, or did it just become a commonly accepted social convention, like when Bobby Knight became "Bob Knight" or Michael Vick briefly became "Mike Vick"?

I’m just saying. . . . Brandon Boykin had a right to be ticked. It might not have been a sack in an actual game, but, under the G-Day rules, he had him in the backfield.

Go ‘Dawgs!