ATHENS — Coach Mark Richt said Georgia’s quarterback competition “is still a race” after watching Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta share time with the first-team offense in Georgia’s G-Day spring game Saturday.
Ramsey, who was the top backup to 2014 senior starter Hutson Mason, opened the scrimmage with the first-team offense for the Red team. That doesn’t mean he’s leading the race. Richt said it was Ramsey’s turn to open the day with the starters in the continuing spring rotation by the quarterbacks.
Bauta and Ramsey each threw touchdown passes, and A.J. Turman ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns to help the Black team, which had the first-team defense, win 24-17.
Former Calhoun High standout and current Bulldogs’ walk-on receiver Clay Johnson contributed to the Black team’s win on Saturday with four catches for 48 yards, including a long of 23. The upcoming redshirt-junior also earned some recognition on Friday as he was named the Outstanding Offensive Walk-On Award winner for the end of spring practice honors.
Another former Calhoun High standout Trent Frix, an upcoming junior, did not participate in the game as he continues to rehab a shoulder injury. Frix is a long snapper for the Bulldogs.
Starting tailback Nick Chubb, whose carries have been limited in scrimmages, had a 17-yard touchdown run. Chubb is expected to be the focus of the offense, no matter who wins the quarterback job.
“I can work with all of them; they all do a great job,” Chubb said.
The quarterbacks were not made available for interviews. Ramsey completed 5 of 9 passes for 174 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie.
Richt said Ramsey has been “really pretty accurate throughout spring” and “has done a very good job of studying what we do.”
Bauta completed 16 of 25 passes for 171 yards. He threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Jordan Davis.
Richt said Bauta “got better and better” through the spring.
Jacob Park, working with the second- and third-team offenses, completed his first five passes before throwing an interception. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 92 yards.
“You can see his arm talent, you can see his ability,” Richt said about Park. “I think the summer is going to be important for him.”
Georgia has two more practices planned for next week.
Here are a few observations from the game played before a Sanford Stadium crowd of 46,815:
BIG PLAY, BIG HURT
McKenzie showed his speed when he was open for the 72-yard touchdown catch from Ramsey in the first quarter. The big play triggered cheers which dimmed when McKenzie needed help leaving the field.
He did not return after suffering a right hamstring injury.
Richt said McKenzie is the third receiver to suffer a hamstring injury, leaving the position very thin.
BUSY DAY FOR THURMAN
Thurman had 26 carries, including touchdown runs of 1 and 52 yards. He said he was expecting a busy day as tailbacks Keith Marshall (hamstring) and Sony Michel (shoulder) were held out.
Marshall practiced last week.
“We didn’t think it was wise to go full speed in a live game,” Richt said about Marshall.
Among the former Georgia players who watched from the sideline were tailback Todd Gurley and receiver Chris Conley, who are preparing for the NFL draft. Former star cornerback Champ Bailey, who recently retired from the NFL, also was on the sideline.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
The quarterbacks are in the spotlight, but another key spring battle is the search to replace longtime starting center David Andrews. Isaiah Wynn, a sophomore, started with the first-team offense but had a shotgun snap sail over Ramsey’s head on the opening series. Richt said Wynn had similar problems early in the spring and said Brandon Kublanow and Hunter Long also are working at center.
Though quarterbacks could not be tackled to the ground, each team had four sacks. Outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Carter had sacks for the Black team, showing the pass-rush skills which should make the position strong, especially when Leonard Floyd returns from shoulder surgery.
“They’re really good at what they do in that regard,” Richt said, adding “the big thing” is showing improvement on first and second downs.
—Calhoun Times Sports Editor Alex Farrer contributed to this report.