Georgia's spring game draws praise from Richt

ATHENS - Georgia football coach Mark Richt moved into the press box for Saturday's G-Day, getting a birds-eye view of the team that some are predicting will win the college football national championship in 2008.

'To be honest with you, I felt pretty blessed,' Richt said.

He was not talking about being sheltered from the light mist that did little to discourage the 19,874 fans who spread across the lower level of Sanford Stadium.

'I saw a well-conditioned team that has a bunch of good-looking athletes,' Richt said after the Red squad defeated the Black squad by a score of 17-3.

Playing eight-minute quarters, with a running clock at the end of the game, there was not much time to run up big stats, but it only took a few runs for redshirt freshman tailback Caleb King to impress.

'I missed most of his runs getting up into the press box,' Richt said. 'I have seen him all spring. I thought he looked pretty darn good. I also saw him picking up a couple of blitzes, and coaches always like that.'

King gained 31 yards in six carries, one yard more than backup quarterback Logan Gray gained. But Gray wore a green shirt, which meant he was untouchable while in the backfield.

Receiver Michael Moore caught a pair of touchdown passes, including a 30-yarder from Matthew Stafford on the game's opening drive, and a 12-yarder from Gray in the second quarter.

'That was a great throw and catch,' Richt said of the Stafford-to-Moore connection. 'It is tough to defend a ball thrown that well. The coverage was pretty good, but Matthew put the ball where it needed to be.'

Moore benefitted from the fact that other receivers sat out the game, including Mohamed Massaquoi, Demiko Goodman, Tony Wilson and freshman Tavarres King. 'A couple of times during camp,' said Moore, 'Stafford has thrown the deep ball to me and I made the play. He was confident in throwing to me.'

Stafford completed 6 of 10 throws for 78 yards. Backup Joe Cox completed 7 of 11 for 69 yards.

Sophomore tailback Knowshon Moreno made a token appearance in the first quarter. His 10-yard carry set up Moore's first touchdown catch.

Cornerback Asher Allen felt the secondary played 'horribly.'

'I dropped a pick, which is unacceptable, and a couple of people had passes caught on them,' he said. 'But that means we have something to look forward to work on. This game will be playing in our head in the offseason.'

One defensive back who did impress was safety John Knox, a redshirt freshman. He had four tackles, including the hit of the day and one interception late in the game.

The offensive line was one area that Richt paid some attention too. Left guard Vince Vance was injured in the fourth quarter and hobbled off on crutches. Richt said it was an ankle sprain and should not be serious.

Richt said that freshman Ben Jones played well enough this spring to almost guarantee that he will play next year. 'He is a guy I have kept a special eye on,' Richt said. 'He is progressing very well. He is strong and smart and tough and hungry, and he has a mean streak. His chances of redshirting are not very good.'

There were two long field goals by walk-ons - a 47-yarder by Andrew Jensen and a 52-yarder by Brian Behr.