After all the suspensions, dismissals and transferring that has plagued Georgia's football program recently, the Bulldogs managed to work in their first spring scrimmage Saturday morning at Sanford Stadium.
Not that there wasn't more off-the-field news to report.
Coach Mark Richt announced after the scrimmage that redshirt sophomore safety Marc Deas is transferring because of a desire to get more playing time. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder from Kissimmee, Fla., played mostly on special teams last season and recorded three tackles, and his departure came one day after Richt announced that redshirt junior defensive lineman Derrick Lott was transferring for the same reason.
"They had a choice to make, and they decided to move on," Richt said. "They're great kids, and we wish them well. Their teammates understand they've got decisions to make and lives to live, but no one likes losing a teammate."
Since the Outback Bowl, the Bulldogs have had four players transfer -- cornerback Jordan Love and tailback Carlton Thomas left before Lott and Deas -- and three dismissed from the program: cornerbacks Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders and receiver Sanford Seay. Cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Branden Smith have been suspended for early-season games, while safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree reportedly have been suspended, though the school has yet to confirm penalties for those two.
Smith was arrested for marijuana possession, while Rambo and Ogletree reportedly failed drug tests that were administered immediately following spring break.
"At Georgia, we've got rules and policies that we feel are in the best interest of the players -- things like going to class, going to tutors and study hall, and how to behave," Richt said. "Everything we do and every rule we have is to benefit these guys and the team. A lot of our discipline does involve playing time. That's the one thing guys covet the most.
"When you discipline guys and take away playing time, you're hoping that sticks enough where it will change that individual's behavior so it's better in the future. We're willing to carry it out, even if it hurts."
Though Thomas did make one start at tailback each of the past two seasons, none of the transfers or dismissals have been first-team players. Richt is hoping those losses will not be felt on special teams, where he said, "You need as full of a boat as you can have."
As for the scrimmage, redshirt freshman tight end Jay Rome was a rare bright spot offensively, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass from Hutson Mason during the regular portion and adding another score from Parker Welch during the closing goal-line drills. Another redshirt freshman, receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, had three catches for 51 yards.
Starting quarterback Aaron Murray was 9-of-18 for 74 yards, while Mason was 5-of-12 for 59 yards and Christian LeMay 2-of-7 for 44 yards. Tailbacks Isaiah Crowell and Keith Marshall were nearly identical, with Crowell rushing four times for 19 yards and Marshall five for 18.
"We looked all right offensively," senior receiver Tavarres King said. "We got some good things to look at on film, and we got some bad things, too. The defense looked great. Those guys were flying around, and they were disguising their coverages tremendously."
Nose tackle Mike Thornton and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones combined on five of the defense's 12 sacks. Safety Shawn Williams and inside linebacker Mike Gilliard each had an interception.
"I just see guys making plays all around," Richt said of his defense. "On every snap, it seems like someone does something well."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...