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April 7, 2007If Saturday's G-Day is any indication, Georgia may have an offense its defense can be proud of in 2007.
Sophomore split end Kris Durham led the Black squad, catching six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
``I thought our offense had a really good day,'' said tight end Tripp Chandler, who himself caught three passes for 74 yards, including a touchdown with less than 30 seconds to play. ``With Durham catching the way he did, and Matt throwing and Knowshown and Lump running and our offensive line looking real good too, I just hope that carries over. Our defense has been known as a real powerhouse. Now the offense is catching up and pulling its weight. That is something Georgia fans have to look forward to.''
Head coach Mark Richt was not too concerned about the defense that surrendered 55 points. Georgia played four 10-minute quarters Saturday, compared with eight-minute quarters in previous years.
``We had some good execution,'' Richt said. ``Our quarterbacks had time to throw the ball. The Red team ran the ball well.''
The Bulldogs gobbled up yards in big chunks, displaying a big-play capacity absent last year.
One key ingredient of the offensive improvement this spring has been the rapid improvement of the offensive line, boosted by transfers and freshmen enrollees, Richt said.
The starting five for the Red offensive line featured freshman left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, red-shirt freshman left guard Chris Davis, senior center Fernando Velasco, junior transfer right guard Scott Haverkamp and senior right tackle Chester Adams.
Richt said that the play of the offensive line has been one of the most pleasant developments of the spring.
``That first group has pretty much played together the whole spring,'' he said. ``That does not mean that lineup is set in stone. They are a very athletic group. I think they can be dominating.''
``They did a great job today and for most of the spring,'' agreed Stafford, firmly entrenched as Georgia's starting quarterback. ``It makes it easy to sit back and throw it.''
Stafford completed six of 12 passes for 155 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Mikey Henderson and a 6-yarder to Chandler.
``A year ago, he was just trying to fit in with the team,'' Richt said of Stafford. ``He got so much attention that he didn't want. He didn't want the team to think he was a star. But now he is expected to be the leader, and he is expected to step up and make plays.''
Red-shirt freshman Moreno was the leading ground gainer, picking up 68 yards on 11 carries, including a 20-yard run. He scored twice. Senior Lumpkin carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards and one score.
``That was the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of,'' said Moreno of the 21,407 spectators who braved 43-degree, 16-mph winds to watch. ``This was a big day. I wanted to see what I could do against the first defense. I caught some breaks out there, and the line did a great job blocking for me.''
``He has the ability get skinny,'' said Richt. ``He can see the crease and hit it and get through it. It is going to be tough to keep him from getting a lot of carries next fall.''
Teammate Mikey Henderson said Moreno has made a huge impression on his teammates.
``When he touches the ball we hold our breaths,'' Henderson said. ``He is a great running back. His quickness and speed out of the backfield are unbelievbable. It is good to watch him carrying the ball like that.''
Durham was an unexpected star. Richt said that Durham showed signs during spring drills that he had lost his confidence to compete at the college level.
``We had a little talk, and I told him that I didn't think he was playing at his full potential. I told him not to worry about the results, but to embrace the process. A game like this has got to help his confidence.''
The game featured many big plays. Fullback Brannan Southerland turned a flare pass into a 43-yard gain. Split end Mohamed Massaquoi followed that with a 20-yard gain, setting up Lumpkin's 1-yard scoring run.
Chandler caught a 52-yard pass play from Stafford, setting up a short Moreno TD run.
Both of Durham's scores came on a pass route labled ``broken arrow.'' On the first he made a diving catch in the end zone of a 22-yard Blake Barnes throw. On the second, he pulled out of two shoestring tackles to finish a 60-yard pass from Joe Cox.
``The sky is the limit for this offense,'' said center Velasco. ``There is a lot of positive to take out of this spring.''
Richt basically echoed thos thoughts.
``I don't have anything to complain about,'' he said. ``I saw a lot of leadership on both sides of the ball.''
The only injury of the game was a wrist injury by cornerback Bryan Evans, which did not appear to be serious, said Richt.
Georgia opens the 2007 season Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State.