Defense struggles with penalties on G-Day

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ATHENS, Ga. — G-Day was Flag Day when it came to the Georgia defense.

There were a total of 10 penalties for 71 yards on the Black team, which included the starting defense.

Nose guard Mike Thornton, on the Red team, was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing the ball in the air after a fumble recovery.

“I didn’t like that much, I thought it was stupid and I told him so,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

Defensive end Sterling Bailey also got an unsportsmanlike call after two consecutive pass interference penalties were called on Damian Swann.

“Bailey just took the blame,” outside linebacker Leonard Floyd said. “It was on another player, I think. Everybody was pretty mad about the pass interference.”

Shaq Wiggins was flagged three times for pass interferences and Sheldon Dawson one.

INJURY UPDATE: Two players listed as starters for the Black team defense were out with injuries.

Star/nickel back J.J. Green (ankle) and safety Tray Matthews (hamstring) were scratched before the game.

Matthews missed time as a freshman because of hamstring issues and Richt said he pulled a hamstring again.

“He’s had some chronic hamstring issues, which we probably need to reevaluate what we’re doing with him and how we train,” Richt said.”

Matthews indicated an injury wasn’t a big issue when asked why he didn’t play Saturday.

He was one of three defensive players who were arrested prior to spring practice on theft by deception charges for “double-dipping” university issued tuition checks.

Defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor (three tackles) and James DeLoach (one tackle) both started for the Black team.

The other player arrested, receiver Uriah LeMay, caught a 41-yard touchdown pass for the Black Team.

LINE SETTLES IN: The offensive line intrigue this spring had centered around the guard positions. The starting tackles seemed pretty set.

G-Day offered a surprise with left tackle John Theus playing plenty of right tackle and right tackle Kolton Houston seeing a lot of work at left guard.

The lineup that started and saw extensive action included Mark Beard at left tackle, Houston at left guard, David Andrews at center, Greg Pyke at right guard and Theus at right tackle.

When Theus lined up at left tackle and Houston at right tackle, Brandon Kublanow stepped in at left guard.

“Pyke’s been pretty solid at the right guard to this point,” Richt said. “Kolton looks to be in the top five, Theus is in the top five. The question is going to be is Kublanow going to be the left guard and Theus the left tackle or is Kolton going to go to left guard and Theus go to right (tackle), which puts Mark Beard at the left. We’re just going to have to wait and see.”

Theus said offensive line coach Will Friend has been “messing with” different combinations trying to find the best five together.

“He said I’m going to have to be ready to play right and left during the season,”

Theus said. “We’ve still got two more practices. I’m sure he’ll play with it more then and then in the fall when new guys are in.”

Richt said Georgia has six to nine offensive linemen who could play. Watts Dantzler, who missed time with a concussion this spring, is a top reserve.

QUICK HITS: Redshirt sophomore walk-on Clay Johnson had five catches for 75 yards to lead the Black Team. “I was just trying to play football,” he said. “I was just out there trying to get open and hoping the ball would come my way and knew I had to make the catch when it came.” … Tight end Jordan Davis, who has been sidelined with a sprained knee, didn’t play. … NFL cornerback Tim Jennings, of the Chicago Bears, was among former players back at their old stomping grounds for G-Day. Jennings and Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox were dressed in shorts on the sunny day. ... Former Georgia volleyball and basketball player Maria Taylor has reached a multi-year deal with the SEC Network to serve as a studio host, football sideline reporters and volleyball and women’s basketball analyst.


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