Originally created 04/08/06

Senior gets shot to prove himself

ATHENS, Ga. - The much-anticipated debut comes today for hotshot freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford at Georgia's G-Day game.

The noon intrasquad scrimmage also offers a peek at how senior Joe Tereshinski has developed this spring. Tereshinski began the spring as the No. 1 quarterback, based on seniority, but he has shown Mark Richt enough that the coach expects the fifth-year player will begin August practices in the same spot.

"I don't think there's much more that I could have done," said Tereshinski, who thinks he's shown he can make the plays expected of a starting quarterback. "I've come out and worked hard every day and given my all. It's the first time I have the chance really to be the No. 1 guy. It's an opportunity for me to take every single day in and just go out there and get better and enjoy every minute of it."

Tereshinski will work with the No. 1 offense today. Stafford and redshirt freshman Joe Cox will gets snaps with both the No. 1 and 2 offenses. The remaining candidate, sophomore Blake Barnes, won't play because of a broken thumb.

The G-Day game is bigger than a regular scrimmage because there are fans in attendance (if thunderstorms in the forecast don't keep them away) and players know the game is on TV, but chances are it won't be a make or break day for anybody.

"It wasn't for me in my career because I was a lot better than (Jim) Kelly," cracked Richt, who backed up the Hall of Famer at Miami.

The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Tereshinski has been a career backup except for the Florida game last year when he started in place of D.J. Shockley in a 14-10 Bulldogs loss. The Athens Academy product was 8 of 21 for 100 yards passing against the Gators with an interception, raising some doubts about whether he had the stuff to win the job in 2006.

"People had the same impression of me after the Georgia Tech game," Shockley said of his rocky showing in 2004. "They were kind of skeptical about what I could do. Under certain situations, things are different. He was coming in with all that pressure. He's got a lot of experience and knows the offense. If he can just go out and play, things will be easier for him."

Richt said two quarterbacks could play in the season-opener. If that's the case, it seems a good bet that Tereshinski, the Bulldogs' most experienced quarterback, would be one of them especially considering he has practiced as well this spring as he has at any time at Georgia.

"I thought he did a great job," Richt said. "He's been really the most accurate throughout camp. He's rarely missed sight adjustments, blitz pickups and things of that nature, and he's done a good job taking control of the team."

Which didn't surprise center Nick Jones, an offensive line starter when both David Greene and Shockley were Georgia's starting signal callers.

"He has more confidence in himself, more confidence in what he can do and just more confidence, period," Jones said.

Quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo agreed.

"Joe T is a competitor and expects himself to be perfect."

Spring games

Georgia: 2 p.m. today, Sanford Stadium

South Carolina: 2 p.m. today, Williams-Brice Stadium

Clemson: 1 p.m. today, Memorial Stadium

Source: georgiadogs.com, uscsports.com, clemsontigers.com


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