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Murray so-so in final scrimmage; ex-SW. Georgia stars shine

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATHENS -- Georgia coach Mark Richt did his best to make his team's last scrimmage of the preseason feel like a real game.

There were Southeastern Conference officials on the Sanford Stadium field. There were game captains, pregame warmups and even a coin toss.

Richt wanted to see how his players handled the added rush that came with the simulated game.

Perhaps the most important test was for freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, who is preparing for his first start in No. 23 Georgia's opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4.

Murray said it felt like more than just another practice.

"Definitely, I got a little jitters," Murray said. "There were a couple of overthrows where I was a little pumped up. ... I think after the first play the jitters calmed down a little and I was good to go."

Murray prepared for his first start by completing 9 of 17 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

"We try to simulate the best we could," Richt said. "For that reason I thought he felt it a little bit. It will be nothing like when we have 95,000 fans. He's still learning. He's still a freshman."

Richt said Murray's performance "wasn't real bad but there were a couple times he could have made a better decision.

"Hopefully the point will be driven home a little better."

On defense, two former Southwest Georgia stars shined: Safety Bacarri Rambo of Seminole County returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown and linebacker Darryl Gamble of Bainbridge had two sacks.

Freshman Hutson Mason, who likely will open the season as Murray's backup, was 5 of 10 for 69 yards.

Murray threw his touchdown pass to star receiver A.J. Green, who had four catches for 40 yards.

Georgia is expected to lean on its running game, especially early in the season. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King return at tailback after combining for more than 1,300 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in 2009.

King had five carries for 36 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage. Ealey had four carries for 31 yards.

Richt had his assistants in the positions they will take during games on the field and in the press box.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who moved from the press box to the field for games last season, was on the field. New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham also was on the field.

Richt plans to have a special teams scrimmage on Thursday and another practice at Sanford Stadium without full tackling on Friday.

NOTES: Sophomore offensive lineman Jonathan Owens is giving up football due to a chronic knee condition. Owens, from Susan Moore High School in Blountsville, Ala., has been diagnosed with chronic patella instability in his right knee and will have surgery on Tuesday to realign the patella. He played in one game in 2009. Owens has been granted a medical disqualification. ... Richt said freshman walk-on quarterback Greg Bingham suffered a concussion during the scrimmage while running the scout team Louisiana-Lafayette offense. "We think he'll be fine," Richt said.