ATHENS -- The Georgia football team practiced for an hour and 20 minutes at Sanford Stadium under ideal weather conditions on Saturday morning.
In addition to being the fourth practice of the spring, this was also Georgia's Junior Day, which is when the program welcomes in high school junior prospects. This practice also marked the first for the Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium this spring.
The Bulldogs wrapped up their practice with an
11-on-11 scrimmage. This was the first time that the defense had gone full-speed in pads.
That is, the first time since new defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Todd Grantham has begun to install a 3-4 defense.
"We had a lot of energy out there during the first portion of practice, which was the different tackling drills," said head coach Mark Richt, whose team practiced under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. "But as the day went on, I thought we lost a little steam. I think this was mostly about not being sure of what we were doing defensively, which is natural at this point. The more understanding we get, the faster our guys on defense are going to play."
Grantham, linebackers coach Warren Belin and secondary coach Scott Lakatos all experienced their first action at Sanford Stadium on Saturday. The new Bulldog defensive trio was hired following Georgia's Independence Bowl win after the 2009 season.
"It's been hard to figure out the defense so far," said redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, adding that "there aren't many receivers, but the quality of them is unbelievable. (The defensive) guys are moving and shifting and it's hard to know where they're going right now. But the more we practice, I think we'll get a little better handle on it."
The Bulldogs resume spring practice on Tuesday before having three more practices next week.
Georgia wraps up its spring practices with the annual G-Day game on Saturday, April 10. The game will be televised live on CSS.
AUBURN BEATS UGA AGAIN:
ATHENS -- For the second day in a row, Auburn defeated Georgia, this time, 4-3, on Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 3,917 at Foley Field.
The Tigers (13-5, 2-0 SEC) went on top, 1-0, in the first courtesy of a couple Bulldog miscues. An error by shortstop Levi Hyams allowed Creede Simpson to reach and the Auburn centerfielder would eventually score on a wild pitch by sophomore Justin Grimm. The Georgia right-hander avoided a big inning with a pair of strikeouts of designated hitter Brian Fletcher and shortstop Casey McElroy.
Grimm did a stellar job of pitching out of a bases-loaded, nobody out jam against the heart of the Tiger order in the second. After the first three Tigers reached, Grimm came back to register strikeouts of Hunter Morris, Fletcher and then got McElroy to bounce out to keep it 1-0. Grimm tied his career-high with nine strikeouts over six innings and did not walk a batter. However, he allowed four runs on seven hits and got the loss to fall to 1-2. The Bulldogs dropped to 8-11 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.
In the fourth, catcher Ryan Jenkins (2-for-4, 2 RBI) connected for a two-out, two-run home run for a 3-0 lead. In the sixth, Auburn added a run as Tony Caldwell reached on a base hit, stole second and eventually scored on a successful squeeze bunt by Justin Bryant for a 4-0 edge.
Georgia cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth against Auburn starter Cole Nelson with freshman Robert Shipman and sophomore Colby May driving in runs. Nelson pitched into the sixth before giving way to Zach Blatt and Austin Hubbard. Nelson allowed just two runs on four hits with five strikeouts to improve to 4-0.
The series concludes today with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.