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COLLEGE FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Red beats Black in G-Day game; Auburn QB battle far from being decided after Tigers' spring game; Reid shines for FSU in Garnet and Gold game

Photo by Richard Hamm

Photo by Richard Hamm

ATHENS -- One of Georgia's most improved defensive players of spring football made a bigger impact on offense in Saturday's G-Day game.

With the so-called "Dream Team" recruiting class coming in the fall, Branden Smith just wants to make sure he is in the lineup.

Cornerback Smith scored the game's first touchdown as a pass receiver in helping the Black team beat the Red team 18-11.

Bulldog head coach Mark Richt said that the hoopla surrounding the heralded recruiting class has energized the veterans.

"I want to emphasize that none of these recruits have been promised any starting job," said Richt. "Just an opportunity.

"But I think they will make a big impact," he continued. "They are very talented. I don't think they are coming in here thinking that I just want to wait my turn. So a lot of the veterans are already preparing hard in anticipation of those guys showing up. We have let it be known that no one's job is safe."

Smith received accolades as one of the most improved defensive players of the spring. On defense Saturday, he had one tackle. On offense he carried the ball twice for seven yards and had two receptions for 38 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown reception when he tight-roped the sideline.

"Branden had an awesome spring," said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. "I told him early in the week that if he had a pick on Tuesday or Thursday in practice that I would get him the ball 10 times. He is such an explosive player. I wish I could have him all the time."

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is in no mood to surrender Smith to the offense.

"Any time you can make plays, and he is a playmaker, you look at what he can do to score points," said Grantham. "If there is a package for him on offense, we will work with it."

Few definitive questions were answered in Saturday's scrimmage. No tailback emerged as the clear-cut leader, and no wide out stepped up to fill the huge void left by A.J. Green's departure to the first-round riches of the upcoming NFL draft.

Carlton Thomas was the leading ground gainer, picking up 48 yards on 13 carries, including a 5-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that put the Reds ahead 11-10. But Thomas also fumbled twice, including on the Black 2-yard-line to spoil a 73-yard drive at the opening of the game.

Ken Malcome, a redshirt freshman tailback, managed 39 yards on seven carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run that clinched the win for the Blacks.

As for wide outs, veteran Tavarres King had five catches for 62 yards. Marlon Brown managed four catches for 47 yards, but none of the receivers struck fear in the hearts of the defense like Green did.

Quarterback Aaron Murray completed 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards. His backup, pure freshman Christian LeMay led the winning drive, but Richt stopped short of categorizing LeMay as a challenger to backup Hutson Mason.

"The only thing that Christian is battling is the playbook," said Richt. "Until you know what you are doing, you can't compete as a quarterback. He has come a long way and has learned a lot. But I would not even say there is competition now."

The defensive standouts included linebackers Alex Ogletree and Chase Vasser, who had seven tackles each on opposite teams. Walk-on safety Connor Norman impressed with five tackles, three passes broken up and a leaping interception.

"When you watch film, you want to be able to say, 'That guy is a football player,'" said Richt. "Connor probably caught the eye of our special teams coaches."

Georgia, coming off Richt's first losing season, 6-7, opens the 2011 season with Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Atlanta.

"You hope you can show up for a game like that in midseason form," said Richt. "You can't be a team that is just finding its way."

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BATTLE TO REPLACE NEWTON UP IN AIR AFTER TIGERS' SPRING GAME:

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik said fans shouldn't read too much into the final score of the defending national champions' spring game.

He might have been talking about the game itself, too.

The Tigers' A-Day scrimmage Saturday before an announced crowd of 53,209 featured plenty of new faces, only one touchdown and a quarterback competition that will apparently continue into fall camp. It didn't feature many big plays or traditional TDs. A points system employed awarded both the offense (Blue team) and defense (White) for big plays.

"Today was kind of a base offense, base defense day and let's get some guys out there and let them hit and run around and try to tackle well and block well," Chizik said. "It was more of a generic scrimmage."

For the record, the White team won 63-32.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the Tigers opened up things more in the previous two spring scrimmages, which were closed to the media and public.

So this wasn't likely a deciding barometer in the battle between quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley, a competition that Chizik said should carry over into August. The Tigers finish spring with another practice Monday.

"We're trying to find someone that can manage the game and manage the team and protect the football," Chizik said. "They both do that fairly well. There's some open balls that we had today that we missed. We've just got to be more consistent at that position. But both have a very good feel for the offense. I don't think that's the issue."

Trotter threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen on the opening series -- along with a 24-yarder to the tight end/receiver -- and was 6-of-12 passing for 120 yards. Clint Moseley completed 9 of 15 passes for 82 yards, and there were no interceptions in the scrimmage.

Moseley also badly overthrew DeAngelo Benton down the field on one play.

Walk-on Logan Paul saw more action in the first half since he led the White while Trotter and Moseley took turns working with the first-team offense. But the competition to replace the Heisman Trophy-winning Cam Newton continues.

"Until we know who gives us the best chance to win and it's 110 percent, we won't make the call," Malzahn said. "The first year we were here we didn't make the call (until August). Last year, we did it a week after. It's just like any other position, when we're 110 percent certain sure we'll do that."

Both quarterbacks seemed resigned to the matter being unsettled. Then again, Newton wasn't named the No. 1 guy until more than a week after last spring concluded.

"Of course I'd like to already have the job, but we've got to go with whatever he says," Moseley said of Chizik. "Trust in him, and do the best I can. That's all I can do."

Added Trotter: "You'd like for it to be done but you never can tell."

Gone are the Tigers' biggest stars, Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, along with 14 other offensive or defensive starters and five specialists.

Plus, players like tailback Mike Dyer, MVP of the national championship game, played little and had three carries for 15 yards -- all in the first four plays. Onterio McCalebb gained 15 yards on four rushes.

Kicker Chandler Brooks made 3 of 5 field goals, with every attempt of more than 40 yards.

The Tigers have only about 50 scholarship players going through the spring after Chizik kicked five players off the team following arrests.

"You're going to have to get used to a lot of new names and new faces, which is OK," the coach said.