Georgia Bulldogs receiver Tramel Terry (1) compete in a drill during practice at the University of Georgia in preparation for the team’s season opener against Clemson.
ATHENS — Georgia did everything it could to simulate an actual game late Wednesday night. The Bulldogs even started their evaluation scrimmage under the lights at Sanford Stadium at roughly the same time they will kick off against Clemson on prime-time television.
It was an important evening. The Bulldogs will base many of their final personnel decisions on the way players performed in the two-hour-plus workout.
“It was good to play under the lights,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We’ll go under lights again in our dress rehearsal next Wednesday. I think that’s a good idea since the first game is at night. We had more energy, and I thought we should have since we had two of the last three nights off.”
The Bulldogs went No. 1’s against the No. 2’s, and Richt said the first-string units “won the day.”
As far as who earned playing time in the Aug. 31 opener against Clemson, Richt said the staff will take a couple of days to decide.
“It’ll be maybe a day or two before we start figuring out exactly, and it probably won’t be exact until next Wednesday,” he said. “I’d say next Wednesday have a pretty good idea how we’ll line up.”
One defensive standout was freshman cornerback Brendan Langley. He returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown and had a pass breakup. Fellow freshman Shaq Wiggins also had an interception.
“I’d say both Langley and Shaq have played well,” Richt said. “Shaq has been banged up a little bit, and Langley has benefited from getting all those reps in practice. The pick-6 he had was a good break on the ball.”
Starting safeties Tray Matthews (shoulder) and Corey Moore (knee) were unable to practice.
Quarterback Aaron Murray was 14-of-18 for 173 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Freshman Brendan Douglas was the leading rusher with 50 yards on seven carries, and tailback Todd Gurley scored two touchdowns and gained 33 yards rushing on five carries. He caught three passes for another 72 yards.
NO NEWS ON LONG: Richt said earlier this week he would have news Wednesday regarding senior Austin Long’s academic eligibility. As it turned out he said he was mistaken and had “nothing to report.”
Long’s academic uncertainty is the latest event in what has been a frustrating college career for Long. He came to UGA from Briarcrest Christian in Memphis, Tenn., as a consensus high school All-American and five-star prospect. But before he took a snap in practice he underwent back surgery — one of two surgeries he has had since arriving at UGA. Other twists and sprains limited Long to two games of experience entering his junior season last year. He appeared in 13 consecutive games as a backup last season, then broke his hand in practices leading to the Capital One Bowl in December.
With Chris Burnette sidelined with shoulder surgery, Long emerged as the starting right guard in spring practice. But his eligibility issue arose over the summer, and he has been unable to practice at all in preseason camp.
DANTZLER DOING WORK: Wednesday’s scrimmage was particularly important for guys such as Watts Dantzler. The 6-foot-7, 320-pound junior is one of several players battling for one of the remaining three spots in the offensive-line rotation. At various times he has worked with the No. 1 unit at right guard while the Bulldogs let Burnette rest his still-recovering shoulder.
“To be honest I don’t really know exactly where I stand,” Dantzler said. “I’m just kind of going out there and doing my best. I played a good bit of first team this camp. Who knows?”
NOTES: UGA Parking Services is selling season-long parking permits for the Bulldogs’ home schedule, which starts Sept. 7 with a 4:30 p.m. game against South Carolina. The permits cost $120 and covers all six home games. Spaces are available in the Carlton Street, North Campus and Performing Arts Center parking decks and are being sold on a first-come, first-serve basis until Aug. 30. They are available exclusively at www.football.parking.uga.edu. Single-game RV permits are available for select games for $100 per game. … Georgia was picked 12th in the preseason poll released by Sports Illustrated on Wednesday. The Bulldogs rank No. 5 in the coaches preseason poll.