Georgia Football: Top 5 Performers from the Bulldogs' Spring Game
The Georgia Bulldogs held their annual G-Day spring game Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 46,073 fans at Sanford Stadium.
While many in attendance and watching from home were most intrigued by the new defensive coaching staff, a number of players on both sides of the ball stood out in the intrasquad scrimmage.
Here are the five performers who performed at the highest level Saturday.
Hutson Mason, Quarterback
As Bleacher Report's own Barrett Sallee surmised, "Replacing a legend is never easy, but Hutson Mason made it look easy in Georgia's spring game on Saturday afternoon between the hedges at Sanford Stadium."
Those words ring true of the fifth-year quarterback's overall performance, as he led the first-team offense against the first-team defense with poise, consistency and a certain degree of ease.
On the afternoon, Mason completed 18 of 27 attempts while racking up 241 passing yards and a touchdown. He also added 15 rushing yards on three carries. Beyond the statistics, however, he demonstrated complete control over the offense and showed maturation in his new role as the full-time starter under center.
If Saturday was indeed indicative of what can be expected of Mason in the fall, Bulldogs fans are in for a treat.
Chris Conley, Wide Receiver
Mason's passing efforts were aided tremendously by a host of familiar targets downfield, not the least of which was Chris Conley.
Conley hauled in first-down catches on both of Georgia's first two plays and didn't look back. Over the course of a long afternoon, the senior receiver grabbed six catches and accounted for 124 receiving yards.
Such a statistically impressive day was not surprising given Conley's track record of success—1,281 career receiving yards and four 100-yard games—but it was nice to see him pick up with Mason where he left off with former quarterback Aaron Murray.
Undoubtedly, Mason to Conley will be a recurring theme in 2014.
Jordan Jenkins, Outside Linebacker
Last week, junior Jordan Jenkins told David Paschall of The Chattanooga Times Free Press, "As long as we do what the coaches ask of us, we feel like the sky is the limit."
By the looks of things Saturday, Jenkins must be following directions pretty closely.
In a scrimmage in which three of the four participating quarterbacks wore no-contact jerseys, it was hard to accurately measure defensive pressure. Nonetheless, Jenkins still managed to rack up two sacks, and he likely would have caused even more disruption had he been allowed to hit the passers.
For Georgia's still-developing defense to be successful, the Dawgs must get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Jenkins appears capable of doing so.
Leonard Floyd, Outside Linebacker
Like Jenkins, Leonard Floyd was also extremely active from his outside linebacker spot Saturday.
He repeatedly put pressure on the quarterback (although he was not awarded a sack) and also showed a wide array of skills within Jeremy Pruitt's defensive scheme. Not only did he register six tackles (tied for the second-highest total of the game), but he also batted down two passes.
Floyd's unique combination of length and speed makes him a force whether he's rushing a passer, staying at home against the run or simply disrupting throwing lanes in the flats. He did a little bit of all of that at G-Day; expect him to do even more in the fall.
Faton Bauta, Quarterback
- He's a dual-threat quarterback who's more likely to beat opposing defenses with his legs than with his arm.
- He's in a battle with Brice Ramsey to back up Mason.
Coming into the spring game, most Georgia fans knew two things about Faton Bauta:
Both of those talking points may now be obsolete, even for casual Bulldogs fans.
Bauta did run the ball effectively Saturday (six carries for 35 yards), but more surprisingly, he completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He may be capable of making plays with his mobility, but his passing is equally refined.
Furthermore, G-Day may have provided some distance between Bauta and Ramsey in the competition for the second-team quarterback spot. Ramsey completed just one of his seven pass attempts.
The season is a long time off still, but if it opened today, Bauta would likely be the firm No. 2 behind Mason. Based on his performance Saturday, he'll be a capable backup.