ATHENS, Ga. -- One of Georgia’s top defensive performers in Wednesday’s team scrimmage plays one of the Bulldogs' greatest positions of need.
Sophomore safety Corey Moore earned praise from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham after Thursday’s practice for his overall play in the scrimmage, where he recorded two tackles, a pass breakup and halted a drive by intercepting an Aaron Murray pass in the red zone.
“Corey was one of the most improved guys from the scrimmage because he made some plays in coverage,” Grantham said. “He’s always been a very physical player in the run game and that showed up yesterday. I think he’s a guy that has kind of gotten it and he’s working really hard. He made some plays on some balls and made an interception, which for a safety, if you can do both, that really makes you a lot more valuable.”
Regardless of what happens with a possible suspension to All-America safety Bacarri Rambo, the Bulldogs are fairly thin at safety entering the season. Rambo and Shawn Williams are entrenched as starters, but Moore, former walk-on Connor Norman and freshman Josh Harvey-Clemons are among the limited options behind them.
Moore is becoming more comfortable with his responsibilities in Georgia’s defensive scheme, but he said playing under Grantham only allows so much comfort. He knows he needs to stay on top of his responsibilities or he’ll hear about it in fairly impolite terms from his coach.
“I don’t want to play too loose and get too comfortable, but I just try to have fun out there, as much as possible,” Moore said. “I’m going to mess up and then you’re going to hear Grantham. That’s what I love about him. He’s not the type of coach that’s going to praise you about something. He wants you to get better at whatever you do, so you can’t get too comfortable out there because playing up under Coach Grantham, you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s.”
After further review: Coach Mark Richt’s tone after Wednesday’s scrimmage was different than offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s following Thursday’s practice.
Yes, ball security was a bit of a problem for Georgia’s quarterbacks in the scrimmage, but Bobo still thought it was a productive day for the Bulldogs’ offense.
“I thought we moved the ball well offensively in the first half when the drives were there,” Bobo said. “Second half was some hard situations. We worked all third-and-longs and then four-minute offense and stuff like that -- situations when it’s kind of an uphill battle for the offense. But overall I think the ones came to play and got better from the previous scrimmage to this scrimmage.”
Four different quarterbacks fumbled in the scrimmage and three of them threw interceptions. Bobo said they could have done better there, but attributed some of the fumbling to nonchalance because defensive players are not allowed to tackle the quarterbacks during scrimmages.
“We’ve obviously got to take care of the ball,” Bobo said. “There were some times when protection would break down and the quarterback’s sacked and relaxed and they kind of like slap the ball away. We’ve got to just play like we’re live in a lot of those situations.”
Gurley’s day: While Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon did not tip their hands about their tailback depth chart, it is clear that freshman Todd Gurley continues to impress.
He rushed seven times for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the scrimmage after also leading all rushers in the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage. The coaches expected another strong outing from Gurley and he delivered.
“He had some physical runs in that scrimmage and we were really pleased with his progress from last week to this week in practice,” Bobo said. “He did a great job and we thought he was going to have a good scrimmage and he happened to be the beneficiary of a play that caught the defense off guard. Now he did the rest. He broke a couple tackles and had a long run, but he did a nice job running the ball.”
Georgia’s coaches always emphasize that blocking is one of the biggest hurdles for true freshman backs, and Bobo said both Gurley and fellow freshman Keith Marshall are beginning to do a better job as blockers as well.
“Two practices ago, he had a couple of times where he had to block blitzing linebackers and did an outstanding job,” Bobo said. “Then there was two blitzes in the scrimmage the other day where Keith Marshall stepped up and picked up a linebacker in the hole. We didn’t complete the pass, but it was a nice pocket and it was good to see those young guys pick up the blitz.”