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Mark BradleyMark Bradley

3 thoughts on G-Day, starting with Hutson Mason

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The scene at sunny Sanford. (M. Bradley/AJC)

The Saturday scene at sunny Sanford Stadium. (M. Bradley/AJC)

ATHENS – These not-entirely-random thoughts are presented in the wake of G-Day, which was staged Saturday at Sanford Stadium. The Georgia Bulldogs won. The Georgia Bulldogs also lost. Sometimes I crack myself up.

1. Georgia’s new No. 1 quarterback looked like the greatest football player named Hutson since Don. The catch is that there haven’t been many football players so named since Don Hutson was catching Dixie Howell’s passes at Alabama 80 years ago. (For you young ‘uns, Don Hutson was the NFL’s first great split end.) As for Hutson Mason: He did well enough to make you think what Mark Richt said after Aaron Murray was lost to a knee injury in November is  true — that Mason, who spent four seasons waiting his turn, has been ready to start for a while now. Mason completed 18 of 27 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown against the No. 1 defense. He missed on some deep throws, but he hit on enough of them to kindle hope among Bulldog Nation that H. Mason could pull a D.J. Shockley and lead the Bulldogs to an SEC title as a first-year starter.

2. Speaking of the No. 1 defense, it dropped no hints. The spring game isn’t the place for a new defensive coordinator to show his wares. There’s no sense putting anything of substance on tape for Clemson, which will face Georgia here Aug. 30, and if your defenders get really excited and start tackling people hard, Mason or Todd Gurley could get hurt and your season would be blown to bits 4 1/2 months before it begins. Jeremy Pruitt said he wasn’t on scheme so much as fundamentals this spring, and that’s how it looked Saturday. Not that it’s possible to tread water on a grass field, but that’s essentially what the D did.

3. Speaking of Gurley, he appears to have healed from his various ailments. He didn’t touch the ball all that much — six rushes for 32 yards and three catches for 38 more  — but he’s Todd Gurley so he didn’t need to. It was enough for him to skip over and past defenders and turn the corner a time or two. (It was also heartening for Gurley to seemed engaged. Richt had a chat with Gurley this spring and stressed the need to try harder in practice.) Assuming Gurley stays healthy, he’ll enter the 2014 season as the nation’s best tailback. And now a question for y’all: In the Richt era of Georgia football, who’s the best back — Knowshon Moreno or Gurley?

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