The biggest thing taken from Saturday’s Blue/White spring scrimmage was that when quarterback Jawaun Luckey is under center, good things tend to happen.
Luckey, the No. 1 quarterback for the White squad, scored two rushing touchdowns as White beat Blue 24-0.
Luckey was under center on the first drive of the game, leading the team on a seven play, 70-yard drive that ended with a keeper up the middle from the 3-yard line for the game’s first score.
The drive included a 33-yard pass to Patrick Barker.
Barker played with the ones along with Mitch Williford, and the pair combined for three catches for 123 yards, including Williford’s 39-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Brent Osborn on the first play from scrimmage in a second-quarter drive set up by a Blue-team fumble.
Not bad, considering the coaches told them the ratio of blocking to catching would change quite a bit in the option-run-based system.
“They also said there’d be a lot of chances for big plays, and once you get wide open, you’ve got to make a play,” Barker said. “It happened out here today, so it gives me a lot of hope and it’s a lot of fun.”
“When we do throw the ball, it’s going to be deep,” added Williford, “and the defenses aren’t going to be expecting it. They threw it up to us, and we made some plays today.”
Luckey scored his second touchdown on the previous drive – a 13-yard quarterback keeper down the left sideline.
“It’s been fun,” Luckey said. “I haven’t been able to play football in a while, and luckily coach Monken gave me a chance to do so. I’ve just been going out and doing the best I can do.”
First-year coach Jeff Monken said Luckey’s athleticism will likely put him at the top of the depth chart when fall camp begins in August.
“He probably is, just because he gives us the best chance athletically, and he doesn’t put the ball on the ground as often as the other guys,” said Monken. “I don’t know if he’s the frontrunner – the best guy – but fortunately we’ve got time to decide that before we play. He hasn’t played football since the 2007 season, and that’s a long time, so he’s rusty.”
Still it will be a battle for all five quarterbacks, including one who spent the scrimmage watching from the sidelines.
“It’s a lot of fun out here,” said Jaybo Shaw, a two-year Georgia Tech quarterback who will enroll at GSU for summer classes and be eligible in the fall. “You’ve got fans in the stands and people tailgating. It was a lot of fun being out here today, and I’m just really excited about getting down here. I’ve got about a month, so I’m counting down the days.”
Monken was pleased with the first-half scoring, but each team was shut out in the second half, and the Blue team totaled only 119 yards on 53 plays, and the teams combined for six fumbles – three lost – and a Russell DeMasi pass that was intercepted by cornerback Carson Hill.
“I would have liked to have seen them get another score at the end and kind of nail the thing shut,” said Monken about the White team, “and I talked about that to them in their locker room at halftime. Then I went in the Blue locker room and talked to them about fighting back and getting a score on the board in the second half. They just didn’t close down the lead at all. There’s some areas there I’d like to see us finish, and that’s for both sides. Even though the White team won the game, I didn’t like the way we finished.”
Of all the position changes that happened during the spring, slotbacks Nico Hickey and J.J. Wilcox looked the most comfortable on offense, combining for eight carries that went 46 yards.
Defensively, it was Dion DuBose, who stood out at defensive end after only playing the position for a couple of weeks. He led all defenders with 6.5 tackles, including a 12-yard sack of Luckey in the third quarter.
“At first I was a little skeptical (about the position change) because I came in here playing middle linebacker,” said DuBose. “But I just thought, ‘I’m going to play hard at the position,’ I’m fast and I can get around the corner. I can get around the tackle, so that’s how I play the position.”
White’s scoring was capped off with a second-quarter, 26-yard field goal by Graden Bozeman.
The Blue team had only one scoring attempt in the second quarter – a missed 47-yard field goal attempt by Adrian Mora.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.