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Richt giving 3 QBs equal time in spring practice

ATHENS — Mark Richt is planning to give each of his three quarterbacks a chance to shine with the first-team offense in Georgia's G-Day spring game.

Richt usually splits up his starters — offense on one team, defense on the other — in the spring game.

There will be a different look to this year's game. Richt hasn't named his No. 1 quarterback. Or No. 2. Or No. 3.

Richt is giving junior Logan Gray and redshirt freshmen Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray equal playing time with the first-team offense this spring as they compete for the starting job. Richt says that will continue as the three rotate on the two teams in the G-Day game on April 10 at Sanford Stadium.

"It might go by quarter, it might go by series," Richt said after Tuesday's practice. "We'll just keep rotating those guys with both units."

Richt said last week Mettenberger is facing a one-game suspension as punishment for his March 7 arrest on alcohol charges. Mettenberger, 18, was arrested in Lowndes County and charged with underage consumption and possession of alcohol, possessing fake identification and disorderly conduct-obstruction.

Richt said the punishment could change if more details become known. Georgia has not made Mettenberger available for interviews this spring.

"He's already matured from it," Gray said of Mettenberger. "Zach wishes he could take it all back. It's definitely tough ... especially going through the scrutiny."

Murray (6-1, 206) and Mettenberger (6-5, 230) were top recruits. Murray, from Tampa, Fla., was rated the No. 3 quarterback in the nation by and and was a Parade magazine All-America pick. Mettenberger, from Oconee County, was rated the No. 11 quarterback in the nation by Rivals.

Gray's edge is his experience.

"I would say Logan is probably ahead of everybody in the meeting room," said quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Gray (6-2, 192) has appeared in 25 games, but much of that time came on special teams. He has more yards on punt returns than passes.

Gray played behind senior Joe Cox in 2009, completing 5 of 12 passes for 31 yards and two interceptions. Gray considered a position change after the season before opting to compete with Mettenberger and Murray for the starting job.

Gray may already feel as if he's losing ground after the spring's first scrimmage.

"I felt a little out of rhythm, to be honest," Gray said after completing six passes for 37 yards in Saturday's scrimmage. "I don't think I had my best day but there's always room for improvement and that's not our only scrimmage of the spring."

Mettenberger was 7 of 10 passing for 157 yards and one touchdown, while Murray was 10 of 15 for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Murray graded his performance as "pretty good" and said "I was a little nervous at first getting out there."

Richt is keeping a close eye on the quarterbacks on and off the practice fields. The coach is attending every meeting with the quarterbacks and Bobo.

Richt said he has been impressed by the quarterbacks' grasp of the playbook.

"These guys are on the ball," Richt said. "They really understand it. They're students of the game. They're very diligent."

Richt said he'll review the three after spring practice.

"I'm more inclined to just take it all in and when the spring is over try to look at it again," he said, adding he'll be looking to see how each contender handles adversity.

"How are you going to handle it when something goes awry?" Richt asked. "That's going to be a big part of who wins this job."