Of course, a spring game cannot prove everything. No coach wants to exit spring practice with their starting quarterback on a stretcher, so rules are in place to prevent the unspeakable. The defense could not collapse the pocket and actually tackle Mason, so the pressure was off somewhat.
However, Mason was able to make some impressive deep throws, including a 53-yarder to Chris Conley, who looks to be the No. 1 option at receiver. Conley grabbed six passes for 124 yards and threw some key blocks downfield, a skill that has kept Conley on the field throughout his career in Athens.
The second option is sure-handed Michael Bennett, who broke free for five catches and 47 yards. Bennett’s health has been an issue for the last two seasons, but he looked to be 100 percent on Saturday. Keeping him on the field for 12 games will be a huge boost on third-and-long situation, as Bennett has the speed to get behind defenders and has no problem going across the middle of the field to catch a pass.
Reggie Davis caught Mason’s only touchdown, a 10-yarder after a three-minute drive featuring eight passes and two running plays. Davis has track speed, and if he gets behind the secondary with the ball in his hands, he will not be caught from behind. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is a fan of the end-around play, so do not be surprised to see Davis’ speed put to use in that manner to keep defenses off balance.
The most important receiver may actually be Todd Gurley. Last season, Gurley caught 37 passes out of the backfield for 441 yards and scored six touchdowns, the most on the team. When the pocket does collapse in a live game situation, Mason’s safety net will be wearing No. 3. Gurley caught three passes for 38 yards on Saturday in limited action, so Bobo obviously has no intention of changing Gurley’s role in that respect.
When the injured triumvirate of Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Jay Rome returns, Mason will have a logjam of talent staring back at him in the huddle. Bobo and Mark Richt have to hope that Mason capitalizes on those options and is able to respond when a defensive lineman can do more than just one-hand touch.