- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ATHENS, GA. (AP) - Georgia coach Mark Richt did his best to make his team’s last scrimmage of the preseason feel like a real game.

There were Southeastern Conference officials on the Sanford Stadium field. There were game captains, pregame warmups and even a coin toss.

Richt wanted to see how his players handled the added rush that came with the simulated game.

Perhaps the most important test was for freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, who is preparing for his first start in No. 23 Georgia’s opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4.

Murray said it felt like more than just another practice.

“Definitely, I got a little jitters,” Murray said. “There were a couple of overthrows where I was a little pumped up. … I think after the first play the jitters calmed down a little and I was good to go.”

Murray prepared for his first start by completing 9 of 17 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

“We try to simulate the best we could,” Richt said. “For that reason I thought he felt it a little bit. It will be nothing like when we have 95,000 fans. He’s still learning. He’s still a freshman.”

Richt said Murray’s performance “wasn’t real bad but there were a couple times he could have made a better decision.

“Hopefully the point will be driven home a little better.”

Murray said one of his bad decisions came on a botched screen play.

“I should have thrown it out of bounds and instead I tried to scramble with it and got sacked,” Murray said.

Freshman Hutson Mason, who likely will open the season as Murray’s backup, was 5 of 10 for 69 yards.

Senior fullback Shaun Chapas, one of 10 returning starters on offense, said Murray is assuming the leadership that comes with his position.

“He’s the leader of our offense and when he was in there he had command of the huddle and got us going,” Chapas said.

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