Georgia Football held its final practice on Thursday. The Bulldogs wore shorts and jerseys with their helmets instead of pads. Despite not wearing pads, intensity seemed to be the message from head coach Kirby Smart and his staff. Similar to Tuesday’s report, Steve Conyers handled the defense and I took on the offense. Here are our takeaways from each side of the ball.
Savannah’s Offense Report:
Kendall Baker returned to left guard during Thursday’s practice after he practiced at right tackle on Tuesday. As for the entire first-string offensive line, it looks like this: Andrew Thomas (LT), Baker(LG), Lamont Gaillard (C), Ben Cleveland (RG) and Isaiah Wilson (RT). As for the second team, I noticed Solomon Kindley share reps with freshman Trey Hill. Sam Pittman had the group work with the chute machine during media period three. Then the group moved to double-team drills and working on drills with the tight ends. There isn’t a whole lot to report from the trenches beside Baker getting to move around and receive reps at all five positions.
No news is good news considering the offensive line, however, once fall camp starts, that might change.
Both Jake Fromm and Justin Fields appeared back to their usual talented selves after both struggled on Tuesday. I didn’t see a single under or overthrown pass during the 10 minutes the media got.
During the third period, Smart and Jim Chaney had a group of offense and defensive player work on various play calls. Both Fromm and Fields worked in this drill and got to see various defensive looks. The drill appeared to work on reading defenses for the quarterbacks and what to do in various read-option situations. As for the defense the drill worked on reaction and seeing how to react to various scenarios. Smart would physically move Jaden Hunter and Nate McBride throughout this drill to make sure they were in the correct spots. The drill interested me as it showed what to look for in various play calls and how the quarterback makes the decision.
Fields looks good, and it looks like the strength staff already put a little muscle on him. He made some nice throws on Thursday, and man that kid is strong. Fromm oozed confidence and just looks confident in everything he did, including running from one end of the field to the other during a drill. G-Day should prove fun with these two confident quarterbacks dueling it out in front of a large crowd.
Elijah Holyfield continues to look confident as it seems he should get a majority of the runs on G-Day. However, I can say that D’Andre Swift participated a lot more on Thursday and it seems that sore groin isn’t bothering him as much. Smart said in his press conference that his participation for G-Day would be a game-time decision. Zamir White continues to get more reps throughout drills and doesn’t show any sign of injury besides a knee brace. White’s hungry to get on the field and I expect this summer to be all about getting stronger for him.
Terry Godwin appeared better after he didn’t participate a whole lot on Tuesday. Smart mentioned in his press conference that he had a slight knee thing and it bothered him some. The injury wasn’t anything too serious, he just needed to take it easy for a few days. Godwin should participate without any problems on Saturday. He doesn’t show any signs of pain, besides a compression sleeve on his knee.
Mecole Hardman and Ahkil Crumpton couldn’t miss a ball during the media periods. I expect both to be big contributors this upcoming season and on G-Day. Crumpton doesn’t miss a ball, he just doesn’t. Matt Landers continues to impress me. Smart mentioned he made some nice plays this spring, but he needed to stay consistent. Landers was another that went up and grabbed everything in his sight Thursday. He ran with the first group of receivers during the media periods, which impressed me.
Despite these three above standing out on Thursday, the overall receiver group had a bad day. There were multiple drops out there and it appeared that they had problems with route running. Smart yelled, “Every one of y’all are running routes different!” The fact that it’s day 14 of spring practice, the wideouts should know which routes to run, but today they struggled.
Steve’s Defense Report:
One of the first things I’d like to note is there’s still no sign of Michael Barnett who went down earlier with an apparent knee injury. I think it’s safe to say he’s out for G-Day. The defensive line worked on exploding in the first drill past Tray Scott who operated the chaos. During one of the media periods, I overheard Scott yell to the group, “Third money is the money down… Let’s go!”
Devonte Wyatt is a solid bowling ball and is going to impress a lot of people this season in my opinion. He gives relentless energy and has a powerful strike. I’ve said it before, but depth is crucial in the interior as Kirby Smart is concerned with this position group. The first team appeared to be David Marshall, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle, and Julian Rochester. Georgia’s second-team defensive line was Michail Carter, Devonte Wyatt, and Tyler Clark. Malik Herring ran with the threes and appeared to have gotten out of the slump he was in last week. Scott even praised him during one of the drills for properly clubbing someone.
Glenn Schumann had the inside linebackers working on fumble recovery drills. Natrez Patrick is the main linebacker in this group that is an obvious starter, but the WILL position is wide open. The competition is between Monty Rice, Nate McBride, Juwan Taylor, and Jaden Hunter. As of right now, it looks like Rice and Taylor will be getting most of those reps and McBride and Hunter will be primarily getting playing time with the special teams.
We should be able to get a better idea of this group Saturday at G-day. The OLB’s were working with Dan Lanning who I am really starting to think is a great hire by Kirby Smart. While working on five technique he was yelling at Brenton Cox and said,”Get that off-hand loaded! “Short steps equal power!”
Mel Tucker had the secondary working on coverage drills and had some DB’s running routes as receivers while the others read the route and reacted accordingly. Ameer Speed had the club on his left hand and was doing his best to catch the ball during drills.
Deandre Baker did not have his brace on his elbow and looked completely fine. Mark Webb was obviously not out there today as he was injured Tuesday and we will get Kirby Smart today at the presser to get any further details. Smart let the media know that it was a meniscus tear and that he had surgery yesterday to repair it. He should make a full recovery according to the head coach.
Savannah and Steve’s Bits and Pieces:
There were few recruits out at practice, but none would turn around to give away their names. Neither Steve or I could recognize or see who was out there. However, there should be a massive group of recruits on campus this weekend for G-Day.
Steve saw Nick Chubb and Sony Michel out at practice today talking with Fernando Velasco. He saw them hanging out and having fun as the NFL draft is only one week away. Javon Wims was another guest out at practice. He yelled at the receivers when they dropped, “that’s a drop! You can’t do that!”