Kirby Smart Names Georgia QB1, Talks Improvements In Second Scrimmage

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Kirby Smart Names Georgia QB1, Talks Improvements In Second Scrimmage

Georgia wrapped up their second scrimmage of the fall on Saturday exactly two weeks away from kickoff against UT Martin. With a multitude of questions still needing answers surrounding this Bulldog team, Coach Smart took the podium to give valuable insight as to where the 2023 team sits.

In his opening remarks, Coach Smart said he was “very pleased” with the results of the second scrimmage compared to the first. He thought the team hit on some explosive plays as well as showed the right energy and enthusiasm expected when Georgia takes the field. Despite the compliments, don’t be misled into thinking the Bulldog head coach is satisfied with where Georgia stands heading into the season. Coach Smart promptly clarified that while Saturday’s scrimmage demonstrated progress from the previous week, the team has not yet reached the level of performance displayed by the two national championship teams from the prior two seasons.

Following his opening remarks, Kirby Smart was quickly asked about his quarterback situation where he officially announced Carson Beck as the starting quarterback. This isn’t a surprise to many; after all, Beck saw significant minutes late in games during the 2022 season where he finished the season with 310 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The two-time national champion coach even described the new starter as “one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve been around.”

Coach Smart did compliment both of Georgia’s other Quarterbacks in Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton saying that they’ve done a “tremendous job competing” and have grown significantly since the end of last season. He added that Carson’s experience and prior opportunities led him to earning the job, and if anything were to happen to Carson, he still has full faith that either Vandagriff or Stockton could put Georgia in the right positions to win football games.

When addressing Georgia’s overall health, Coach Smart mentioned that a few Bulldogs are nursing injuries; however, at present, none of these injuries are deemed significant. Smael Mondon’s speedy recovery and lack of soreness following Saturday’s scrimmage were highlighted, offering positive news regarding one of the nation’s top Inside Linebackers. Coach Smart also provided updates on other injured players, including Jonel Aguero, who is managing a hamstring injury, and Branson Robinson, who is making a return to the field. Kendall Milton’s improved speed and proximity to full recovery were also noted. The availability of all these players was characterized as day-to-day.

Earnest Greene III and Xavier Truss also picked up knocks during the scrimmage, but both players were able to return. Greene III was precautionarily shut down later in the scrimmage and will be further evaluated. Coach Smart did not express much concern over the extent of the injury. 

Lawson Luckie, who had been hurt prior to the scrimmage on Saturday, has a similar injury that kept Arian Smith out for 3-4 weeks last season. Coach Smart mentioned that other players who experienced similar injuries have been out for as long as 5-6 weeks. The duration of Luckie’s absence will be determined by his pain tolerance and the evaluation of the Georgia medical staff. His status is officially listed as ‘week-to-week.

Kemari Lassiter, the final Bulldog mentioned in the injury report, has been practicing while wearing a black jersey designating non-contact. Despite this limitation, Lassiter’s agility and participation in practice sessions, including Saturday’s scrimmage, were noted. Lassiter’s presence contributes to a cornerback room abundant in exceptional talent; however, the second cornerback starter remains open. Coach Smart confirmed that Julio Humphreys, Nyland Green, Daylen Everette, and AJ Harris are all competing for playing time at that position.

Special Teams has been of importance over the course of the off-season with veteran kicker Jack Podlesny departing. However, Coach Smart didn’t have many answers regarding the unit. Jared Zirkel and Peyton Woodring are battling for the starting kicker position and “one went 3/3 today while the other went 3/4.” Coach Smart says that he has a lot of confidence in both players but has no time table for a definitive answer regarding who will win the job.

Georgia will look to generate more consistency over the next two weeks before teeing it up in Sanford Stadium September 2nd. The Bulldogs should be healthier by that time, and Carson Beck will be leading the charge in hopes of a historic third championship.

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