Georgia Football held its annual G-Day game on April 21. The Bulldogs played in front of 82,184 fans and well over 50 recruits and their families. With a record-breaking crowd and plenty of recruits, how did the team do? The Black squad won 21-13 and marked the second year in a row that the first string defense took home the G-Day crown. After 15 practices, how does this 2018 squad look? Below marks what went well for the Bulldogs, what didn’t and what were some areas that could improve on.
Georgia’s Defense Made its point
The Bulldog’s starting defense made some noise on Saturday, especially the front seven and the secondary. All spring, head coach Kirby Smart talked about how the defense was behind the offense. He seemed to challenge the defense and the group answered.
Georgia’s defensive line and edge rushers showed great potential despite losing Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, and Roquan Smith to the NFL Draft. Both red and black teams applied pressure to the quarterbacks and force them to make quick decisions. Monty Rice led both teams in tackles with 14 total, eight of which were solo. He showed good awareness along with a strong ability to cover field space. Another name that stood out was Brenton Cox. He recorded five solo tackles and one tackle for a loss. He seemed to be in on every play and looked like a grown man. As for the veterans, David Marshall, Tyler Clark, D’Andre Walker and Jonathan Ledbetter, all showed leadership promise along with making plays of their own. The talent is there for Georgia, it’s just a matter of keeping the guys healthy up front.
The Bulldogs secondary was able to make the necessary adjustments after Smart called them out earlier in the spring. Deandre Baker recorded a pick-six along with two tackles on the day. Another interception came by Richard LeCounte and William Poole snagged one himself. The two veterans led the way, but LeCounte and Tyrique McGhee popped a couple wide receivers which made me perk up some. LeCounte’s improved a good bit from his freshman season, and I expect him to be one of the ones who step up big time this spring. He’s hungry to make plays and it showed on the field all afternoon.
Holloman and Landers prove worth along with rest of receiving core
Georgia’s wideouts on the black squad made a name for themselves Saturday afternoon. Jeremiah Holloman and Matt Landers physically stood out during the game. It’s clear to see that both have worked on their bodies this offseason along with their game. Holloman had three catches for 59 yards. Landers had two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown grab looked similar to a Javon Wims catch as the 6-5 wideout just went up and grabbed the ball. Both should prove to be mismatches for opponents this upcoming season. Landers still needs some weight on him, but he’s coming along and needs to stay consistent. Holloman might be one of might break out players this season, if he can stay healthy, I expect him to have quite a few touches.
Crumpton led both teams with five catches for 60 yards. I don’t think he dropped a pass all game and showed just how far he’d comes since last season. He made a name for himself on Saturday and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of him.
Right Side of Offensive Line Proved to be Weak Link
Something that didn’t sit right with me was how the right side of the offensive line performed. Solomon Kindley and Ben Cleveland rotated at the right guard position while Isaiah Wilson stayed at right tackle. Kindley struggled more than Cleveland did, but neither impressed me. Wilson needs to continue to work hard and get that footwork just right. Now they had great moments, but it was more bad than good. Wilson’s a huge human being, not many people should be able to push him back and quite a few d-line guys got that push. If he can work on his execution he will be just fine, but the right side of the offensive line needs to work together and get as close as the left side is.
Walk-on Running back outperforms Scholarship backs
I know the emphasis on Saturday wasn’t to run the ball, but Prather Hudson put on a show Saturday afternoon. He rushed nine times for 40 yards and a touchdown and had five catches for 35 yards. Hudson was all over the place Saturday and outdid Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien.
Herrien led the red team in catches with four for 44 yards. He rushed the ball five times for 34 yards with a long run of 14. Herrien got loose a few times and stiff-armed Nate McBride which made the linebacker look weak. Holyfield had five carries for 23 yards and caught the ball three times for 14 yards. He dropped the ball twice late in the game that could have helped the red team take over the game. Hudson seemed like he could do as he pleased, granted he played against the second and third string defense, but he showed so much confidence. As for the other two, a strong camp is great, but if they struggle to break a run against Georgia’s defense, I don’t know how confident I am with them against another good front seven.
Secondary Depth Continues to be Major Concern outside the Ones
Outside of the starting secondary, Georgia doesn’t have a whole lot of personnel. The red team struggled all day against Fields and his receivers. Ameer Speed, Eric Stokes, and Tray Bishop all showed promise and did well in some coverages. However, the level of talent from the first string to the second and third string is a drastic change. Many times the black team wideouts got opened far too easy, and couldn’t handle big wideouts like Holloman and Landers. This position was a concern for Smart and now I see why. Fields had a hay day against this group, but I felt like the group got some valuable time. With more experience and continued reps, these three guys could contribute this season.
Yes, I put Justin Fields in the ugly category, but I have a good reason. Fields made exceptional plays and great throws. He showed just how much of an athlete he is, however he did make some mistakes. The throw across the field to Hudson wasn’t the best decision made by the quarterback. If any of the defense stepped up it would have been gone for a pick-six. He made good checks down the field but also forced the ball into his first choice more than once. Fields stares down receivers now, but he’s still young. I expect him to continue to develop and fix these minor quirks. Georgia fans got to see just how talented he is, but it wasn’t a good enough performance to take over Fromm’s job.