As G-Day, 2017, draws closer, the Georgia Bulldogs are in their next-to-last week of spring practice, as both the team and coaching staff anticipate UGA’s April 22 scrimmage between the Red and Black teams in Sanford Stadium.
And it seemed to be a spirited bunch of Dawgs who whipped through Tuesday afternoon’s session at the Butts-Mehre complex practice fields.
First of all, if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to view Georgia’s mammoth new indoor practice facility, it gives the Bulldogs’ practice venue a completely different appearance. With the $30 million building running from the back of the Butts-Mehre building to the end of the practice fields adjacent to Stegeman Coliseum, there is only a small practice area sandwiched between the indoor arena and the adjacent UGA track complex. And that area is being used strictly by the Bulldog place-kickers and punters; at least that was the case in the short time period the media got to view practice on Tuesday.
It was down on the lower, two-regulation size fields where all the Georgia offensive and defensive players were going through their group drills in the early portion of the workouts, under the watchful eyes (and screaming voices) of their respective position coaches.
Being this writer’s first trip to practice this spring, I immediately gravitated toward the Georgia quarterbacks.
After going through handoff drills with the Bulldog running backs, the QBs trotted back up the field – the one closest to Lumpkin Street – and joined the receiving corps for the throwing and catching repetitions.
First off, rising sophomore Jacob Eason and early enrollee freshman Jake Fromm would take the direct snap from the ‘gun, quickly roll to their right and zip the ball to the Georgia wideouts, who had run quick outs to the sideline … maybe 15, 20 yards down the field. Both quarterbacks put the football where they needed to but from what I saw, the incumbent Eason was a little sharper of the two, his passes finding the receiver’s hands just as the intended target made his quick turn to the sideline. But Fromm, the highly-touted new guy from Houston County in Warner Robins, also was dead-on-the-money with a number of his throws as well.
Minutes later, the Georgia QBs switched to the deep passing drills. Again, both Eason and Fromm looked sharp, for the most part, airing out the deep ball … as you would expect they might, when there’s no defensive pass rush in their face and there’s no cat-quick DB’s hounding the intended receivers every step of their way.
As for the receiving corps, I was particularly impressed with early freshman enrollee Jeremiah Hollomon. On one Fromm pass to the sidelines, just feet away from where I was standing, the 6-2, 195-pound Hollomon, out of Covington, made a fine, leaping grab just as he turned to the sideline chalk. Got to think this guy is going to be an immediate contributor to the Dawgs’ passing game this season. Rising 6-4 senior Javon Wims and the much-talked about Mecole Hardman, the sophomore defensive back who has worked exclusively with the receivers in recent drills, also showed quickness and good hands pulling in Eason’s and Fromm’s aerials … though Hardman did let one good throw slip through his hands. Likewise, rising sophomore Riley Ridley was back in gear Tuesday, making several good catches while wearing a black, no-contact jersey.
The Bulldogs, following today’s session, return to the practice fields Thursday afternoon to tune up for their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday down at the stadium.
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