In the Bulldogs first practice in preparation for the Vanderbilt Commodores, the practice field was truly intense as it seemed everyone was going at full-speed on Monday afternoon.
Practice began with Sony Michel hyping everyone up and basically yelling for a great practice. This is outstanding to see from the senior running back because it shows how much players are starting to step up and become leaders on this team.
Then the team began to work on ball protection drills and this drill was not taken lightly as players were working hard to rip the ball loose from whoever they were working with at the time. Terry Godwin had to try to keep possession of the ball with John Atkins and Daquan Hawkins-Muckle ripping so hard at the ball that it knocked him to the ground.
Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm also took part in this drill and it was encouraging to see because it showed that Eason had trust in his knee. Also, Fromm will need to make sure he can keep the ball secure if he plans on running as much as he did this past weekend. After this drill, players were urged to get in their position groups and they were urged to run not walk as they were doing this.
Kirby Smart worked with the wide receivers today and he was throwing bullets at his guys and imploring them not to drop the pass. Whenever a pass was dropped Smart would basically yell out not at a player in particular but it was more of a yell of disappointment in the drop.
Mecole Hardman received some coaching up during this drill from not only coach Smart, but also Terry Godwin and although they seemed to be getting on to him, it seemed more that they were issuing a challenge to Hardman because they know how good of a player he is. Godwin stepping up in this spot is yet another example of how leaders are growing from within this team.
On the defensive side of the ball, coach Tray Scott worked with his defensive line on their strike again, which Smart had mentioned was key to their defensive success in his press conference. Trenton Thompson was missing from this group, which is not a surprise as he is nursing a sprained MCL.
Also missing from the defensive side of the ball was Reggie Carter, who Smart said would be day-to-day for the rest of this week. Carter’s availability will be something to watch as the week carries on into Saturday. Netori Johnson was also not practicing normally and spent some time on a bike as the rest of the team carried on practice. But Davin Bellamy was at practice with a club on his injured left hand and wrist, which did not seem to slow him down or affect him in the least.
It was also interesting to see that the Bulldogs had a surprise guest in former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops.
Overall, practice was very intense and I believe that this shows that this team is not buying into their own hype, but they are buying into coach Smart’s mentality of not taking any opponent lightly and that “humility is only a week away.” As they like to say, they are just going to “keep chopping wood.”
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