Georgia held one last practice on Saturday as the team finalizes preparations for the National Championship game. Despite playing on the biggest stage in 37 years, Georgia looked like it does every week, focused. After traveling to Atlanta yesterday, Kirby Smart brought the team back to Athens to practice in UGA’s Indoor Athletic Facility. After a 15 minute viewing period, here are my takeaways from the National Championship practice.
Defense Continues Fundamental Work For High Power Bama Offense
The Bulldogs defense stuck to its usual routine on Saturday as the team preps for Alabama’s offense. Mel Tucker had his defensive backs working through footwork drills and a catching drill. The drill was fast paced which included balls being thrown at them in close range. It seemed like some of the players were tired to Tucker and he told them, “Oh, it’s going to be one of those days? Well, we haven’t even started yet!” He also told them to, “run through the ball and to get your head around tighter.” Tucker didn’t allow complacency and kept the intensity high.
Georgia’s linebackers worked on a speed drill and the inside linebackers worked some with the chute. Despite Kevin Sherrer leaving after this game to become Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, he coached the group up like he wasn’t going anywhere. He took the time to go through the drill with Walter Grant who appears raw. Sherrer coached him up and helped him until he got the drill.
Tray Scott kept to the basics working on footwork and hand placement drills. There was a mysterious No. 9 in the mix of group and I’m not sure if its a decoy or a player just wearing another jersey number. Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand wears No. 9 and I expect that Scott had someone on the scout team wear that number to manipulate him. Trenton Thompson was present at practice, however, he was taking reps close to the back of the pack. Not sure that it means anything, but its worth noting.
Other than the above notes it was business as usual for the defense and they stuck to what they’ve done all season. Smart floated through the defense while the media was out there, but it was mostly the assistants coaching up the players. And the players seem to be more intense than usual. There wasn’t any emotions but ticked off looks on their faces. It seems this defense has something to prove and they look like they’re ready to prove it.
Offense Maintains Intensity in Prep for Monday
Georgia’s offense maintained its intensity throughout the media period on Saturday. Jim Chaney kept his guys in check not accepting anything but perfection. Jake Fromm looked cool calm and collected as the big game quickly approaches. His throws were crisp and accurate and every now and then he would let out a “WOO!” Fromm didn’t seem nervous at all and seem to be the only player making any noise. Jacob Eason made nice throws during the drill and looked sharp. However, he did throw a wild pass to Terry Godwin who made the best of it and made an awesome one-handed catch on the run.
James Coley kept his wideouts in check and ran them through a ball protection drill along with the snatch drill. Javon Wims and Godwin both made excellent grabs. Ahkil Crumpton made a couple impressive catches and Matt Landers wore No. 1 this week. Alabama wideout Robert Foster wears No. 1 and I expect that Landers it suppose to mimic him in practice.
Charlie Woerner wasn’t at practice today, but the Bulldogs returned Jayson Stanely. Shane Beamer had the tight ends work on blocking schemes and who to pick up after the initial block is made. Dell McGee’s running backs worked on some agility drills and ball protection. The offensive line worked in position groups and then worked on double teams and various blocking drills.
New and Old Faces Join Bulldogs on Saturday
Georgia added a few new faces to practice along with one old face. Justin Fields, Cade Mays and Divaad Wilson, who all enrolled early, joined the Bulldogs for practice. Another face I saw was Isaiah Mckenzie, who helped out with the wideouts. He talked with the guys on the sideline and had that smile on his face.
Fields, the only early enrollee without a jersey number on, wore an athletic t-shirt and shorts. He talked a lot with Chaney, who seemed to be explaining the drills. I didn’t see a cast or anything on his hand, but not sure what his status is. He spoke with Fromm and Eason and they all smiled and seemed to be getting along just fine.
Mays, who wore No. 11, dressed out but only held dummies during the drill. Sam Pittman spoke to him and explained some stuff, but he didn’t get to participate much in the drills. The kids is huge and looked like another Ben Cleveland out there.
Wilson mixed in well with the defensive backs. He wore No. 16 and went through the exact same drills as the rest of the position group. Despite just arriving the standards seem to be just as high as the veterans as Tucker gave him a few words. Tucker blurted out, “Don’t make me send you home on your first day!” This came after Wilson appeared to run the wrong way in a drill.
Despite the noise around new faces and this week, the team maintained its usual intensity. Prior to the media period, senior leader Sony Michel led the team in a discussion. As he spoke the entire team appeared to be engulfed in what he was talking about. I’m not sure what was said, but the team seemed to be inspired by it because they all jumped up and seemed excited about practice.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) January 6, 2018
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