Georgia pushed through the heat for practice 20 of fall camp on Tuesday afternoon. The media got to see periods four and five, where both sides of the ball worked on fundamentals. The Bulldogs also had multiple guests watching practice. NFL scouts, an ESPN host, and a comedian looked on while the Bulldogs “attacked the day.” I got to look at a little of both sides of the ball and here are my takeaways from each.
First up, I looked at the quarterbacks during the fifth period where they worked on their footwork. The unit participated in two drills which forced the quarterbacks not to cross their feet. The first drill, the quarterbacks stood in a straight line, and the one who ran the drill moved forward and backward getting distracted by the others. Then once every QB went through that exercise a few times, Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney put four pads out there for them to maneuver through. All the quarterbacks seemed to complete this task with ease for the most part, but senior Brice Ramsey did trip a few times.
The stand out on day 20 had to be Jacob Eason. He just towers over the other guys. I mean the roster says he’s 6-5, and he is every bit of it, if not taller. Every pass or drill he ran the more I thought wow! He’s huge, which seems to magnify his mistakes or when he does something well simply because you cannot miss him on the practice field. On Tuesday, Eason was impressive. Fromm looked good today, too. He ran the drills with ease and seemed to be more settled in than at the beginning of camp.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
I didn’t get to watch this group long on Tuesday, but the little I saw it seemed Coach James Coley’s focus on the day was fundamentals. He took the group and split them up into lines with one holding the bag and the other blocking it. Coley coached the youngsters, Mark Webb Jr. and Matt Landers how to stick properly. After they ran the drills a few times, he praised them and moved on to the next task.
The tight end group practiced their blocks as well, and each one is looking better than they did back in the first part of camp. Isaac Nauta and Jeb Blazevich stood out the most. Each squared up and made sure they ‘stuck it’ to the bag. They both seemed a lot more flexible in the hips and had a better grasp of the technique the coaches wanted them to use.
The big ‘ole Bulldogs are always a fun group to watch and today proved to be a great learning experience. The unit practiced an exercise that Greg Poole called the combo block drill. The drill worked on the double team situation with a guard and tackle. An assistant would hike the ball, and the guard and tackle would take on the defensive linemen. If the guard had the defender handled, then the tackle would swing and pick up the linebacker that would come from the corner. Isaiah Wilson and Kendall Baker took a rep then D’Marcus Hayes, and Dyshon Sims would follow.
As for the line as a whole, the first team looked to be Isaiah Wynn (left tackle), Pat Allen (left guard), Lamont Gaillard (center) Solomon Kindley (right guard) and Andrew Thomas (right tackle). This No. 1 o-line grouping remained unchanged since last week’s practices. Wilson moved up to the two’s today, well… while we were there, and he practiced at left tackle, whereas he’s been at left guard the last few practices. With the move to tackle, Sims moved to the left guard position.
Finally, I got to watch the running backs on offense. Nick Chubb, of course, was the first string tailback, Sony took most of the second team reps; however, Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift shared reps at No. 3. Brian Herrien suffered a minor ankle injury during Saturday’s second scrimmage, which moved him down the lineup some. But the sophomore seemed none the worse for wear as he practiced with the other backs with out any apparent problems. The backs ran through some blocking drills while the media watched. Another drill they ran was the flair pass, where the back would catch a ball just past the line of scrimmage. Coach Dell McGee had another tailback shadow the one catching the ball to simulate the back having to beat a defending linebacker in a real life game situation.
The defense ran through a lot of fundamental drills while the media watched. Coach Trey Scott had the defensive line on the tackling machine along with footwork drills. Malik Herring seemed to improve on the drills as did Jonathan Ledbetter. Trenton Thompson looked like a monster and showed off his leadership skills by pushing the other guys. During the fourth period, head coach Kirby Smart yelled at them about the drills and how they would benefit them in real life. Smart’s presences pumped the defensive line up, and they pushed hard the rest of the time I watched.
The linebackers did a reach drill where the outside linebacker tried to drive another with a single arm. As for the inside linebackers, they worked on a tackling drill. Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy showed their leadership capabilities by executing the drill to coach Kevin Sherrer’s expectation.
Lastly, the secondary worked on interception drills and even brought out the sled again. Coach Mel Tucker fired up his unit and made them do a drill till each one perfected it to his satisfaction. The starters for the secondary seemed to line up as Richard LeCounte at the safety position and then Aaron Davis at corner with Malkom Parrish still out with the broken bone in his foot. Dominick Sanders was at the other safety spot while Deandre Baker was across from Davis at cornerback and J.R. Reed in the star spot.
Bits and Pieces:
As I mentioned early, Georgia had some special guests at practice. NFL Scouts from the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, and Houston Texans watched the defense. The linebacker group received the most attention from the scouts. Another notable face at practice was comedian Jeff Foxworthy. He stayed close to the secondary unit and wore a black UGA polo. David Pollack made another appearance, marking the second practice the former DE has attended in just a few weeks. Lastly, Mike Tirico, a broadcaster for NBC, attended practice.
Georgia had plenty of observers during practice on Tuesday. Despite the heat, Smart pushed his team to the limit. Each unit looked focused and improved in the fundamental drills they did. 20 days into fall camp, and with only ten days till kickoff, the team looks improved and strong. I’m excited to see what this season holds and how the rest of fall camp plays out.
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