Georgia returned to Sanford Stadium for their seventh spring practice on Monday, working out for more than two hours in full pads.
“We had a little better practice today than we had the last couple of days,” head coach Kirby Smart said afterward. “It was a physical day coming off what was really three days off. I thought they got after it a little bit today and showed a little bit of toughness, which is good. We got to go in the Stadium, which always brings a little bit more energy for us. I was excited about that. There are still way too many errors, too many mental mistakes. We’ve stopped installing so there shouldn’t be an overload of information, but we’ve got to try to stop and review it and get the young players – which the predominant amount of our team is young players – we’ve got to get those guys where they can play winning football. But they’re trying. They’re pushing out there.”
Smart announced that sophomore defensive end Michael Barnett will likely be out the remainder of the spring after suffering a slight knee injury last week. Barnett, a 6-4, 278-pound native of Dorchester, South Carolina, played in seven games as a true freshman last season and recorded five tackles.
“The last practice over at Club Sports, which would have been last Thursday, he had a little bit of an MCL,” Smart said. “He’s probably going to be out for spring. It’s non-surgical right now. I was really upset at that because we really pride ourselves on staying up and not going to the ground. The kid was playing really good. I didn’t even know him last year because I didn’t really recruit him. I didn’t know a lot about Michael but was really impressed with where he was after five practices. In that practice, he went down, and he will probably be out for all of the spring. That’s tough. We have depth issues at that position, obviously. We’ve got some guys coming in who we think can help us, but it’s made it really hard to practice the way I like to practice.”
Smart said he is pleased with the buzz surrounding the Bulldogs’ push to have 93,000 fans at the annual G-Day game on April 16.
“I’m excited about the energy that 93,000 would bring to recruiting,” Smart said. “There’s a lot of kids that I talk to each night that are talking about that day and saying ‘Coach, we want to see that stadium full.’ and ‘It’s going to help in recruiting.’ Other kids are talking to each other so they’re talking about it, which is what you want to generate. It makes it easy to go recruit when you’re an assistant coach and you walk into a school and you’re just finished spring ball and you had 93,000 at your game. That speaks volumes.”
The Bulldogs were originally scheduled to practice again on Thursday but moved that session up to Wednesday due to the forecast of bad weather conditions the following day.
Georgia’s spring drills will culminate with the G-Day intrasquad game on Saturday, April 16 at 4 p.m. That contest will be televised nationally on ESPNU, with Dave Neal calling the play-by-play, former Georgia All-American and Academic All-American Matt Stinchcomb serving as color analyst and Shannon Spake handling the role as sideline reporter.