The Georgia Bulldogs were on the practice field for the first time this fall, as they began fall training Thursday afternoon.
The first day was hot, with players only having helmets to start with. Head coach Kirby Smart was in fine form midway through the season, however, barking at players who seemed to adapt to the heat and intensity.
Here are some observations made during the 15 minutes of media viewing given to the workout:
- The first-team offensive line was a bit of a surprise, as Devin Willock got the go-ahead at left guard and Tate Ratledge at right guard. Broderick Jones was at left tackle, Warren McClendon at right tackle and Sedrick Van Pran in the middle. Ratledge’s status will be worth watching throughout camp, as Smart said during his Thursday press conference: “He’s been working really hard on his conditioning,” Smart said. “Ron feels like he’s in a position where what we did in summer training would have been more difficult for him after his injury than actual football training. So the training piece football should relieve some of that. Now the tension and effort to fend off and overtake teams, as we put pads on, may increase that. But he’s well placed.”
- The team’s second offensive line went left to right: rookie Earnest Greene at left tackle, Xavier Truss at left guard, Warren Ericson at center, Dylan Fairchild at right guard and Amarius Mims at right tackle
- We got a glimpse of the first-team defense, but I wouldn’t read too much into that, given the rotation of the Georgia defence: Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, Zion Logue and Jalen Carter on the defensive line, Nolan Smith and Robert Beal outside. linebacker, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Trezmen Marshall at inside linebacker. The defensive backfield had Kelee Ringo and Kamari Lassiter at corner, Javon Bullard at star and Chris Smith and Dan Jackson at safety.
- The first three wide receivers of the drills were AD Mitchell, Ladd McConkey and Kearis Jackson working out of the slot. Mitchell looked significantly bigger than a season ago.
- Fran Brown worked exclusively with cornerbacks, while Will Muschamp worked with safties and stars. Malaki Starks, despite the athlete designation, worked exclusively with safeties during training.
- Three Bulldogs wore contactless jerseys. Tight end Brett Seither, wide receiver Mekhi Mews and defensive tackle Christen Miller donned the non-contact black jerseys. Miller injured his knee late in his high school career, while Mews injured his labrum. Seither’s injury is unknown.
- As for the quarterbacks, the four scholarship players rotated throughout practice and threw a number of passes. Of the through passes, Stetson Bennett easily had the best ball in the bunch. Carson Beck was working as a second-string quarterback to start.
- It was our first chance to see some summer registrants in training, with Branson Robinson, Andrew Paul, Cole Speer, Dillon Bell, Drew Bobo, Miller, Marvin Jones Jr., Darris Smith, Jaheim Singletary, Julian Humphrey, Markus Washington. Washington has not been seen working with cornerbacks. Among the physical sightings, Paul and Robinson aren’t drastically different in terms of height, while Smith’s length really stands out.
- As always, Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert are simply unbelievably great. What they’re able to do with their athleticism is very impressive: “He’s really well placed,” Smart said of Washington. “You know, he’s a guy I came to on Sunday, and he’s over there racing by himself on a day off. He’s got a purpose. He’s training to be driven. And excited to see , you know, what he can do. It will be important that we get him in good physical shape to be ready to participate in this training camp.
The Bulldogs begin a 25-practice streak in 29 days before their opener against Oregon. While the game against the Ducks is a marquee, Smart is much more focused on how the Bulldogs train.
“I’m not even thinking about Oregon,” Smart said. “Our concern is our list. How do we build depth? I mean, we don’t even think about it. We are so far from that right now. We focus on us, our team, our connection and putting the right players in the right places.
Kirby Smart offers reflections before the start of fall camp
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