April 16, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Like many of you, I’m excited to see what the first impression of the Georgia 2021 football team will look like on Saturday.
I do think we’ll get more of a glimpse, than an actual look at this team. There are still players coming through either transfer or finishing up high school to join them for summer workouts and fall camp. It will be exciting to see this group in person for the first time.
- Don’t expect anything earth-shattering on offense or defense: Kirby Smart is not about to give Dabo Swinney any possible advantage on tape with offensive or defensive looks. Like most coaches, Smart treats a spring game like NFL teams approach a preseason game. The plan will be rather “vanilla.” The offense will run their plays, with a couple of deep vertical passes likely sprinkled in. But for the most part, I think people will be pretty underwhelmed in terms of expecting much excitement with play calls. Defensively, they’re going to be in a “base” look the whole day. We won’t see blitzes or anything out of the ordinary. This is a chance to see who gets to the ball carrier and can make reaction plays.
- I want to see these young defensive backs: We are going to have our eyes on some very young cornerbacks, in Ameer Speed, Kelee Ringo, Nyland Green, Lovasea Carroll (converted running back) and Jalen Kimber. The safety spot is in decent shape for now, with Christopher Smith and Lewis Cine on the back end. We will get to see what Tykee Smith brings in the fall, but his position on the field is likely to be determined. Who we see on Saturday, will likely not be the only players in this position group come this fall. Rusty Mansell of com expects that UGA will likely sign a cornerback from the transfer portal. That group of players could start to become available very soon, with the news of the NCAA granting the one-time transfer to undergraduate players.
- Is Kendall Milton the real deal?: Rusty Mansell told us this week on the Chuck Oliver Show that Milton has been impressive this spring. In fact, he goes as far as to say he’s the best running back in the group right now. That’s an eye opening statement, when you factor in that Zamir White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh (out with a dislocated elbow) are still on campus. Can he become the running back this offense will need this season, in order to get the offense to a championship level? He had 35 carries for 193 yards as a true freshman. He had only one catch last season. Might we see some passes come his way on Saturday?
- How is this offensive line setting up? It should come as no surprise that position coach Matt Luke has been cross-training a lot of linemen this spring. I want to see if someone has a leg up at left tackle between Jamaree Salyer or Xavier Truss. I want to see if Warren Ericson is the man for the job at center. Where does Sedrick Van Tran fit in? I want to see if true freshman Amarius Mims has a chance to crack the starting five. What about Micah Morris?
- Who steps up off the edge defensively?: Replacing Azeez Ojulari and Jermaine Johnson is not an easy task. But, the Bulldogs have players who can step up to the task. I really want to see if Adam Anderson at the “STAR” position (for now) is a thing. What can we see on Saturday from Nolan Smith or Channing Tindall. Like I said, we won’t see any blitzes. We’re also not going to see them be able to hit the quarterback. But, who can win those one on ones with just a straight bullrush? Their goal is no doubt going to be getting the referee to blow the whistle for a “sack.” Also, I want to see if Smael Mondon can make an immediate strong first impression.
- Who steps up at receiver?: We know that Georgia is likely not going to have George Pickens (torn ACL) at receiver for most, if not all the 2021 season. We’re likely not going to see Jermaine Burton (hyperextended knee) get any game reps on Saturday. It would be nice to see Arian Smith on the field, if that sprained wrist has healed up for him. We’ve been hearing a lot about redshirt freshman Justin Robinson this spring and what he’s been able to do on the practice field. How about Demetris Robertson? We all want to see Robertson take a huge step forward in 2021. Kearis Jackson is someone who had a strong 2020 season in the beginning stages of the year. Can he become a massive weapon for the Dawgs in the passing game and on special teams? I would also like to see if tight end Darnell Washington is much improved from his true freshman season. Do we get to see Brock Bowers get some meaningful playing time?
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