Takeaways from UGA football's first full week of practice

Tony Walsh/The Red & Black

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm throws a pass during a practice at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday. The team wrapped up its first week of practice in preparation for the opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 1.

 

Georgia football finished its eight practice on Saturday, and after the team's first full week of camp , here are some takeaways and observations from the Red & Black.

Competition at every position

It sounds cliche, but when coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said there is competition in a lot of areas on Georgia’s football team, they really meant it. The Bulldogs have been rotating players at right tackle, left guard, inside linebacker and at the “STAR” position — a hybrid of a linebacker and a defensive back.

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Wilson and freshman Cade Mays have been taking reps at right tackle, while freshman Jamaree Salyer and senior Kendall Baker have been working at left guard.

Sophomore Jake Fromm has looked sharp at quarterback, but freshman Justin Fields continues to play well also.

At inside linebacker, Georgia rotates senior Natrez Patrick, sophomore Monty Rice and senior Juwan Taylor. The “STAR” position has seen the likes of sophomores William Poole and Mark Webb.

“There are not a lot of positions that are locked up on an individual right now,” Chaney said. "We have a tremendous amount of competition going on throughout our football team, which I’m tickled with.”

A few players injured

The biggest question mark from the last few days of camp has been the status of senior wide receiver Terry Godwin. Smart said before the Bulldogs started practice that Godwin has a left knee injury and will be limited. On Saturday, Godwin wasn’t at practice.

Freshman Kearis Jackson has not been participating in practice during the media viewing periods and sophomore Nate McBride was riding a stationary bike on Saturday, as well.

Freshman Divaad Wilson is still recovering from an ACL injury, so he is not practicing. However, he has suited up the last few days of practice and appears to be running well.

More consistency wanted from experienced players

When Smart met with the media on Aug. 7, he mentioned some players who had previous game experience weren’t performing well, and were often being outplayed by players who were on the second and third strings the year before.

He didn’t use the word “complacent” but he noted it as something that needed to be fixed quickly.

“That’s one of the scariest things that could happen to our football team,” Smart said of the situation. “Sometimes you get a casual nature about you if you think you know everything, or you think you kind of understand everything. So, we’ve had to have some talks about that with some guys.”

On the flip side, there have been “flashes” from players that show they know what to do and can perform well. Smart just wants those flashes consistently.

On Saturday, he said some of the more experienced players stepped up in the scrimmage. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization, based in Athens, Georgia. For more UGA sports news, visit www.redandblack.com/sports.

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