Open practice means lots of tea leaf reading.

Georgia had an open practice yesterday – really open, in that students were invited/coaxed in with free pizza – which means we’ve got some pretty detailed observations from the beat writers:

Some observations about the observations:

  • About the secondary, I think Weiszer sums it up best.  “The big takeaways from the field were the number of newcomers running with the starting unit on defense: cornerback and junior college transfer Shattle Fenteng, walk-on safety Aaron Davis and Dominick Sanders, who was working at the star nickel back position.”  Nothing is settled yet, but Pruitt sure isn’t having any problems letting everyone have a shot.
  • Richt on the secondary:  “They’ve got a good talent base; their issue is experience,” head coach Mark Richt said of the young players. “But there’s some guys that are coached real hard right now because they’ve gotta get ready, and the clock’s ticking.”  So when does the clock stop ticking?
  • Richt on the offensive line:  “I’d say we’re probably a little less settled right this minute than we have been maybe in years past,” Richt said. “There’s still some guys that might be able to change a coach’s mind.”  In a good way, or a bad way?
  • I’m not liking that Wilson and Floyd are banged up/recovering.
  • Still no separation behind Mason.
  • Estes noted that Georgia hasn’t started scout team work yet for Clemson.  Is that an indication of how much trouble the coaches are having settling on a starting 22?
  • It sounds like Quayvon Hicks is going to have a busier year than we anticipated.

Ten days ’til the opener.  Anyone getting nervous?

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “Open practice means lots of tea leaf reading.

  1. JasonC

    I hate to bash a kid, but really quite surprised that Sheldon Dawson isn’t showing up in the 2-deep. He’s a junior and was the #1 recruit out of Tenn and the #8 CB – a 4-star kid. I know recruiting rankings are not perfect, but you’d figure he would have shown more by now.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I think the kids from Tennessee struggle a little because they just don’t get to compete against kids as skilled as they would be if they played in Ga, Fla., Texas….
      Marlon Brown was highly regarded out of HS and was a large bloomer.

    • I hate to bash a kid, but really quite surprised that Sheldon Dawson isn’t showing up in the 2-deep.

      Dawson got some work in a rotation with the 1’s yesterday. At safety.

      Nothing is settled. We do kinda know who the best guys are. I knew it would be this way, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Pruitt is maxing out the reps, gathering every bit of information possible.
      ~~~

      • Nothing is settled. We do kinda know who the best guys are.

        We do? (Asked in a completely non-snarky way.)

        The way I feel right now is that Pruitt could trot out four kids with Swann against Clemson and whatever four he chose wouldn’t surprise me. I’m sure the picture will start clearing in the next week, but has there been the same first-team group in the secondary from practice to practice yet?

        • We do?

          Yeah, I think so. Kinda. Swann, Shattle, Davis, Sanders, Rico. Then, JJ, Parrish, Dawson, Mauger, and apparently Moore is coming around. I’d say Swann and Davis are probable starters, but that’s it. Maybe Shattle, because of experience, but that’s less certain.

          I do think those first five will all play. I don’t see how you can keep Rico and Sanders off the field. Moore may start because of experience, and it would be understandable. But I don’t know that he hasn’t been transformed by Pruitt, either. It would be a surprise to me, but maybe he is one of our two best safeties. Take away experience, though, and that’s hard to believe. I’m still seeing Moore playing a role in the box at the hybrid Money position in certain Nickel situations, more than Safety. But it may not start out that way.

          Whatever Pruitt decides is best for the secondary, however he handles it, is fine with me. There’s no reason whatsoever not to trust him. The thing is, I’m not sure three freshmen have ever started a big opener in the secondary for ranked team. Regardless, it’s a scary thing. That’s what makes it fascinating, because the way this guy has been acting, you wouldn’t put it past him.

          I do think it’s a bit unrealistic not to expect some secondary mistakes, maybe costly ones. And we should be able to absorb those. I remember saying that last year. But this time, it won’t be because they didn’t have good coaching. And if they happen, they won’t continue the whole season.

          has there been the same first-team group in the secondary from practice to practice yet?

          Maybe a couple of times. But it’s clear it’s still a whirlwind shuffle, with everybody getting lots of reps. The way it’s going, I’m not sure how clear the picture will be this time next week. IMO, we won’t know where things really stand in the secondary until the Clemson game is over.
          ~~~

  2. sectionzalum

    wow:
    “- Senior defensive end Ray Drew is on scout team.”

    • gatorhater27

      I thought the same thing. WTF? He had a pretty good showing last season, so I am rather baffled as to what he has done to fall out of favor with the new coaching staff.

      • sectionzalum

        Drew’s attitude certainly seems to have been buoyant, so maybe it’s just Pruitt the motivator on display.

    • Russ

      Hope Ray has a good year. He’s a good kid. But if he’s not ready, he’s not ready. I still expect him to make an impact at some point in the season.

    • simpl_matter

      My optimistic guess is Ray’s fine (and he’s probably our best DE), they are just trying to keep him hungry and get DeLouch and others ready to play significant snaps. We’ll see who trots out for the opening series against Clemson, my guess is Drew will be out there.

      • D

        To this last point, and just as devil’s advocate, doesn’t Clemson have a sick d-line? If Drew is standing in on the scout team to replicate their squad, this could be seen as a good thing.

  3. 81Dog

    I was nervous in May. of course, I grew up listening to Larry and Coach Dooley. It’s in my Bulldog DNA.

  4. hassan

    Very nervous that they haven’t started scout team work on Clemson yet. WTH ?!? Game is very soon…

  5. I am extremely worried that the O-line has not been set. At this point you have to believe the coaches are begging someone, anyone, to step up. There is simply no possible way that Houston is our best option at RT. As other have mentioned above, Ray Drew with the scout team is odd. I was told prior to last season that football is not Drew’s primary focus, preaching and singing take the top spot. I thought last season was a breakout year for him and hoped he would continue to excell. Guess Pruitt is demanding more than he is willing to give. With a below average O-line and an inexperienced secondary this could be a rough year for the Dawgs.

    • I am extremely worried that the O-line has not been set. At this point you have to believe the coaches are begging someone, anyone, to step up.

      I don’t understand it, either. I mean, I think we KNOW who the five are going to be – the usual suspects. Why they don’t just settle it, IDK. Hope they have some good purpose. They do seem to be getting most of the work.

      They know what Beard can do and Wynn is not going to overtake Kublanow for the first game. And they can’t be waiting on Dantzler, because that isn’t going to happen. If we have to play Dantzler at RT, we’re in big trouble.

      So IDK, we’ve got Theus, Kublanow, Boss, Pyke, Houston. Behind Theus is Beard. Behind Kublanow is Wynn. Behind Houston is Dantzler. I don’t get what all the mystery is about.
      ~~~

      • Just a guess based on last seasons performance, but it has to be Houston. How that kid is even in the mix is beyond me. To often he look slow, lost and completely out of place. Theus has proven to be a disappointment as well. He had flashes of greatness followed by 4 flashes of awfulness. What I read from the tea leaves is that this current group of O-linemen are not up to par and the staff is waiting, ney, praying, that someone (multiple someones if we dare dream) steps up and proves to be a winner. However, at this point you have to dance with the one who brung ya. Which is why I am worried about this position group. Hopefully I am dead wrong!

        • … it has to be Houston. How that kid is even in the mix is beyond me. To often he look slow, lost and completely out of place. Theus has proven to be a disappointment as well.

          I agree Theus has been disappointing to this point. But I’m not sure we know for certain about Houston. He never had a chance to get in great shape last year, nor was he as strong as he might have been had he known he was going to play.

          Where he is now in that regard, IDK. No idea what kind of offseason he had. We’ll just have to wait and see him play. That holds for all them, really. Theus, too (though I’m not expecting much), he may surprise us. We’ll know a lot about this OL after they play Clemson.
          ~~~

  6. PansyTheDawg

    “Estes noted that Georgia hasn’t started scout team work yet for Clemson. Is that an indication of how much trouble the coaches are having settling on a starting 22?”

    I wonder if it could be a reflection of an overall philosophy change from the coaches. I remember a quote from Richt this summer saying how you can’t win with a scheme. Perhaps, that’s what’s happening here: the coaches are making sure we do what we do damn well and then practice doing it to our opponent a little later.

  7. Macallanlover

    I prefer to think that others stepped past Ray Drew, not that he backed off. I have a real strong feeling about this defensive front 7, and if I am right we won’t get as exposed in the secondary as we had feared with all the changes in personnel.

    Not sure the lack of separation at back-up QB is a bad thing yet, like to have those guys battling like their job depends on it. Plenty of time during the season next month to see what shakes out. Troy will likely be the first time they get any meaningful snaps under the bright lights, one of them will emerge before late in the season. Let’s just hope we don’t need them before then.

    • Moe Pritchett

      I’m drinkin the same Kool Aid. Pruitt’s motivational tactics, to me anyway, seem to be a reverse psychology of a sort. I believe this front 7 is talented and deeper than we realize. The secondary has some “leash” now as it were; not like a cowling yard dog, but now may be more liek growling Junkyard Dawgs ( like what I did?) I think this defense could be very special indeed…..at the worst, much improved from last years pitiful attempt.

    • uglydawg

      Mac, as usual, you’ve described the silver lining!

      • Macallanlover

        Nothing wrong with a little balance because we see plenty of the negative takes. FWIW, I am stuck between 9-3 and 10-2 for this team with an upside and downside a game from either. Getting more optimistic b ut last year taught that Murphy’s Law is still lurking around Athens. This team could be really good but it depends on a couple of questionable units coming through as Average, or above, and the end to injuries at unfortunate times. Might as well enjoy the optimism of August, we are owed a few good breaks.

  8. Cojones

    I wasn’t nervous. Now I am. Could it be that the scrimmage with the scout team only helps the scout team at this point? Or that we can ill afford injuries at certain positions?

    Plenty of time left to scrimmage. It only makes sense to Richt and Co. They know what they are doing with the people they have.

    Are you serving us raw meat this early, Senator?

    • Ten days doesn’t seem that early to me.

    • Slaw Dawg

      You weren’t nervous???? I thought you were one of us older guys, trained to be Nervous Nellies 24/7 and down to our mitochondria by Larry and Vince. Since I start out nervous, I’m now reaching for the Pepto Bismol while gasping “Inexperienced secondary!” “No O-Line!!”; “Not preparing for Clemson!!!” “AARGH!!!!”

  9. I Wanna Red cup

    I am concerned about our OL in first game and our D line in second. For some reason I feel ok about our DBs. I think we are going to get a ST TD in one of first two games also

  10. I posted this a few months ago about Ray Drew, but check out his game stats from last year:

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/player/257/1039522/tackleforloss/gamelog.html

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/player/257/1039522/tackle/gamelog.html

    His tackles for loss (which include sacks) essentially disappeared after the middle of the year. Take away the App St game, which was far inferior competition, and he had zero tackles for loss after the Mizzou game. On the second link, note that his solo tackles went down a good bit in the 2nd half of the season too.

    Long story short, Drew really didn’t have as good a season last year as people think they remember. Even the games where he got sacks, he wasn’t consistently pressuring the QB, he just made it count on the few times he did get through the OL. But in the second half of the season, he wasn’t getting any penetration at all. I don’t know if that ejection against Vandy threw him off mentally, or if the 2nd half of the season was just a regression to the mean of what we should really expect from him.

    Please note I’m not trying to bash the guy, and I’d love for him to have a huge season. I’m just saying that despite what appear to be good stats from last year, when you look a little deeper, it’s not shocking that he isn’t one of the top performers in camp.

    • Skeptic Dawg

      I mentioned this above, but given your post it is worth noting again. I have been told that football is not Drew’s first priority. He appeared to step up last season, but as your stats show, it may not have been the breakout season we initially thought. Drew may be like many players across the country…Arrives with a bang only to go out with a thud. I hope that he sees the light and has a monster season.

  11. PTC DAWG

    Aaron Davis is a great story..for anyone who isn’t up to date on it, you should look into the kid. He’s not a normal walk-on.

  12. Mayor

    Georgia’s chances in the SEC East turn on 2 games, IMHO. First, the Dawgs need to get past South Carolina. Second, the Dawgs need to beat Mizzou. UGA can still win the East even if the team loses to South Carolina (hell, they have proven that twice before). But the schedule favors Missouri. If the Dawgs lose to Mizzou, Missouri would have to lose 2 conference games and that probably won’t happen. If Georgia were to lose to both South Carolina and Missouri, likely no trip to Atlanta as the Dicks…er…Cocks and the Tigers would both have to lose 3 SEC games for Georgia to win the East and that ain’t happening. Then, of course, there is always Auburn…………

    • sUGArdaddy

      The schedule favors Mizzou? Have you seen their schedule? We’re the only ones they play at home. They play @ South Carolina, Florida, UT, and TAMU. Mizzou is in for an 8-4, maybe 7-5 season.

      • Mayor

        Really? The “home field advantage” didn’t seem to bother Missouri much in Athens last year. I hope you’re right. The teams they play from the other side are aTm and Arky, and neither are going to be tough this year. FU is coming off a 4-8 season. UT hasn’t had a winning season in years. Vandy or Kentucky? I don’t see Mizzou losing to either of them. The only teams capable of beating Mizzou on the Tigers’ SEC schedule are Georgia and South Carolina, IMHO, no matter where the games are played. Missouri is coming off a 2013 season where the Tigers won the SEC East and nobody predicted that either. If I were a betting man (and I am) I would bet that the most likely outcome this season for Mizzou is a 6-2 SEC record with losses to UGA and USCe. The game in Columbia, MO scares me because if the Dawgs lose that one Mizzou likely finishes 7-1 and the Dawgs get locked out even if Georgia wins all the rest of their SEC games. The only hope in that situation would be a round-robin tie and possibly winning a tiebreaker. The Dawgs HAVE to beat Mizzou to win the East, IMHO.

        • The Dawgs HAVE to beat Mizzou to win the East, IMHO.

          And IMHO, South Carolina. This doesn’t look like the year to depend on SC losing at least twice. Maybe they will, but this year feels different. Spurrier has maybe his best team.

          Not only that, I hate having to dig ourselves out of a deep hole, to spend to the whole season trying to do that. It absolutely sucks. We have to beat South Carolina, IMO. That is key for us. Because no matter how good we may become, we could still lose to Florida or Auburn.

          Just don’t think we can afford the loss to SC this year.
          ~~~

    • AthensHomerDawg

      SOS has never beaten Auburn while HC @uSC.

  13. dawg

    I haven’t heard a word about Malcolm Mitchell since his latest injury until Hutson Mason’s interview yesterday. He alluded to the fact that we will be without JSW and Malcolm to start the season. I think maybe he slipped up there by saying that. I was hoping that MM might be ready for Clempson, but obviously Hutson doesn’t think so. Anyone have any insight on MMs status? I have read that you can recover from a “scoped” knee in 4 weeks. I mean if he’s questionable, I think we should hold him out until the SC game, but I just haven’t heard anything and wondering if I missed something.

  14. Will Trane

    Thud practice…no lights on…as the field darkened as the afternoon turned to darkness.
    Well, is that a harbinger of the coming season.
    2 picks by Sanders on Mason. So much with working with House. Not sure if I am or I am not encouraged by that. How many deep balls did they give up last year. And how many picks did Murray have last year. But Murray ain’t playing this season…Mason is…3 seasons and a new QB.
    I would have thought one of those guys would have asked Bobo how long into the season will it take for him to come to the sidelines.

  15. W Cobb Dawg

    Per the OL: ““I’d say we’re probably a little less settled right this minute than we have been maybe in years past,” Richt said.”

    Not good. With new coaches, I think the D and STs improve significantly this year. But the perpetual OL problems continue. And unless we have a huge year recruiting OLs, next year will be more of the same.

    • But the perpetual OL problems continue. And unless we have a huge year recruiting OLs, next year will be more of the same.

      Wynn can play, we already know that. He’s probably our starting center next year. We have a LT committed (Pat Allen). Seymour could be an answer at RT. There’s the 3 key positions.

      It’s been slow, but it’s beginning to come, if we can just keep raising the bar and stay away from too many projects.
      ~~~