Observations from the shade, practice edition

I’m not going to delve too deeply into what I saw Saturday afternoon, because it was just a practice, but there were a few things that caught my eye.

  • First off, jeez, it was hot.  I sat in the 200 section, in the shade, and it still felt like a furnace.  My hat’s off to those hardy souls who braved sitting in the sun.  I don’t know how you people didn’t melt.  (And that includes the players and coaches.)
  • The new turf’s got a little ways to go before it looks lush.  The hedges were looking fine, though.
  • Overall, the practice was run efficiently, with plenty going on.  Even when the offense and defense were broken down into 7-on-7 groups, the linemen were organized on the sidelines, working.  Coaches were supplemented with plenty of support staffers.
  • Kirby Smart is a hands-on kind of coach.  He was heavily involved with the defense, all over the field.  He can definitely chew some ass, and did, often.
  • In case you’re wondering, yes, they do work on trick plays in practice.  (From what I saw, they need to keep on working on a couple of ’em.)
  • My favorite moment of the day was Nick Chubb clearly relishing having hands put on him.  They weren’t allowed to tackle to the ground, but there was one play where he was sort of wrapped up, but pulled himself through.  Crowd loved it.
  • By the way, the coaches weren’t kidding about Chubb being able to do what everyone else did.  But his touches were limited, compared with some other backs.
  • Speaking of other backs, Elijah Holyfield looks like he’s going to contribute some this year.  He’s a little more compact than Chubb and a little shorter than Michel, but his upper body is really put together.  His vision and foot speed are SEC-caliber.
  • The biggest surprise on offense was Tyler Simmons.  I knew he was quick, but he also looks smooth for a true freshman.  I’ve seen G-Day and Saturday’s practice, and between the two, my anxiety about the wide receiver position continues to lessen.
  • In case you need the reassurance, yeah, the tight end position is loaded.  Nauta looks like a player.  I wonder where they’re gonna find enough balls for the group.
  • Chigbu continues to impress.  He’s got the kind of size that comes in handy in the red zone and he looks more confident than he did last year.
  • The quarterbacks?  I hate to sound like the coaches, but they all had their good moments and their bad ones.  I saw all three make some beautiful throws, but most came in 7-on-7, when there wasn’t a pass rush.  When they went 11-on-11, all had their times when they struggled.  Nobody’s pulled ahead, based on what I saw.  But none of the three are out of it, either.
  • That being said, Eason has the best arm of the three.
  • If Saturday was any indication, Jim Chaney intends to get the ball in Isaiah McKenzie’s hands early and often, by whatever means necessary.
  • There is a clear drop in overall quality from the first-team offensive line to the second, which isn’t a surprise.  Catalina is big and strong, but he’s not used to the speed of SEC defensive linemen, as Thompson got past him easily a couple of times I saw with quick inside moves.  It’s early, though, and it’s clear the coaches would like to see him grab the first-team left tackle spot.
  • Roquan Smith is coming on.  He is quick on blitzes and – wonder of wonders – easily picked up and covered Blazevich on a crossing pattern well enough to prevent a pass completion.
  • Dom Sanders is ridiculously smooth. The way he baited the quarterback on his interception was almost unfair.  He is Georgia’s best defensive player.  All I can say is that if Kirby’s right that he’s just a second-team All-SEC defensive back, the conference must be loaded.
  • Trent Thompson, as I indicated before, looked unblockable.  If he stays healthy, he’s going to be a handful.
  • The other defensive back I came away being impressed by was Juwuan Briscoe, who is really good at positioning himself in space.
  • I knew Mecole Hardman was fast.  But there’s high school fast and then there’s college fast.  He’s just fast.  And athletic.  I saw him make a good move to break up a pass and the two blocks he had on special teams were stunningly quick, especially the second one.  He’s not staying off the field this year.

That’s all I got.  Anyone else there can chime in with your observations in the comments.  Assuming you survived the blast furnace, that is.

31 Comments

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31 responses to “Observations from the shade, practice edition

  1. Jeff Sanchez

    Good Lord, is it even possible to be more “compact” than the brick shithouse that is Nick Chubb?

  2. Uglydawg

    Thanks Senator, for enabling us that weren’t in attendance to
    “Get the Picture”. Hope you stayed hydrated through it all. Very interesting observations and thoughts.

  3. Jared S.

    I’d file all your comments under “Living Up to Our Lofty Hopes”…. except the bit on Catalina. Hmmmm.

    • HamDawg11

      I saw one pic of Catalina from last week’s gallery. Dude is big, but looks like he’s far from playing shape, looked pudgy and soft. Hopefully he can get there soon and be a contributor.

  4. Trent Thompson = key to SEC East championship. If he can be “unblockable” our defense becomes nasty quickly, which takes a lot of pressure off of the freshman qb (and the other two). If Thompson is nasty and Chubb is Chubb, then we could have something going.

    • MGW

      An unblockable DT can make up for a lot of other flaws in a defense in a way that no other player can. It seems much easier to game plan away from a great linebacker or player in the secondary, but when the middle of the line is blowing up regularly there’s not a lot an offense can do to avoid it.

  5. None

    Thanks for your observations, Senator. It is my hope that we talk about Mecole and that number 4 jersey he’s wearing many times during his career in Athens.

  6. Bright Idea

    Riley Ridley too.

  7. Cojones

    Cool. Thanks much for the large number of individuals observed and reported. especially bunching the TEs as an entity that we have much curiosity. We automatically group them with QB success as well since the info we have thus far keeps emphasizing that combined success expectation.

    We have a great deal to keep up with concerning the athletes on this team and this is the first drop of info for months that’s not surrounded by coach-speak. Thanks for sitting there and reporting to your readership, your writership.

  8. TMC DAWG

    You are right senator, it was hot as hell Saturday . The two best freshman I seen was Holyfield and Nauta. Holyfield has great vision and Nauta is a compete monster . I pitty a defensive back trying to tackle him.

  9. 3rdandGrantham

    A friend of mine who is an eternal optimist (before Saturday he was predicting 11-1) basically is borderline depressed right now after attending the practice. Basically he feels we have a long way to go with very few playmakers on the outside, and he feels that Eason is far from being ready. He’s now thinking 9-3 or so and feels Smart will need a few years to get things rolling.

    • paul

      Which is, of course, a whole lot more realistic don’t you think? We could easily lose four in my opinion. The question is, how unrealistic are the average fan’s expectations?

      • I’ve said 9-3 since January. The real question is whether the championship or bust crowd is going to jump off the Kirby bandwagon immediately after or just place the blame on the previous administration.

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Perhaps so. As mentioned he is always Mr sunshine pumper, so his thoughts totally took me by surprise and now have me worried.

        • Jared S.

          So, in other words, once he actually had an informed opinion his projection fell in line with all the other realists? =P

        • Cojones

          I agree with your friend. 11-1, and I can’t even name the 1. I invite you to take the teams across the board and on-at-the-time compare and contrast each team. Guarantee that you will have a better outlook for this team. There are just too many guys playing for UGA who can light up the scoreboard and run down the ball carrier before they cross the goal line.

  10. Sh3rl0ck

    Unfortunately for Holyfield, having a large upper body doesn’t do much for a tailback except raise their center of gravity. As I have said before, he reminds me of Thomas Brown with a little more wiggle. I expect good things from him, but the great ones are all wide in the ass and bowlegged.

  11. tbia

    Briscoe is a perfect example of something I hope we don’t see too much of, the unleavable dog house. He was playing last year, and did something to have Pruitt chew his ass out on the sideline. I am not sure he saw the field again all season.

  12. ApalachDawg

    I think we go 9-3 with losses to Ole Cheaters, and the two Title IX violators of the SEC East (UT and UF). We’ll be Outback Bowl or Belk Bowl bound… I think UF wins the East again. 2017 starts the UGA run.

    Why?

    We don’t have an O-Line. We still have UVA’s reject at QB – but damn it he’s giving it his all for the Dawgs. We have a snot-nosed world class HS QB that has never seen a live SEC pass rush. We have a great 3rd string QB that can punt the hell out of the ball. To start the season we’ve got a world class RB on one leg and another stud RB with only one arm. One solid go to receiver. We do have manly TEs. We do have the human joystick to help with field position. On D, the D-Line is good but we have zero depth – can TT take on all 5 OL? LB and DB just play your ass off. Oh yeah, we’ve got any entirely new coaching staff (minus a few). In my opinion, 9 wins is going to be a miracle. (Just be competitive without any brain melt downs/squib kicks…)
    I hope KirbyDawg proves me wrong.

    Bring on those preppy boys from chapel hill in sky blue so we can punch them in the mouth a few hundred times and send their basketball lovin’ smurf colored fans back home with a L.

  13. A high school coach told me he saw Nauta at a HS camp before his Junior season. He stated he was the best high school football player he ever saw. And this guy coached Robert Edwards & Takeo Spikes.

  14. All this information and you did not tell us how fast the Arrest Me” Red Porsche got up to on 316. Inquiring minds want to know….and I don’t wana hear no crap about break-in periods.