Observations from the 30, G-Day edition

Ahhhh.  Rituals can be so comforting, and making the trip to Athens after being away for several months is definitely chicken soup for the Bulldog soul.  The weather cooperated; what started out as an overcast Saturday morning turned into the kind of blue sky and sunshine day that leaves a sunburn to remind me I was there.

And there was football, too.  Lots of football, as a matter of fact, especially if you like watching quarterbacks throw and receivers catch.

As a general observation, I wouldn’t say Saturday’s game was full of revelations.  Quite the contrary, it was far more a day of confirmation:  that Smart wanted his team to throw the ball a bunch so that the offense could work on timing and the secondary could get a workout; that the coaches wouldn’t show much (while the coverages were pretty vanilla, if there was a surprise, it was that there was more blitzing than I anticipated); that there was a clear pecking order at quarterback; that there was some legitimacy to the late developing buzz surrounding Adonai Mitchell; that RBU still has a loaded running backs room; and that Georgia, as I posted yesterday, has done good work attracting talent to the program.

One other nice thing was seeing Pickens walking around without crutches a week after ACL surgery.

This was a glorified scrimmage, so rather than break down a bunch of plays, or point to game changing moments, I’m gonna limit the bullet points to position group assessments.

  • Quarterbacks.  If what you saw Saturday didn’t make you happy with Georgia’s situation at QB, I don’t know what to tell you.  As I posted yesterday, it’s completely night and day from where the program stood when last season kicked off.  That’s not to say everything went perfectly.
  • JT Daniels.  While Daniels looks recovered from his injury and surgery, there were moments when it didn’t seem like his mechanics were totally in sync.  He was lucky to avoid at least one interception on the day.  (Chris Smith, you gotta catch that!)  But that’s fairly minor carping.  For one thing, he didn’t throw a deep ball that hung up the way some did last season.  Sure, that was partly because he didn’t go deep much, but that 59-yarder to Robertson for the Red team’s final score was laid out perfectly.  And he threw a couple of jaw droppers, one to Mitchell and one to Jackson, for touchdowns that showed he can get plenty of zip on the ball when it’s needed.  But what I was most encouraged about was the obvious work Daniels has put in on a couple of fronts.  He’s doing a much better job of stepping up in the pocket instead of running around to avoid the rush, even if the touch sack format of the scrimmage didn’t reward him for doing so.  And it’s also clear how much better his communication with his receivers has gotten.  I’m using the word receivers broadly here — if you get a chance to watch a replay, check out how in sync he and Zamir White are.  There’s a catch in the first half and one in the second half where both know exactly what the other will do on the play.  All in all, it was a good day for JT.
  • Stetson Bennett.  He is exactly the Stetson Bennett we’ve come to know and love.  His first half scoring drive, when he played under control and went 3-3 in leading the Red squad to its first score, was Good Stetson.  His second half interception came on one of his patented “sometimes you just gotta say WTF” plays when he ignored the open receiver underneath, threw deep a second too late and illustrated the exact limit of his arm strength.  He’s perfectly suited for the role of coming in on an emergency basis to keep things on an even keel during a game, but he’s not the guy you’d want to lead the offense over an extended stretch of the season.
  • Carson Beck.  He may have the best arm of the group.  He’s made strides to learn the offense.  He pressed at times and missed some easy reads, but he looked quite good on the two drives he directed for touchdowns when he didn’t try to push things.  Would the coaches trust him to take over the offense if Daniels went down for an extended period of time?  I tend to think so for now, if only because he’s clearly got a better arm than does Bennett.
  • Brock Vandagriff.  I thought he was on his way to launching a spirited G-Day QBR debate in the comments here, at least until he fumbled on his first series.  But while there’s no question about his athleticism, it was very clear that his reads were extremely limited and that he’s got a way to go before becoming a contributor.  Still, there’s plenty of time to develop and there’s no denying his future looks pretty bright.
  • Running backs.  Jeez, what a group.  Georgia didn’t run much Saturday, but, then again, it didn’t really need to.  The coaches know what they have, and what they have should be plenty.  All four backs showed they can play a role in the passing game, something Monken values.
  • Zamir White.  I know there are plenty of folks who don’t see White being the number one guy, but I don’t get it.  He’s a load to bring down.  He’s still the best of the backs in pass pro.  He’s patient waiting for holes to open.  He can be just shifty enough in the open field.  And along with all that, he showed Saturday that he can be a useful option in the passing game.  Somebody needs to tell me what I’m missing here.
  • James Cook.  He’s still the Swiss Army knife of Georgia’s backfield.  He looks a little bigger than he did last season.  He’s a defensive distraction in motion.  As a receiver, he’s a match up nightmare, as his easy reception on the wheel route demonstrated.  (That play came right at me and Nolan Smith’s “oh, shit” body language as the play unfolded was priceless.)  A great 1-2 combination with White.
  • Kendall Milton.  He’s going to follow in the tradition of Georgia under Smart of being that killer number three back.  He’s big enough.  He’s a little more elusive than White.  His pass blocking continues to improve.  He, too, is a viable option in the passing game.  Let’s hope he stays healthy this season, because he’s gonna be a monster in 2022.
  • Daijun Edwards.  Every time I see him run, I come away impressed with his physicality.  I think he also caught a pass or two Saturday, although I don’t remember how he did in pass pro.  A solid contributor.
  • Wide Receivers.  With all the injuries, this was a hard group to evaluate.  Still, a few things stood out.
  • Adonai Mitchell.  He was the talk of the game, no question.  He wasn’t as consistent as you’d like, but you could see where Daniels’ description of him being twitchy comes from.  He’s not as physical as, say, Jackson (or Pickens, for that matter), but as a true freshman with just a couple of months in S&C, that’s to be expected.  I also don’t think he’s 6-4, but I may be digressing there.  Is he just another G-Day flash in the pan, or will he step up in Pickens’ absence to become a significant contributor this season?
  • Kearis Jackson.  Between Pickens and Burton, sometimes it seems like Jackson gets a little lost in the shuffle, but, damn, he can play.  He didn’t have a ton of catches Saturday, but he made two in particular count.  He also gets after it with his downfield blocking.
  • Demetris Robertson.  It took him a while to get going, but he did alright.  He seemed more physical than in times past, as he demonstrated on his touchdown catch.
  • Tight ends.  Heh, heh, heh.  Monken’s gonna be calling a lot of 12 formations this year, my friends.  You already know what the returning two can do and Brock Bowers flashed on a couple of receptions, enough to make me think he’s got a real shot at being in the mix.  (By the way, doesn’t “Brock Bowers” sound like a name straight out of Boogie Nights?)
  • Offensive line.  The talent is there.  How to deploy it is the big question.  Overall, the Red team o-line struggled with the Black team d-line, which was hardly a surprise.  While the blitzing was hardly exotic, there were times when blitzers weren’t being picked up, so there are still issues with communication.  My overall feeling is that the coaches better be able to settle on a starting five sooner rather than later.  Fingers crossed in that regard.
  • Xavier Truss.  He’s better, but still not consistent enough to make me feel comfortable.  It seemed like he was on his game every time the Red team scored.  I watched him stone Nolan Smith and Adam Anderson on back to back plays on the last scoring drive of the first half.  But when he scrabbled, particularly with run blocking, things stalled.  He looked better when Salyer was flanking him at guard, for what that’s worth.  In other words, Kirby’s description of his spring was spot on.  The good news is that he’s capable of winning the starting job if he shows more consistency.  Let’s hope Luke can motivate him.
  • Tate Ratledge.  The closest thing to a surprise on the day was Ratledge getting the start on the Red team at right guard.  The results were mixed.  He struggled handling d-line pressure, particularly from Devonte Wyatt.  (Not that he was alone in that regard; Ericson and McClendon had their rough spots, too.)  But I can see one big reason why the coaches love him:  he can pull like a sumbitch.  How far that gets him remains to be seen.
  • Amarius Mims and Broderick Jones.  Together, they’re first team First To Get Off The Bus, physique-wise.  Otherwise, some good, some bad, as was to be expected.  They both struggled at times with speed rushes.  Jones did a great job blocking the safety on Milton’s TD run.  They benefited from not having to block the first team d-line, obviously.  I didn’t see either of them showing enough to take the starting left tackle spot.
  • Defensive line.  My gawd.  I can’t say enough how big a deal it was that Davis and Wyatt elected to return for another season.  But there’s plenty more behind them.  Travon Walker and Jalen Carter ain’t exactly slouches.  The Red team d-line showed out, too, Tramel Walthour, in particular.  If any of Georgia’s opponents this season are capable of running the ball successfully against that front, my hat’s off to them.
  • Outside linebacker.  Outside of the aforementioned wheel route, Nolan Smith had the kind of day you’d want to see out of a potential all-SEC player.  Adam Anderson had a quiet day, though.  For the Reds, true freshman Chaz Chambliss showed out a little.
  • Inside linebacker.  With Nakobe Dean out, there was no way to see what the final two deep will look like here, but one thing’s clear, there is plenty of speed and athleticism at the position.  Channing Tindall started strong, but seemed to fade as the game went on.  Quay Walker, on the other hand, looks like he’s becoming a keeper.  A little faster than I remember him, he was all over the field making plays.
  • Secondary.  Again, this is another position group in a state of flux.  We already know that Tykee Smith will likely grab the Star spot when he shows up in August.  I’ve already posted that I didn’t see enough to make me think even one of the three primary contenders (Kimber, Ringo and Speed) for the starting cornerback slots locked anything up.  It’s not that any of the three were total busts, but none of the three looked consistently ready, either.  Kimber looks a little slight, but he can sure run.  Ringo doesn’t look fluid at times, but played more physical than Kimber did.  Speed had a couple of solid breakups, but sort of looked like Kimber’s opposite in terms of being better defending the underneath stuff than the deep ball.  Cine and Smith are solid, of course, but they were both stretched more than I’d like by the corner play.
  • Special teams.  Not much was shown, so there’s not much to say, other than Camarda’s two punts, especially the 70-yarder, being total bombs.

Whew!  There you have it, another G-Day in the books.  There won’t be much to hear about for the next three-plus months, other than a few roster management decisions and, hopefully, some good news on the health front.  August will be here soon enough, though.

83 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

83 responses to “Observations from the 30, G-Day edition

  1. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

    The o-line scares the shit out of me.

    Everything else is gravy, though I could do without seeing Cook get any more runs into the middle of the line.

    Like

  2. mg4life0331

    What are you missing on Zeus? Post a link or video of a run that’s made you say wow. He’s had ample opportunity to do so.

    Before the pitchforks come out, I love the guy. But our greats always had something. Chubb, Micheal, Gurley, Moreno. Maybe Im just spoiled and that bar is too damn high.

    Like

  3. Russ

    Is the replay online anywhere? I looked all over SEC Network (which sent me to the ESPN app) and all I could find was that it would be replayed Tuesday at 9 p.m. I figured it would be available for streaming but damned if I can find it. Help a dawg out.

    Like

  4. Greg

    nice synopsis….didn’t get to watch it live (watched replay), as my kid had a soccer game.

    I also don’t feel comfortable at all with Truss at left tackle, especially with Clemson being the first game. Hopefully, Salyer starts there or Truss really improves. Tons of talent though.

    Still a long time before the opening game, plenty of time to grow and improve….and I would think easy to focus to get better (Clemson).

    I like our chances against Clemson, but hell…..I always do against anyone.

    Like

  5. biggusrickus

    I thought Ladd McConkey also showed something at wideout, good hands in traffic and some quickness. He looks like he might have a future in the slot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s a tough son-of-a-gun, that’s for sure. Still think he needs to get bigger to be a steady contributor.

      Like

      • biggusrickus

        He has another year to do that. Though with the amount of talent they’re accumulating at wideout, it still might be hard for him to get on the field.

        Like

      • spur21

        According to the roster he reported to Athens around 5′ – 11′ 160 soaking wet carrying a bowling ball and is now closer 6′ – 0″ 190.

        I said when he was signed we got an exceptional talent. He will be our Hunter Renfro only bigger and faster. He will shine on returns much like some of our other white guys that couldn’t jump. Think Jake Scott – Scott Woerner – Buzy Rosenburg etc.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Greg

      wouldn’t be surprised to see him returning some punts this year…..”Honkey” McConkey is definitely quick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        Yes, I can see him being a contributor in a variety of special team roles.

        Like

      • waterloodawg

        That is a derogatory term used to describe people of a certain race. I find it offensive. Is it ok now on this forum to use derogatory racial terms to describe players?

        Like

        • RangerRuss

          Shiiiiiiiit man. You can call me anything. Just don’t call me late for cocktails.

          Liked by 2 people

        • PTC DAWG

          He’s White, you can call him most anything you want. By definition, a White male can’t be offended.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Oh, FFS. Do we really have to ruin another comment thread, guys?

            Liked by 4 people

            • waterloodawg

              If you’re talking about me, I’ll be glad to point out racism wherever I see it. If the poster had called one of our players the N word, would your only worry have been if the comment thread was “ruined”? It’s your website though, run it according to your own principles.

              Like

              • What I love about folks like yourself is how in one breath you can complain about how the term “racism” is overused to the point of being meaningless and in the next breath get all high and mighty like this. Complain all you like, but this is a post about a fucking football game and if you can’t stick to that, go find another blog to be noble at.

                There’s a perfect place here to exercise white grievance. It’s called the Playpen.

                Liked by 4 people

                • waterloodawg

                  Folks like me? Wow, that’s a broad brush and you have absolutely no basis to paint me with it. The comment was about one of our football players. If you are ok with the term but upset that I found it offensive and said so, then you are welcome to ban me. I can’t promise that I’ll wait until a special Playpen thread to point out any similar remarks in the future regarding any of our players, no matter their ethnicity. If this is it, then I do thank you for the football content over the years.

                  Like

                • If I wanted to ban you, I’d have already done it.

                  If you’ve got a problem with “Honky”, I assume you’ve called for the burning of Elton John records. If you find that argument silly, then I guess I’ve made my point.

                  Trust me, I know how to take care of inappropriate discussion here. If I need anyone’s help, I’ll certainly put out the word.

                  And with that, let’s return to discussing G-Day. Please.

                  Like

            • waterloodawg

              And my apologies if you’ve addressed this in another thread and I missed it.

              Like

            • PTC DAWG

              I’m not offended…are you? 🙂

              Like

        • spur21

          Good grief waterloo…………

          Like

        • Greg

          My apologies, never met anyone that is offended by that term.

          Thought it was “catchy”. Thought of this, but couldn’t make it rhyme:

          Again, sorry…..bless you & have a good day.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been saying it for a while now, but Matt Luke is the single most important coach in the SEC in 2021. If he earns his money and gets the OL to play to potential, UGA is likely a playoff team.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. Gaskilldawg

    I thought White looked as if he is more agile and has better moves than last year. While he doesn’t match Sony Michel in those skills no one else on the roster does. I like him as the number one back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dial the replay clip up to the 5:15 mark and watch what White does after he makes the reception.

      Like

      • Anon

        One announcer said he had trimmed down. Hard to see on TV. Might help his elusiveness this year and another year with knee troubles behind him—-I’m for giving the guy a chance He seems like a great dude personally and he’s a fighter. Hope when 2021 year is over we can call him one of the greatest Dawgs ever. But I think that is just me personally having a soft spot for the dude. He’s been through a lot and we as fans should support him. Just me being sappy I guess

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Milton and Edwards > Cook

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pantslesspatdye

    Great post, senator. I feel like I don’t even have to watch anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OL being shakey at this point is a pretty damning indictment of Luke imo. If they don’t get it together and quick, Kirby gonna be in the OL coach market come December.

    Like

  11. akascuba

    Excellent summary Bluto. I would be hard pressed to find much disagreement with any of it. As always thank you for all you do here.

    Looking forward to your summary of our next NC win 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. mddawg

    Brock Bowers sounds like a comic book name to me. Like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, and so on.

    Like

  13. 86bone

    As the greatest SmartAss of them all said…”Let talking season begin!”
    Time for the team to have laser focus on ONE thing, and one thing only…
    Beat that Clemson ASS like a tied up 🐐!!
    🐶🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Zamir is a good RB and a solid #1. He just does not have that game breaking ability a la Sony, Chubb or Gurley. I don’t see that anywhere on our roster, but those guys were all pretty darn special.

    Like

  15. originaluglydawg

    I have a theory that I’m half-way serious about.
    The lack of running plays is at least partially because Kirby didn’t want to show how awesome the run defense is.
    Let Dabo find out the hard way.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Illini84

    People here tried to help but it really the lack of TV coverage really pissed me off. The game showed up on ESPN+ so I popped for the $6. I realize that the listing here was for SEC + but nothing I tried game me access. I know it was not UGA’s fault but that was some chickenshit.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. automaticdawg

    We not going to talk about the fact that we have a walk-on receiver who is named for false labor contractions?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Russ

    So far, I’ve seen Camarda miss two FGs. Is Zirkel persona non grata? Wasn’t he the top kicking recruit in the country?

    Like

  19. practicaldawg

    This QB room feels as perfect as it can be in the modern era. Lots of raw talent across multiple backups, but none are ready to plug and play at another elite program, so transfer risk is minimized.

    Like

    • Russ

      I agree. If we can convince these guys to stick around, we’re set and they can be, too. Look at what Mac Jones did with one season. Same basically with Trask or Burrough. JT this year, then Beck, then BVG, then Stockton.

      Like

  20. ASEF

    Zamir is going to have a bit more room to operate, with slightly less mass on the other side of the ball. Effective passing attacks tend to have that effect.

    He’s going to have a huge year.

    Like