ATHENS — Georgia football is at Sanford Stadium on Saturday for its first scrimmage of spring drills, and Coach Kirby Smart will have plenty of things to evaluate.
First and foremost, it’s likely UGA will scale back on the play count and contact for key players in the scrimmage.
The Bulldogs have already lost star receiver George Pickens indefinitely to a torn ACL, and their most versatile tailback, Kenny McIntosh, is out the remainder of spring with a dislocated elbow.
Georgia had another scare earlier this week when receiver Jermaine Burton suffered a hyperextended knee. Fortunately for Burton and the Bulldogs, the extent of the injury will not lead to surgery.
Staying healthy isn’t one of the questions to be answered — though fans are holding their collective breath — it’s a necessity.
Here are three questions Georgia football needs answered that the scrimmage should provide some insight into:
1. Who will be the left tackle?
Third-year player Xavier Truss got the start in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, but former 5-star Broderick Jones signed in the 2020 class with the intent that he would be ready to play left tackle his second season. Then, along came Amarius Mims in the 2021 class, and Mims is a 6-foot-7, 330-pound giant who might have more upside than any offensive lineman on the roster. Jamaree Salyer played left tackle last season, and he’s an option, too, even though his NFL future is as at guard.
2. Which pass catchers step up?
The injuries to Pickens and Burton certainly remind everyone how quickly the “Next Man Up” could be pressed into action. Justin Robinson is a 6-4, 220-pound second-year receiver whose window has opened. Robinson has overcome a broken bone in his hand, shoulder injury, and knee injury already in his young career. Then there’s Demetris Robertson, a fifth-year senior who is on his final chance of developing into an NFL prospect. Can Robertson elevate his play enough to be drafted in a year? The UGA tight ends want more work, too, and John FitzPatrick has actually had one of the best sprigs of anyone on the team. Freshman Brock Bowers has opened eyes, and many like the potential Darnell Washington brings. James Cook anyone? Daijun Edwards? Who will shine brightest?
3. Georgia’s monster Monster
OK, so the modern-day term for the hybrid linebacker-defensive back position is “Star” — because they are adept at playing in space. But back in the day, it was the “Monster,” and Anderson has the size, speed, length and power to be affectionally referred to as just that. Can this gifted 6-5, 230-pounder be the answer for the match-up problems bigger tight ends and backs cause for smaller DBs? If so, then UGA has something special because Anderson is already one of the most effective pass rushers in the SEC — if not THE most effective when one takes a closer look at metrics. UGA has other answers at the “Star,” but Anderson is a brilliant option worth exploring at the position.