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Kirby Smart appears before reporters at SEC Media Days in Atlanta.

5 storylines from Georgia’s turn at SEC Media Days

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5 SEC Media Days storylines

Georgia’s took its turn at SEC Media Days Tuesday in Atlanta, as Kirby Smart, Jonathan Ledbetter, Terry Godwin and J.R. Reed appeared before reporters and fans at the unofficial commencement of the SEC season. Here are five storylines from their appearance at Media Days.

Kirby Smart says Justin Fields (probably) won’t redshirt

Georgia fans have been speculating all offseason about whether 5-star freshman QB Justin Fields would redshirt, and that speculation was only driven further by the change to the redshirt rule. But it’s safe to say we can end the speculation. Although he refused to give a definitive answer, Smart said he has no plans of redshirting Fields.

He’s taken on the second team role quickly, and I’m excited about the things he’s done,” Smart said, according to Mike Griffith of DawgNation. “He gives us an element in our offense that we don’t have. Excited to see what he can do.”

Deangelo Gibbs and Natrez Patrick are with the team

Another major point of speculation this offseason has been the statuses of Natrez Patrick and Deangelo Gibbs. Patrick missed the College Football Playoffs following an arrest for marijuana in the hours after the SEC Championship Game. Gibbs withdrew from classes and did not participate in spring practice. But Reed and Ledbetter spilled the beans to reporters on Gibbs and Patrick’s status at Media Day and Smart coyly confirmed it shortly thereafter.

“They’re making these decision now? You put them in charge?” Smart said sarcastically when told his players inferred Gibbs and Patrick were fully reinstated, according to Chip Towers of DawgNation. “I will validate that both of those guys are on the team. They’re on the team working with us. But you guys know that. They’re in there working hard and competing and doing a good job for us.”

The status of Demetris Robertson’s waiver is unknown

It’s been a slow summer for Georgia football news, but that’s picked up in the last few weeks thanks to Robertson. On Saturday, the former 5-star WR recruit from Savannah announced his decision to transfer from Cal to Georgia. It’s a major pickup for the Dawgs, and there’s been some speculation that a family matter led Robertson to transfer closer to home, which could potentially make him eligible for a waiver that would allow him to play immediately. Smart was noncommittal on the status of such a waiver and seemed to indicate that they’ll continue planning for the season as if Robertson will not be made available.

“I don’t know much about the waiver, that’s out of my department, that will be in the NCAA’s hands,” Smart said. “That’s outside of my control, and it’s not something we’re really concerned with right now. We’re preparing with the guys that are going to be eligible to play and can play.”

Jonathan Ledbetter is stepping up as a leader of the team

Ledbetter has come a long way from his early days at Georgia. With his off-field issues now behind him, Ledbetter has taken on a role as one of the leaders of the team — something sorely needed in the wake of the departures of Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel — as evidenced by his position alongside Reed and Godwin as ambassadors of the program at Media Day.

“I don’t like to look back. I just like to keep moving forward and going in the right direction,” Ledbetter said. “Everyone has to grow up eventually. Everyone has to mature as you get older and gain experience. You can only get that through life. You can’t get it from someone else.”

J.R. Reed: ‘The SEC Championship doesn’t mean anything’

This isn’t a storyline as much as it’s a glimpse into the mindset of the team. SEC Championships are cool and all, but they’ve got one now. And they watched Alabama claim the ultimate prize without even making it to Atlanta in December. So the Dawgs have only one focus: the natty.

“The ultimate goal is to win the natty, and the SEC Championship doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win the national championship,” Reed said. “So that’s where we are right now.”

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More from SEC Media Days

If you want even more quotes and notes from Georgia’s appearance at SEC Media Days, Jeff Sentell of DawgNation has you covered with 10 more things Bulldogs said Tuesday.

Chip Towers of DawgNation also has a post on Dan Mullen and what to expect from the Smart-Mullen Era of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

2018 Opponent Previews

We took a break from our opponent preview series to get y’all caught up on SEC Media Days. But it’ll be back soon. If you haven’t already, check out the first two previews, on Austin Peay and South Carolina.

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