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What we learned about Georgia football heading into Murray State game
Quarterback: Kirby Smart has given a lot of praise to Jake Fromm in the wake of the Vanderbilt game. While Fromm’s stats weren’t eye-popping — 156 yards and 1 touchdown — Smart said his quarterback does a lot from a pre-snap read standpoint that sets Georgia up for success.
Just don’t expect Smart to explain everything Fromm does in a detailed way for the masses to understand.
“If I said that, every defensive coordinator in our conference would ask that and say, ‘oh, well that’s what they do,'” Smart said. “So I don’t really think that’s fair because I would be giving out information that might help them, if you know what I’m saying.”
Running back: While D’Andre Swift got the most carries against Vanderbilt, he actually didn’t get the start. That went to senior Brian Herrien.
And after hearing Smart discuss what Herrien does well, it’s easy to see why Herrien got the first carry of the game.
“His practice habits have always been very good. Brian loves football. He competes on special teams, he runs the ball hard,” Smart said. “He’s earned the right to get these carries.”
Herrien finished the game with 12 carries for 65 yards. He also found the endzone while picking up some carries as a goal-line running back. While he didn’t have a 5-star ranking, it’s clear he’s outplayed the ranking he was given in high school.
Wide receiver: Much like Swift, Robertson did not get the start for the Bulldogs against Vanderbilt. But he still ended up being the most productive player in his position group.
Robertson led the Bulldogs in catches with 3. He also hauled in a touchdown catch. He finished with only 23 receiving yards in the game, but Smart had an explanation for that.
“A lot of the plays he had weren’t necessarily designed for him, the defense gave Demetris the opportunity,” Smart said. “If they play different coverage on the deep ball, it doesn’t go to him. A lot of things are dictated on what the defense does.”
The junior wide receiver did bring in a 53-yard pass from Fromm, but it was nullified due to a penalty. But Robertson definitely flashed enough potential to show that he’s capable of doing a lot this season.
Tight end: Of the three tight ends that traveled to Vanderbilt, only John Fitzpatrick did not record a catch. But the redshirt freshman still saw plenty of the field, as he got the start for the Bulldogs.
Fitzpatrick will be used quite often this year if the first game is to be any indication of what James Coley’s offense will look like. That might mean functioning as a blocking tight end.
Earlier this week, Smart revealed why Fitzpatrick should be well equipped to handle that role.
“Fitz last year played left tackle, for like 15 practices because we had no scout-team O-lineman. I think it was the bowl practice,” Smart said. “And I think it made him a better player now, because he’s being asked to block the kind of cats the kind of cats he was blocking at left tackle for us.
“He was blocking Tyler Clark, Devonte Wyatt. Well now you go out there at tight end it makes it easier.”
While many wanted to see more from the passing game, the Georgia rushing attack finished with 323 rushing yards in the win.
Offensive line: With Isaiah Wilson going down with an ankle injury, Georgia will have to reshuffle its offensive line.
Cade Mays is likely to be the starter at right tackle, given he’s repped at just about every other position on the line. But another name to watch is that of Jamaree Salyer.
The former 5-star prospect earned high marks from Smart in the spring for the progress he made. And Salyer also spent time repping at right tackle.
Salyer did not travel to the Vanderbilt game but Smart assured reporters that he’s moving much better heading into the Murray State game.
“I saw him practice and I thought the same thing,” Smart said of Salyer moving better. “He jumped into being in shape pretty quick, or not being injured as bad. He had Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. So he got a lot of recovery time.”
Defensive line: Jordan Davis has the potential to be a game-changing defensive lineman. He was the only Georgia defensive lineman to pick up a tackle for loss in the Vanderbilt win. And in 2018, he really helped improve Georgia’s rush defense.
The one thing that might hold the sophomore back is his conditioning. Prior to the start of spring practice, Smart did make it a point to publicly state Davis needs to stay on top of his conditioning.
When Davis met with reporters earlier this week, he acknowledged that his battle with conditioning is something he has to win.
“It has been something I have been battling for a while,” Davis said. “I try and spend extra time after practice conditioning. I also focus on spending the time to make sure I am eating right, doing the right things, drinking a lot of water and making sure I stay hydrated.”
And Davis added that it’s only going to become more difficult as the season goes on.
“It is a long road and the farther into the season we get, the more pressure there is going to be, and I am going to need to be able to be out there more,” Davis said.
So far, Davis seems to be winning the battle. In August, Ben Cleveland said Davis was in the best shape of his life.
Outside linebacker and inside linebacker: Since Adam Anderson is now playing and practicing as an inside and outside linebacker, we’re going to combine the two this week.
Anderson has traditionally spent much of his practice time working with the outside linebackers. This makes sense given his body type is more like a Leonard Floyd instead of a Roquan Smith.
But when Georgia gets teams into obvious passing down situations, Anderson shifts to that inside linebacker role. It allows Georgia to get another pass rusher on the field — such as Nolan Smith — while putting a very good athlete at the inside linebacker position.
“He’s a space player. What we do is a lot of his third-down package, he had a play the other night where he was out in the flat and he re-routed a guy on a third down,” Smart said. “That’s more inside backer than outside backer.”
Smart gave a new classification for the position Anderson is going to play.
“But he’s really been what we call a DPR, designated pass rusher. So he plays a lot of third downs in space,” Smart said.
Defensive backs: Georgia’s starting cornerback last week were Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell. But much like at offensive guard and wide receiver, another player got a number of reps, as DJ Daniel and Campbell rotated plenty throughout the game.
When asked where things stand between Daniel and Campbell going forward, Smart gave roughly the same answer he did a week ago.
“They didn’t get a lot of balls thrown their way. They didn’t get a lot of opportunities,” Smart said of his cornerbacks. “They executed, tackled well. DJ had one good tackle. Tyson had one good tackle and one poor one. Same thing with (Eric) Stokes. That battle’s going to go on. Tyrique Stevenson is in that battle. That’s never over.”
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: Pass rush specialist says ‘I love me some Nolan Smith’
- Georgia WR Matt Landers says he has ‘a lot left to prove’
- Homegrown: Impressive sophomore CB Eric Stokes is more like “UGA grown”
- Georgia coach Kirby Smart: ‘We’ve got to protect the quarterback better’
- Georgia football injury update for Murray State: Shake-up on offensive line
- We’re going to learn a lot about how good Georgia’s recruiting classes are early on in 2019
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 5, 2019
Matthew Stafford was on Twitter, once, a few years ago. After he got off it he said to a friend “how is this shit supposed to help me?” Truer words have never been spoken. Read: https://t.co/34t6wa2mKF
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) September 4, 2019
.@Leonard90Flo gets another one!
Loss of 7 on the sack. pic.twitter.com/NkDzQXun1C
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Roquan Smith starts the NFL season with a STUFF pic.twitter.com/eHW6AIukNY
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Good Dawg of the Day
This is Harry. He was caught playing in the flower bed with his bow tie on. Had a very good explanation but decided you probably aren’t interested in hearing it. 12/10 pic.twitter.com/JrwPDfMdIc
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