ATHENS – The first observation from Georgia’s first official practice of the 2015 season is this: It was scorching hot. That’s not breaking news for this time of year in Georgia, but why the coaches have elected to hold preseason practices at the hottest part of the day is, well, unknown.
Throw in the fact that Georgia’s practices are increasingly fast-paced, and there was a lot of sweating, and a lot of water breaks. At one point a graduate assistant could be heard yelling out: “Hey, can I get some water for the quarterbacks!”
Ah yes, the quarterbacks. Herewith, many observations from Seth Emerson and Chip Towers after watching practice, starting with, yes, the quarterbacks.
– Faton Bauta was the first-teamer on the first day, but that probably doesn’t mean much, as Mark Richt said the three would rotate daily. They started with Bauta, perhaps because of seniority, perhaps because they went alphabetically, or maybe they did rock-paper-sciccors. Who knows.
At one point Brian Schottenheimer, calling out assignments on one drill, yelled out: “Faton, get Malcolm! Or Greyson, I don’t care.”
The media viewing time on Tuesday, while longer-than-usual at 10 periods, still didn’t include any 11-on-11, and the 7-on-7 drills were pretty basic. So it’s hard to make any definitive evaluations on the three candidates based on this one practice. At least for the media.
Bauta had some good throws, particularly in shorter, tighter spots. As staff correspondent Caitlyn Stroh observed, he seems to have an extra crow-hop at the end of his 5 and 7 step drops.
Greyson Lambert was perhaps a bit nervous at the start, low-balling a few throws, but also showed his arm on a few other throws. He’s tall, which we knew, but also seems to have trimmed up a little. His physique is reminiscent of a swimmer, as staff correspondent Caitlyn Stroh pointed out.
When Brice Ramsey sets his feet and releases a pass down the middle of the field, he unleashes by far the best looking ball.
– Justin Scott-Wesley was practicing without limitations, despite the knee surgery just over a month ago. In fact the senior receiver wasn’t even wearing a knee brace.
– Keith Marshall also looked fine, running and cutting during drills, and is also absent a knee brace. He resembled the back he was before the knee injury – at least that’s the way he looks without pads.
– Speaking of the running backs, the order at tailback is no surprise, with the only suspense being whether Marshall or Sony Michel will be the first one off the bench after Nick Chubb. But fullback holds some intrigue, where Quayvon Hicks continues to run second string, and that’s where he was on the media guide depth chart. Christian Payne, the latest in Georgia’s long string of walk-on fullbacks, is running first team.
– Isaiah McKenzie starts the preseason in good position to join Malcolm Mitchell in the starting lineup. Coming of a strong spring, McKenzie lined up opposite Mitchell in some two-receiver sets, and during pass skeleton he made a good leaping catch on a Lambert throw. (And it was a good, fast throw from Lambert, by the way.)
– Reggie Davis had some nice plays. The junior gets overlooked a bit as a potential factor, but he’s got experience and speed.
– Here’s the offensive line depth chart, from left to right:
First team: John Theus, Isaiah Wynn, Brandon Kublanow, Greg Pyke, Kolton Houston
Second team: Aulden Bynum, Dyshon Sims, Hunter Long, Lamont Gaillard, Kendall Baker
Third team: Sage Hardin, Sam Madden, Billy Seward, Mirko Jurkovic, Alex Essex
– And the defensive line appeared to go this way, at least in four-man fronts:
First team: Josh Dawson, Sterling Bailey, John Atkins, James DeLoach
Second team: Jonathan Ledbetter, Chris Mayes, Trent Thompson, Keyon Brown
– Leonard Floyd was with the outside linebackers, as he normally is, but did indeed line up at inside linebacker in some later drills.
– A name to watch at inside linebacker, who doesn’t get much mention, is Tim Kimbrough. He was on the field in a lot of situational stuff.
– A few defensive back positional notes, but remember with Jeremy Pruitt this is subject to change: The safeties included Reggie Wilkerson, freshman Johnathan Abram (who enrolled early), freshman Rashad Roundtree, freshman Jarvis Wilson (another early enrollee) and freshman Kirby Choates. The cornerbacks included sophomore Aaron Davis (who was primarily a cornerback last year), junior Shattle Fenteng, freshman Deandre Baker, sophomore Tramel Terry and freshman Juwuan Briscoe.
– Choates was reamed out by Jeremy Pruitt at one point. That’s actually somewhat of a hopeful sign for the lightly-recruited Choates, who received a late scholarship offer from Georgia. If Pruitt didn’t think Choates had a chance, he wouldn’t care enough to yell at him.