ATHENS — The discussion about who the fastest man on the Georgia football team is continued in the days leading up to Saturday’s road game at South Carolina.
While the Gamecocks have been crowing about their upset hopes, the Bulldogs have remained focused inward, addressing several issues coach Kirby Smart identified in film study.
Smart suggested the backs need to be more patient waiting for inside run lanes to develop, offensive linemen need to work harder to get to the second level and finish blocks, and there were defensive breakdowns at each level.
The players, meanwhile, continued to be asked about the speed hierarchy on the team in their interview sessions.
Tailback D’Andre Swift was left out of Mecole Hardman’s fastest man comments last week.
So Swift, more a young man of action than words, playfully posted a picture on his Instagram of the GPS speeds from last Saturday’s game.
Swift was reflected as the fastest at 21.8 miles per hour, followed by James Cook and Demetris Robertson, each at 21.7.
This is not highly classified information — opponents know who the fastest Georgia players are simply by turning on the film.
Safety J.R. Reed and offensive lineman Solomon Kindley were asked this week to weigh in on the fastest man discussion.
“You’ve got D-Rob (Demetris Robertson), Mecole, our running backs,” Reed said, “You got Cook, Tyler Simmons, Jayson Stanley, a lot of guys that can hit 20 mph. They can have their own track team.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said nine players hit 20 mph in one of the scrimmages this fall.
Kindley said Ben Cleveland is the fastest of the offensive linemen.
“Believe it or not, Ben Cleveland is really, really, really fast, he ran like a 19.1 on the GPS, and that’s fast for an offensive lineman, for like 330-some pounds, so he’s fast,” Kindley said.
Pressed for the fastest player on the team, Kindley said, “If I had to pick, I’m going to go with Mecole, Eric Stokes and Demetris Robertson …. Swift is really fast, too.”
Elijah Holyfield was asked to weigh in last week on the contenders for fastest man on the team.
“Mecole is one of the fastest, D-Rob is very fast as well,” Holyfield said. “Tyler Simmons is very fast, Deandre Baker is very, very fast, so we have a couple fast guys, it would be a good race.”
Freshman safety Tyson Campbell was also mentioned.
Then there was Hardman’s response last eek, which led to Swift calling scoreboard.
“Definitely Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, Deandre Baker, myself, and Jayson Stanley,” Hardman said. “D-Rob, you could put him in that race right now.”
The players will be focused on beating South Carolina on Saturday, but there’s a good chance they will also be sorting through the GPS data after the game, keeping up with their healthy internal competition.
The fastest man on the Georgia football conversation will indeed continue.
If there was a race, here’s how the starting grid might look, by uniform number:
2 Jayson Stanley
3 Tyson Campbell
4 Mecole Hardman
6 James Cook
7 D’Andre Swift
16 Demetris Robertson
18 Deandre Baker
27 Eric Stokes
87 Tyler Simmons