ATHENS — The Georgia G-Day Game will be about the players on the field, all of whom will have earned the rare opportunity to take to Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.
A socially-distanced crowd and SEC Network-stream audience (worth noting, five years ago that sentence would not have made any sense) will take in the action at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bulldogs have a deep stable of quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends that will be on display, but the receiving corps has been ravaged by injuries.
That won’t stop JT Daniels, Carson Beck, Stetson Bennett and Brock Vandagriff from showing off their skills.
Todd Monken’s Air Raid offense is designed for quarterbacks and their targets to find open space.
But more than a few of Georgia’s top pass-catching weapons figure to be missing for the annual scrimmage.
Coach Kirby Smart said earlier this spring after Arian Smith suffered a sprained wrist that he felt the receiving corps would be fine.
Smart also said too much has been made of receiver injuries, “when everybody writes about ‘Oh, a receiver! Another receiver’s hurt!’ Receivers are going to be fine.”
Smart knows his team better than anyone, but the following receivers are expected to be out or limited in the G-Day Game:
• George Pickens (ACL), out indefinitely
• Jermaine Burton (hyperextended knee), day-to-day
• Dominick Blaylock (ACL), running, rehabilitating
• Macus Rosemy (ankle), running, rehabilitating
• Justin Robinson (knee), precautionary
Smith, with sprained wrist, has been practicing and is expected to play.
The Bulldogs have a deep WR corps, so plenty of receiving targets will still be available, including: Kearis Jackson, Demetris Robertson, Adonai Mitchell, Jaylen Johnson, Jackson Meeks and Ladd McConkey.
Georgia tight end Darnell Washington was out earlier in spring drills on account of an unspecified illness.
Washington’s setback gave way to freshman Brock Bowers getting valuable reps and emerging alongside veteran tight end John FitzPatrick.
Washington will need the work G-Day offers, and redshirt sophomores Ryland Goede and Brett Seither are other possible tight end targets.
No doubt, the tight ends should be set up for productive days from the quarterbacks.
Smart said when Pickens went down with an injury, UGA would look to other skill position groups to step up.
That means more catches for the running backs out of the backfield.
It’s a given that James Cook, Kendall Milton and Zamir White will be getting work, but how much Smart allows for in a controlled scrimmage is hard to project.
Tailback Kenny McIntosh has been out with a dislocated elbow but is expected to be full-go in the offseason drills.
Tailback Daijun Edwards was limited earlier in spring drills and could get a lot of work in the G-Day Game.
Smart typically addresses all of the serious injuries after the scrimmage and sets the timetable for players to return.