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More pressure falls on the shoulders of Georgia football quarterback Jamie Newman
At best, Georgia football can start spring practice on April 16 due to the SEC suspension following the coronavirus. G-Day was originally set to take place on April 18. Safe to say that won’t happen as currently constituted.
It’s hard to say when things will return to normal, as the CDC recommended on Sunday that organizers cancel or postpone events of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks. There are 68 scholarship members on the Georgia team at the moment, not counting the various walk-ons, coaches and support staffers Georgia would have on a practice field.
If spring football ever does happen, there’s a chance it comes in a truncated form. Some schools like Clemson and Ohio State were able to complete some spring practices but there are some schools like Georgia and Alabama that didn’t get a single snap in.
What kind of effect does that have on the coming season? Much is always made when discussing freshmen and how important it is that they’re able to go through spring practices and get adjusted to college life and the playbook. Of course, there are those like George Pickens who was still able to become a key contributor after arriving at Georgia in the summer.
Georgia had six early enrollees in its 2020 recruiting class. For as promising though as Kendall Milton or Justin Robinson might be, the most important newcomer to Georgia this spring was actually a graduate transfer in Jamie Newman.
Newman won’t have to make all the same adjustments that the 2020 signees did, but the former Wake Forest quarterback was entering unfamiliar waters when he arrived at Georgia in January. And Newman enters Georgia with higher short-term expectations than any member of the 2020 signing class that finished No. 1 in the country.
Whether or not Kirby Smart was ever going to come out and publically declare it as such, the expectation for Newman to be the starting quarterback on Sept. 7 against Virginia existed. Why else would Newman pass up opportunities and interest from the likes of Miami and Oregon if he didn’t have some idea that he would likely end up being the starting quarterback for Georgia in his final year of eligibility?
“These grad transfers, No. 1 the fact that they graduated college, the fact he graduated from Wake Forest, these kids understand what they want,” Smart said in February of Newman. “And they’re very driven in what they want.
This spring would’ve been a huge chance for Newman not to just get familiar with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken but also the likes of Pickens, Zamir White and his fellow teammates. He could’ve begun to develop on-field chemistry and trust that will be huge to have when Georgia is facing the likes of Alabama, Auburn and Florida all before the start of November.
All that has been wiped out at the moment. And it’s nothing but a wild guess to know when Newman and the rest of his teammates will be able to pick things back up again.
This means come the fall, or whenever Georgia is allowed to practice again, even more pressure to perform early will fall onto Newman. Shouldn’t be that much of a challenge when you factor in he’s also been billed as the savior of the Georgia offense.
At Wake Forest last season, Newman threw for 26 touchdowns and 2,868 yards. What’s more interesting though is what Newman might be able to do with his legs in Monken’s offense. He rushed for 574 rushing yards and six touchdowns last year as well.
Other than the brief cameos by Justin Fields, the Bulldogs haven’t had a real dual-threat quarterback in the Smart era. Georgia likely isn’t going to need him to run as often as he did at Wake Forest with the likes White, Milton and others in the Georgia backfield.
But the Bulldogs were still going to ask Newman to be the James Harden of their offense.
“He’s like a point guard with a high usage rate — he’s going to have the ball in his hands even more than the normal QB, and he will almost completely define the personality of this offense,” ESPN’s Bill Connelly wrote of Newman.
This spring likely would’ve allowed Newman to work out some of the kinks or growing pains that come with being in a new offense. His availability for spring practice is also a big reason why Georgia wanted him, as there where other graduate transfers options like K.J. Costello and D’Eriq King available.
“We’re looking forward to putting him to work and letting him go out and compete this spring,” Smart said back on National Signing Day.
That obviously isn’t going to happen as was originally envisioned. It might be closer to summer or even fall when we see Newman on the Georgia practice field.
With Newman not getting that time and those reps in during March, a greater emphasis will be placed on what he does when Georgia is allowed to get back on the practice field. Those lack of reps could prove critical given the Bulldogs open against Virginia and then 12 days later travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
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Dawgs on Twitter
I had a private session with 2 @GeorgiaFootball signees and 1 enrollee today. I love teaching but today was extra special with these 3 since they are the next group of great players that will play at the university I love. @laddmcconkey02 @jay_robi22 @dbassassin13. #TEwracademy pic.twitter.com/NQC43ibPwN
— TE Wr Academy (@TEwracademy) March 15, 2020
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) March 15, 2020
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) March 13, 2020
Good Dawg of the Day
Beau does not understand “social distancing” 😑 eating flaming Cheetos in my lap 😆🤦🏽♀️ pic.twitter.com/HqnolWw0i1
— Raisa Sherman-Blue (@RoyaltyDrip) March 14, 2020