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Tony Walsh / UGA Sports
Freshman tailback Daijun Edwards was one of the players looking to impress in the first fall scrimmage.

New Georgia football offense holds its own against elite defense in ‘sloppy’ scrimmage

ATHENS — Kirby Smart never comes out of a first scrimmage feeling good, so Saturday’s mixed bag on offense, defense and special teams was on par.

 

“Overall impressions, we’re behind,” Smart said after Georgia’s first full-fledged 11-on-11 stadium action since the 26-14 win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl . “Just looking at the scrimmage as a whole, we have a long way to go.”

The most important takeaway is the Bulldogs’ new offense held its own against the championship caliber defense when it was Ones on Ones, Smart said.

RELATED: 3 questions for Scrimmage One

It may have been only one sustained drive with a few plays here and there, but to do that in the first scrimmage in an entirely new offense should instill confidence among the players and staff.

Still, Smart judges things on a championship level, and he made it clear this program is not close to being ready for the Sept. 26 opening game at Arkansas.

“We look like a team that didn’t go through spring practice,” Smart said. “We looked like a team that is young at a lot of positions, (and) we were really sloppy, to be honest with you.”

Of course there were plays made, Smart revealed. James Cook and Zamir White ripped off big runs, and George Pickens was doing his thing downfield with catches.

But the fifth-year head coach indicated some of those big plays were the equivalent of fool’s gold, the result of defense breakdowns.

“For every one of those highlights, there’s a lowlight on the other side,” Smart said. “There were several long runs. James (Cook) and Zamir (White) both had good runs, mostly against the second-team defense.

“But on the defensive side, there was a mistake, a guy mis-fitted, so it wasn’t like they went out there and broke 18 tackles. They went untouched for 50 yards or 60 yards. To the normal eye that’s a great run, but to me it’s a mistake.”

Smart said it was the same for the defense with the sacks and pressures, with offensive linemen making a mistake of missing an assignment.

“When we went Ones on Ones, it was a little more balanced, there were a couple three-and-outs, but the Ones on offense also sustained a drive and made some plays,” Smart said.

“It was very lopsided when it was Twos on Ones, and I don’t feel like there were lot of big plays in the passing  game, like we’ve had some big vertical plays in practice, we didn’t really have that today,” he said. “The explosives we had were runs, and sloppy missed tackles.”

More good news is Monken’s offense has been gaining momentum.

“I think offenses traditionally start out a little slower than defense,” Smart said. “That’s just always how it’s been in football but the last three or four days there has been ray of light. There’s been more plays made.”

Smart said the top four quarterbacks got at least one set of repetitions with the No. 1 defense, though he indicated Jamie Newman and JT Daniels saw most of that work, with D’Wan Mathis getting a Red Zone series.

The offensive line is deep and talented, and Smart indicated there’s plenty of competition at right guard and right tackle.

Special teams, however, is behind schedule. Jake Camarda is punting well, but the head coach said there’s “heated” competition among four field goal kickers.

Georgia will scrimmage again next Saturday.

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