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What we learned about the 2019 Georgia football team through the first week of practice
As hard as it might be to believe, Georgia has been back practicing for a full week now. The team will have Friday off before the first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday.
Even though there have only been limited viewing windows — and only two fully-padded practices — there have been some interesting nuggets and tidbits that have stood out so far regarding the team. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the quotes and observations that have caught our eye so far:
A pecking order emerges at quarterback:
Jake Fromm is obviously going to be the starter for Georgia this year. But as for his back-up, there were some questions coming out of spring whether it might be Stetson Bennett or D’Wan Mathis.
But following Mathis’ offseason brain surgery, it’s looking like Bennett would be the first guy off the bench should Fromm be unable to go. While Mathis is able to practice in a controlled environment, it is still not known whether or not he is fully cleared for contact. The longer it takes for that to happen, the harder it becomes to see Mathis possibly passing Bennett on the depth chart.
Another Zamir White story:
White has been one of the most asked about players during fall camp, and that was to be expected given his injury history and perceived talent. It is interesting to note that White has not had a knee brace on during the first couple of padded practices.
As for how he has looked so far for Georgia, teammate Eric Stokes was blown away pretty early on.
“I am just happy that he is really out there,” Stokes said. “I literally remember the first play of this year during camp and he burst through a hole and me, William Poole, all looked at each other like ‘Dang, he was really moving on them.’ So I am really excited to see what he is going to bring.”
You can guarantee that Smart will be asked about White’s progress following Saturday’s practice.
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High praise for the freshmen at wide receiver:
Given that George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock are the two highest-rated wide receiver signees the Bulldogs have landed in a decade, a lot of eyes were going to be on them this fall. Georgia must replace its top-five receiving leaders from a season ago, so there is going to be an opportunity for those two to earn playing time early on.
And so far the reviews have been very good. Pickens has drawn an AJ Green comparison from safety Richard LeCounte.
The junior safety also gave a pretty in-depth scouting report on Blaylock as well.
“When he catches the ball, you might as well get ready to tackle,” LeCounte said. “I see him as a great possession guy that’s fast. His speed is very deceptive if you’re not ready for him.”
But for as much praise as Pickens and Blaylock have gotten, they still have their work cut out for them. A clear pecking order has emerged at wide receiver so far, as Tyler Simmons, Lawrence Cager and Demetris Robertson have spent most of the time running with the first team during the media viewing portion of practice.
Depth a concern at tight end?
Georgia was down two tight ends at practice on Thursday, as neither Eli Wolf or Ryland Goede were spotted at practice. Furthermore, John Fitzpatrick — or “FitzMagic” as Todd Hartley has been calling him — had a massive elbow brace on.
Wolf and Goede could very well be back at practice on Saturday during the scrimmage. The Bulldogs don’t have a lot of experience at the tight end position outside of Charlie Woerner. And even more could fall on his plate this season if some of the other guys in the room are not able to stay healthy.
Does it ultimately matter who starts at right guard?
Georgia is one of the few schools that can claim it has the best offensive line in the country. Part of the reason is because of tremendous depth the Bulldogs have along the offensive line. There’s a real chance that former 5-star prospects Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer both end up not starting this season.
The left tackle, left guard and center spots seem pretty certain as Andrew Thomas, Solomon Kindley and Trey Hill seem like locks to start at those respective positions. It also appears Isaiah Wilson will be the starter at right tackle, despite getting pushed by Salyer.
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