ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart declared the first full fall scrimmage a tie between the offense and the defense.
“Early on, I would have said the defense, [but] then there were some explosive plays for the offense,” Smart said. “Usually, you walk off the field feeling one way or another, I feel it was almost a split.”
Smart, entering his third year as head coach, sounded very much like it was an overall victory for the team.
Smart put the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs through approximately 150 plays on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, 60 for the ones, 60 for the twos and 30 for the threes, he said.
“We’ve got depth, we’ve got competition,” Smart said, “We had more snaps than we’ve probably ever had since I’ve been here.”
Most importantly, Smart revealed there were no major injuries despite a high level of physicality and intensity that met his approval.
“We had some physical hits, we had some good striking and toughness, and I challenged the guys that’s what I wanted to see,” Smart said Saturday afternoon at the stadium. “We had a long 2 1/2-hour practice [Friday], it was pretty hot, and they followed it up with a good scrimmage.”
The heat index climbed from the high 80s at the start of the scrimmage into the high-90s at field level by the end of the workout.
“It was a little cool early, I thought it was overcast,” Smart said, “but the sun cranked up toward the end and the guys pushed hard.”
Smart said there were some sloppy moments in scrimmage, but the offsides, false starts and face mask penalties are to be expected at this stage of fall camp.
“A lot of undisciplined things not indicative of a good football team,” Smart said. “I did think some of our older players, or I should say, experienced players, played better, which I challenged them to do this morning.
“I thought they answered the bell and really competed well, but I was proud of that.”
Indeed, Smart revealed earlier this week that he was concerned about the practice effort and focus of the top players.
“As I look out there, there are a couple of guys that you’d say, ‘OK, this is a guy who played really well last year, and he’s not playing to the level that I think he can play to,’ ” Smart said last Tuesday. “That’s probably one of the scariest things that could happen to our team.”
The Bulldogs have become well-known for their talent, with 21 active players on the roster who were rated as 5-star prospects.
But Smart has made it clear everyone has to earn their position, regardless of who started last year, or which players had what high school ranking.
“I know y’all go the 5-star syndrome,” Smart said, “but there’s a lot of guys out there that weren’t 5 stars that are competing every day.”
Georgia football scrimmage stories