ATHENS — It’s not raining outside, and not supposed to rain, but the Georgia football team practiced in the new indoor facility on Thursday, for the first time this preseason.
This being the fourth straight practice, it’s not surprising Kirby Smart would take the team indoors, to gird against exhaustion and tired legs. The media was allowed the customary two periods, totaling about a dozen minutes, and this reporter focused on a couple different areas.
STARS AND SLOTS
There was an interesting drill going on, which Smart was watching closely: It appeared that the candidates for the vacant star (nickel back) position were matched up in a passing drill against the various players who are working at the slot receiver position.
- The players at the star included senior Aaron Davis (perhaps the slight favorite at this point), junior Jarvis Wilson (normally a safety), freshman Deangelo Gibbs, and walk-on senior Tim Hill. … If Davis wins the job, then sophomore J.R. Reed would likely be the favorite to win the safety job, though a younger player (Wilson or freshman Richard LeCounte) could make a run at it too. If someone else, such as Gibbs, is awarded the star, then Davis would slide back to the starting safety spot.
- Meanwhile, the players at the slot receiver included tailbacks (Sony Michel, Brian Herrien and D’Andre Swift), and tight ends (Isaac Nauta, Charlie Woerner and Jackson Harris).
- Interestingly, when Michel left the slots to return to the tailbacks, Herrien and Swift stayed with the slots, who were joined by receivers (Mecole Hardman, Terry Godwin, Ahkil Crumpton). So apparently Herrien and Swift, seemingly blocked by Michel and NIck Chubb at tailback, are getting a long long for possible action at the slot.
There were also competitive drills here during the media viewing period, but they were O-line vs. O-line. It was 2-on-1 action, teaming left tackles and left guards against someone, a center and guard against someone, and so on. A few observations:
- The first-team offensive line appears unchanged at this point, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Left to right it’s still Isaiah Wynn, Pat Allen, Lamont Gaillard, Solomon Kindley and Dyshon Sims. But this is just the fourth out of 29 practices, so plenty of time to go.
- Freshmen Isaiah Wilson (at right tackle) and Netori Johnson (right guard) at one point went against Ben Cleveland in one drill. Wilson got a good push, and Sims got excited: “Now that’s how you pick a man!”
- Sims, incidentally, is very active and vocal. How much he plays remains to be seen, but he’s taking an active leadership role, especially with the young guys.
- Sims was also taking snaps at center, as were walk-on Sean Fogarty, walk-on Thomas Swilley and redshirt freshman Chris Barnes. The team is figuring out who would be next one in if something happened to Gaillard, whose spot is fairly secure.
- Freshman Andrew Thomas was working at left tackle, as was junior college transfer D’Marcus Hayes.
- Senior Aulden Bynum looked to be getting snaps at left guard, and sophomore Sam Madden was getting snaps at right guard.