ATHENS — Viewing opportunities were extremely limited Saturday, unless you were a recruit. A tour bus worth of prospects and their families were watching Georgia’s ninth practice of the spring on Saturday. The two-hour session was conducted indoors in the “House of Payne” because of the inclement weather outside.
Media members were offered an eight-minute observation window, and sports communication personnel were late in providing the required escort of reporters into the venue for that. So with such a compressed time window, our observations were limited to what one happened to see.
I made a point to check out quarterbacks and defensive line, since that is where there has some issues of late. Here’s what I saw:
Quarterbacks off target
In the brief period, I watched the quarterbacks two-spot through pass skeleton, and the ball ended up on the ground a lot. Jake Fromm and Justin Fields would each get an individual rep, then they would alternate sides out of the shotgun on two-spot snaps. That means one was on the left and the other on the right and would throw to receivers on their respective sides simultaneously, then switch sides.
Backups Stetson Bennett and Sam Vaughn would then take their turns two-spotting, which meant Fields and Fromm were getting about one extra rep per turn.
All of the throws were routes were being called out by co-offensive coordinator James Coley and scrutinized by him and offensive analyst Jay Johnson. Co-offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was working with his position group, the tight ends.
There were at least three incompletions in a row to the left side at one point. On one rep, no receiver ran a route, so Bennett simply threw the ball to an equipment staffer holding a tackling dummy. He nailed it.
It’s understandable if the Bulldogs were a bit distracted during warmups. Being the third Saturday of the spring, the team was expected to engage in a competitive and meaningful scrimmage at the end of the session.
D-line still short
There still was no sign of Michael Barnett or Justin Young with the defensive linemen. Coach Kirby Smart said earlier that Barnett will be out most of the spring with an undisclosed injury but could return. Young was out earlier this week as well.
That has left defensive line with only nine players, including walk-ons. Only two others will be joining their numbers this summer when signees Jordan Davis and Tramel Walthour enroll.
Of course, where there isn’t much quantity, there is quality. Tyler Clark, Julian Rochester and Jonathan Ledbetter represent the starters in Georgia’s base three-man front, with David Marshall, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle and Michail Carter ready to rotate in. Malik Herring, who played a lot as a freshman last season, and early enrollee Devonte Wyatt also are getting a lot of reps.
As long as the Bulldogs can avoid serious injury, they should be in good shape.