Quarterbacks adjusting to Mike Bobo, Brock Bowers a machine, ‘everybody practices at Georgia’

Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff confers with Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo during an earlier spring practice. Bobo is a hands-on coach, and it will be up to Vandagriff and the other UGA quarterbacks to adjust accordingly. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh

ATHENS — Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs held their sixth practice (of 15) of the spring behind locked gates on Saturday.

“Everybody practices at Georgia,” Smart could be heard saying over the mic while the team was taking reps outdoors on the practice fields. The team moved indoor for more “competition reps” as Smart called them over the mic.

Many anticipated the team might hold a formal scrimmage, but a large crane hovered beside Sanford Stadium on Saturday, likely preventing the Bulldogs from taking to the field for traditional scrimmage action between the hedges.

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The early competition does not hold the same allure as past seasons, as Smart’s championship teams have layers of quality depth and talent, with several players part of the plan on offense and defense.

Smart wants to get the 21 mid-term enrollees and three transfers involved early, and he has no intention of determining the team’s starting quarterback this spring.

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The eighth-year head coach, in fact, went so far as to drop hints that he wants to see the QB candidates get game reps before drawing any conclusions.

Reports from spring drills to this point indicate Smart has another hard-working team, but this one moves at even greater speed from drill to drill.

New offensive coordinator Mike Bobo appears much more hands on, while every bit as intense as departed offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Former Georgia quarterbacks who played for Bobo have made it clear that Bobo brings the same sort of intensity to the offense as Smart does on defense.

The returning Bulldogs’ quarterbacks — Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton — are likely still adjusting to the tone of a different offensive leader.

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Vandagriff has had a more “commanding presence” than a season ago. Having put on 12 to 15 pounds in the offseason, Vandagriff brings a dimension as a runner along with being a more accurate passer this season.

Beck is athletic, and while not the same kind of runner as Vandagriff, he has appeared to be the most pure passer of the three. Beck’s experience would seem to give him an edge, but there are surely things he will need to learn to do differently that could mitigate some of that experience.

RELATED: Kirby Smart tips hand on key trait in Georgia football QB competition

It would seem Monken leaving was a bigger blow to Beck than any other player with the UGA program.

Stockton is a fast study, but as one might expect of any young quarterback, he has made some ill-advised throws early in the spring workouts.

Smart and his coaching staff have stressed forcing more turnovers, as turnover ratio was one of the few areas where Georgia football did not excel in 2022.

Other early trends include Swiss Army knife Austin Blaske taking first-team reps ahead of redshirt freshman Earnest Greene lll at left tackle, and freshman tight end Lawson Luckie off to an impressive start.

RELATED: Two big reasons Austin Blaske in thick of competition

Brock Bowers, it should be noted, continues to find a way to be on the field at most all times.

The two-time All-American is truly inspirational, to the point Smart is spreading his legend with stories like the one he told in Macon earlier this week.

According to Smart, two of Georgia’s younger tight ends attempted to “tag team” Bowers during 110-yard sprints.

RELATED: 4 takeaways from Kirby Smart reloading championship program

“These guys decided, ‘you go hard, then I go hard, then you go hard and we’ll (beat) him … if we tag team, we don’t have to run as hard each,” Smart said.

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