ATHENS — Kirby Smart turned his Georgia Bulldogs loose on one another on Thursday with dozens of high school coaches looking on at this year’s coaching clinic.
Georgia football is coming off an 11-3 season that fell short of goals. The team failed to win the SEC Championship or qualify for the College Football Playoff, and then got pushed around by Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
Smart, as a former All-SEC safety, knows better than anyone the best way to get that taste out of the mouths of returning players is through full contact.
Senior Brian Herrien continued to star in a video released from Thursday’s closed practice that proved recruiting rankings mean nothing once a prospect arrives on the UGA campus.
Herrien, expected to take on a power back role this season, blasting over sophomore and once 5-star rated Adam Anderson. Redshirt tight end John FitzPatrick provided an open-field block on former 5-star Brenton Cox.
In the opening scene of this mini-production by Georgia’s talented film crew, unheralded redshirt freshman walk-on receiver Jaylen Johnson faked out former 5-star prospect and starting cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Meanwhile, receiver Matt Landers had 5-star early enrollee Tyrique Stevenson tied up with a sound block.
The trend of Georgia defensive backs having trouble with open-field tackles continued when Tommy Bush ran through Divaad Wilson, while Matt Landers blocked incoming transfer D.J. Daniel.
It’s clear Smart and new secondary coach Charlton Warren will need to work with the defensive backs on their ability to shed blocks.
Even senior J.R. Reed had trouble getting receiver Trey Blount to the ground after wrapping him up.
Smart surely noticed former 5-star Demetris Robertson showed he could block by staying in front of Tyrique McGhee.
Sophomore inside linebacker Channing Tindall scored a win for the defense with a sound open-field tackle on elusive sophomore James Cook. Many believe Tindall could evolve into the sort of playmaker UGA sorely lacked at linebacker last season
The clip teased views with junior Thorpe Award candidate Andrew Thomas locking up with veteran defensive lineman Tyler Clark, not showing the ultimate result.
It was the second hitting drill video of the spring, and it was just as intense as the first.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) March 29, 2019