5 Georgia football things to watch at G-Day Game
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has made it clear there are plenty of questions to be answered this spring.
The Bulldogs’ annual G-Day Game will provide an opportunity for the viewing public to have a look for themselves and come to their own opinions.
“I think we’ve got a really good football team coming back,” Smart said. “I think we’ve got an exciting team.”
Georgia brings back one of the deepest, most talented teams in the nation and is among the favorites to contend for the SEC Championship in addition to a national championship.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the G-Day Scrimmage on Saturday at Sanford Stadium
Football is a game that demands we follow the ball, and it all starts in the quarterbacks’ hands, hence their place as the most visible player on the team.
Georgia’s situation is clear-cut with Jake Fromm returning as a third-year starter and Heisman Trophy contender.
Fromm has been mentoring early enrollee D’Wan Mathis, a 6-foot-6, athlete who has run a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters and can throw a football 70 yards, by Fromm’s account.
UGA also has Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on in the program who knows the offense, went away from UGA for a year to junior college, and he has returned as a signee intent on winning the backup job.
Like most spring scrimmages, G-Day is set up for the offense to win with no-contact jerseys on the quarterbacks, and defenders taking extra care not tackle as aggressively as they might in regular-season games.
Still, the personality of a team can show through, and many will be tuned in just to see how the offense looks under new coordinator James Coley.
The run-pass balance shouldn’t be scrutinized as much as new formations, the amount of tempo UGA players with and how different players are used.
Georgia’s not going to give away the 2019 game plan, by any means, but there could be some new base plays introduced.
Georgia has 14 early enrollees, most of whom will be playing in the G-Day Game.
The outside linebacker position is filled with competition after the additions of Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson.
Smith was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2019 signing class, while Johnson was the No. 1 junior college recruit.
Both are explosive playmakers, to the extent that Smart made a “superman” reference to their ability to stand out.
There are other rising stars to look for, such as inside linebacker Nakobe Dean and defensive backs Tyrique Stevenson, D.J. Daniel and Lewis Cine.
Again, Georgia is not going to reveal the game plan, but there’s a good chance Fromm will look for some of his favorite targets early in the scrimmage.
The Bulldogs lost four of their top five pass catchers from a season ago, and work is in progress to ensure there’s no drop-off.
Receiver J.J. Holloman is the leading returning receiver on the team and has made spectacular catches in earlier scrimmages as shown on released UGA highlight footage.
Fellow receivers Tyler Simmons and Demetris Robertson will factor in heavily, and Smart has been impressed with Matt Landers.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see tight ends Charlie Woerner and John FitzPatrick targeted often, as UGA looks to replace Isaac Nauta and transfer Luke Ford.
Georgia fans could be challenged by the threat of weather, but most don’t need much of an excuse to make a trip to Athens.
One of the top college towns in the nation, The Classic City has several great places to eat and visit.
Thus, even with the possibility of rain, the Bulldogs should draw the largest spring game crowd among the SEC schools this season.
Alabama currently has drawn the most, with 62,000 at its “A-Day Game.”