WATCH: D’Wan Mathis throws dart, George Pickens’ spectacular catch
ATHENS — Richard LeCounte’s raspy, playful voice and one-on-one battles between George Pickens and Eric Stokes highlighted an SEC Network insider presentation this week.
“Blessed to be out here fellas,” LeCounte says, opening the video, before saying in a later passage, “Like taking candy from a baby!”
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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has kept his practices locked down, save for an open scrimmage for elite UGA football boosters on Sept. 5.
But earlier this week, the Bulldogs opened the gates for their television rights holder to film football action and put live mics on his coaches and players.
The results whet the appetite for the start of Georgia football next Saturday.
“We’re gonna line up, and we’re going to see who can play football,” Smart could be heard saying. “Who can strike another man in the mouth, and play football and get off a block.”
Bodies collided early in the clip, with 6-foot-66, 330-pound nose tackle Jordan Davis straining to get through 330-pound guard Justin Shaffer and 325-pound tackle Jamaree Salyer in one sequence.
Pickens is coming off a 12-catch 175-yard performance against the Bears, and working one-on-one against the sticky Stokes and physical cornerbacks like DJ Daniel and Tyson Campbell this fall has surely been good practice for him.
Pickens is shown blowing past Campbell for a touchdown catch on one play, and making a spectacular lunging catch after pushing off Stokes on another.
The highlight clip seems to make clear what DawgNation reported on Friday, that D’Wan Mathis is likely in line to start next Saturday’s game.
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Mathis is the only quarterback featured.
Redshirt sophomore JT Daniels, the experienced transfer from USC, has yet to be cleared from the knee injury he arrived with after ACL surgery last September and an arthroscopic clean-up procedure in January.
Mathis, who has metal plates and screws in his head after a May of 2019 brain surgery procedure, is shown scrambling on one play to complete a dart to Kearis Jackson.
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On another clip, Mathis releases the football and safety Christopher Smith is shown slipping under receiver Marcus Rosemy, beating him to the football for the interception.
“It’s on them,” Offensive coordinator Todd Monken tells Mathis. “If we keep telling guys what to do, we have no chance.”
The most curious omission from the video was the backs.
Monken likely does not want to tip his hand as to how James Cook and Zamir White will be involved.
Cook has the ability to line up anywhere and catch passes, as well as run the football.
White has worked to adjust his game, from traditional deep I-Back to more of a three-down pro style back who can catch the ball and work in space.
Smart, who has said throughout fall drills he’s not satisfied with his team’s conditioning or practice efforts, delivered those messages on the video.
“We have to look ourselves in the mirror, the leaders on the team, the ones that are out here trying to push guys, trying to challenge guys, and say ‘hey man I need more effort out of you,’ “ Smart said.
“We’ve got to challenge ourselves to get in shape and condition,” he said. “I need somebody on the team to say ‘You know Coach, we’re going to fix that. We’r not afraid of work.
“I need ownership from our team. I need self pride. I need conditioning pride. I need toughness. I need guys to play good.”
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