ATHENS — Georgia football was back in Sanford Stadium, and the quarterback play has never looked better.
The Bulldogs held their annual G-Day Game on Saturday, the first-team offense (Red Team) defeating the first-team defense (Black Team) by a 28-23 count.
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Coach Kirby Smart agreed with most of those watching that any team would be hard-pressed to have the sort of quality quarterback depth that the Bulldogs feature behind JT Daniels.
Daniels looks, plays and sounds like an NFL quarterback. It’s amazing when one considers that at this time a year ago, no one knew who he was.
Most of the buzz, of course, is over the new faces and new names that stepped up and had strong performances.
Quarterback JT Daniels: It almost seems repetitive, but Daniels looks better every time out, and his command of the offense is striking when compared to other collegiate quarterbacks.
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Georgia has a championship quarterback if it can surround him with championship talent. Daniels was 28-of-41 for 324 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Quarterback Carson Beck: It was impressive to see the leaps Beck has taken since the limited viewing at one of the scrimmages last fall. Beck looks fluid playing the position, and his arm strength and pocket presence are on par with what a future starting SEC quarterback should look like. Beck finished 22-31 for 236 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
Tight end Darnell Washington: The sight of Washington running over a defender and rumbling 51 yards was impressive and exciting, in the sense that this is the sort of special playmaker the Bulldogs need to emerge.
Receiver Adonai Mitchell: Seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown is an impressive stat line, and while there were also two drops, it’s important to note this is a true freshman. Mitchell works hard and he’s given himself a chance to be in the rotation next season.
Linebacker Quay Walker: The number seven appears to suit Walker well, as he made a game-high 8 tackles and played his position with authority. Georgia will need more from Walker this season as he looks to replace veteran Monty Rice.
Offensive guard Tate Ratledge: The second-year offensive lineman has obviously impressed Matt Luke, earning a start in the G-Day Game. This represents huge progress and a great deal of work for Ratledge.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken: The OC is typically the most second-guessed and underappreciated coach on staff, but not at Georgia. Monken has brought the best out of Daniels and his progressive Pro-Style offense seems to bring out the best in the Bulldogs with those Air Raid principles.
Offensive line: It almost feels like piling on when one considers the offensive line mission in spring drills is to build depth and flexibility by moving players around. Then, to throw them out there against what might be the best defensive line in college football? Still, it’s a no-excuses game, and the head coach identified the offensive line as the group that needs to make the biggest leap before next season.
Tape delays: The SEC Network does many great things for the league and should be celebrated for all of the talented hosts and analysts. So why won’t the game be showed on tape delay until Tuesday.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Ladd McConkey: Could McConkey be a future return man for the Bulldogs? As is, his quickness and alert play was noted at receiver. McConkey also showed he could take a hit when Kelee Ringo delivered a shot.