ATHENS — Georgia football hits the stadium for the first scrimmage of fall camp, and all eyes will be on the receivers.
Kirby Smart knows he has talent at the position, just not a lot of experience.
“They want to prove themselves …. Not that everybody doubts them, it’s just there’s a lack of experience,” Smart said in a sit-down interview arranged exclusively for ESPN.
“We just don’t have a lot of catches there. A lot of those kids we’re counting on, they’ve caught the ball a lot in practice the last two or three years, they’ve got to do it in the game now.”
It has been well-documented that UGA lost its top five pass catchers from a year ago. Three receivers went to the NFL along with a tight end. J.J. Holloman, the leading returning receiver and anticipated go-to guy, got dismissed in June.
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That leaves senior Tyler Simmons, with all of nine catches in 2018, as the leading returning wide receiver.
“These kids are salivating at the opportunity to jump all over it and go play,” Smart said.
The entire receiving corps is under the microscope, with Simmons the only truly proven product.
The battle between Lawrence Cager and Matt Landers will continue to play out, both with documented drop issues in their recent history — Cager with a shaky QB situation at Miami, Landers inexplicably in spring drills.
As much hype that has followed Demetris Robertson, he’s still proving himself with Kearis Jackson and Dominick Blaylock expected to push him in the slot.
Then there’s George Pickens, who has already been compared to A.J. Green, sending the hype train into overdrive.
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Here are 5 other players with something to prove in today’s scrimmage:
RB Zamir White
If Pickens needs advice on how to handle hype, all he needs to do is phone White, provided White isn’t too busy making yet another workout video.
CB Tyrique Stevenson
There’s been a lot of talk about Stevenson’s physicality and freakish athletic ability, but none of that matters if he can’t cover and play his assignments.
Has Stevenson kept his nose in the playbook? Can he make the open-field tackle on elite backs and receivers? Charlton Warren will be watching.
OL Jamaree Salyer
There’s been a lot of offseason talk that Georgia’s ‘Great Wall’ goes seven deep, but does it? Is Salyer ready to assume a spot in the rotation with no drop off?
Salyer came on at the end of last season and earned some first team reps in the spring, but we haven’t heard much about him lately, and he doesn’t look as cut as the top six linemen.
LB Quay Walker
Walker was learning a new position last season, but has he picked up things quickly enough to be relevant this season?
The linebacker room keeps getting deeper and deeper, and Walker might feel he’s running in quicksand. It’s important for Walker to make an impression in fall camp or game reps could be hard to come by this season.
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