Tate Ratledge-Georgia football-offensive line
Georgia outside linebacker Adam Anderson (19), Georgia offensive lineman Tate Ratledge (51) during the 2021 G-Day Game on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (photo by Rob Davis)
Rob Davis

What we hope to learn about Georgia football during fall camp

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Georgia football enters pivotal preseason practices

We’re 30 days away from Georgia’s season-opening game against Clemson. The Bulldogs begin fall camp on Friday and still have a number of key issues to sort out. We take a look at identifying the most interesting aspect at each position entering the preseason practices.

Quarterback: How does the back-up battle shake out?

JT Daniels is going to be Georgia’s starting quarterback. He’s probably going to be pretty good. We won’t find out how good until the season unfolds but the Bulldogs are in very good shape with Daniels at the helm.

Related: Mixed opinions regarding JT Daniels’ outlook ahead of pivotal season

But there’s real intrigue in how the quarterbacks behind Daniels perform. Stetson Bennett, Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff will all compete for reps and look to continue to improve.

Bennett is the most well-known option with him starting five games last season. Beck will look to continue to build off a strong spring practice where he showed some promise while leading Georgia’s second-string offense.

Then there is the freshman Vandagriff. He was a 5-star quarterback in the 2021 recruiting cycle and has the highest upside of any quarterback on the roster. He briefly showed what he could do in the spring as well.

How those latter two quarterbacks develop will be worth keeping an eye on as they look to be the first option off the bench in the event something happens to Daniels.

Running back: What does James Cook’s role look like?

Georgia might have the deepest running back room in the country. Zamir White, Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh could all be starters elsewhere and will look to make up a potent ground game.

Then there is the senior in Cook. He’s not the physical runner that the other three options are. But he’s the fastest back in the room and a dangerous pass catcher.

Last season Georgia should it was willing to use Cook in a variety of ways. It will have to do so again if the Bulldogs are going to maximize his talents. Cook led Georgia in yards per carry last season with 6.73.

Related: Usage of James Cook should be telling about direction of Georgia offense

Balancing Cook’s strengths with that of the rest of the running back is a good problem for offensive coordinator Todd Monken. How he employs all four running backs will be worth watching over the course of the season.

Wide receiver: Who can emerge at the X position?

If Georgia had a healthy George Pickens, he’d be the obvious starter here. However, he’s still recovering from his ACL injury he suffered in March.

“George has made great progress. George is running straight line,” Smart said. “When you see George out there running it gets you excited but you also realize that running straight line is a lot different than playing football. He’s still a ways away.”

Related: Georgia football offseason winners and losers

Instead, Georgia will likely look to some members of the 2020 signing class to emerge at this spot. Jermaine Burton could play here, but the Bulldogs are also likely to play him often at the Z position on the other side of the field.

Justin Robinson impressed in spring practice, though he was held out of G-Day for precautionary reasons. He’s got the best size of those that signed with Georgia in the 2020 cycle.