Georgia football-kirby smart-spring practice-2022
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart watches over the first Bulldogs’ practice session Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh

Backup quarterbacks, co-defensive coordinators and Arik Gilbert: 5 questions Kirby Smart faces as Georgia starts spring practice

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Georgia football begins spring practice on Tuesday

Georgia will take another big step into the 2022 season on Tuesday as the Bulldogs hit the practice field for the first time. No longer will Nakobe Dean be calling the defense or James Cook and Zamir White be carrying the football. It will be a new team and one that has high expectations.

Before the Bulldogs step out onto the practice field, head coach Kirby Smart will speak with reporters to discuss the latest with the Georgia team. Smart’s words often carry significant weight, even if it seems like Smart is offering very little in terms of substance.

He’ll be asked about a number of issues, ranging from his thoughts on his team trying to repeat as champions to who might be the new leaders for this team. Below, we dive into some of the topics Smart figures to get asked on Tuesday.

Carson Beck vs. Brock Vandagriff

Stetson Bennett is going to be QB1 this spring. Smart likely won’t come out and name him the starter as he did with JT Daniels a season ago, but Bennett figures to get the most snaps with the first time offense after starting 12 games for Georgia last season.

But Bennett’s development seems to be the undercard to what should be a battle for the backup quarterback job between Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff. The former seemed to win the job last season, only for Bennett to pass him in the pecking order in the fall. Vandagriff enters his second season in the program, looking to further deliver on his 5-star promise.

Gilbert has always been a fascination with Georgia, dating back to his time as a 5-star recruit in the 2020 recruiting class. He enrolled at Georgia last summer and went through a handful of fall practices before stepping away from the team in August.

The pass-catcher — we’re still not really sure if he’s a wide receiver or tight end — was spotted with the team at its championship celebration and all reports indicate will be with the team this spring. In theory, that means he’ll be on the practice field with the Bulldogs.

Related: Former UGA great provides update on Arik Gilbert’s status on DawgNation Daily

The intrigue surrounding Gilbert might even outstrip his massive potential. Yet there’s been such little concrete news, it has only fueled speculation about Gilbert. Smart might not offer much in terms of what Gilbert might be able to do but expect to get something on the status of Gilbert on Tuesday.

What are the expectations for the early enrollees?

Smart spoke glowingly about the 19 early enrollees on National Signing Day, excited about what they can bring to the program. But don’t expect Smart to offer much praise for standout prospects like Malaki Starks, Mykel Williams or Oscar Delp in the coming weeks.

NextGeorgia football needs Jalen Carter to answer Kirby Smart’s challenge …
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