ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart embraces the spring football process, challenging his players and watching them grow.

The 2024 version of the Bulldogs is still coming together with Mike Bobo building an offense around quarterback Carson Beck, and Glenn Schumann sharpening the defense.

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Georgia will scrimmage on Saturday, so with that in mind here are 3 takeaways from Kirby Smart early this spring:

Backing Trevor Etienne

Smart is confident in his judgement and loyal to his players, and that was apparent after Trevor Etienne’s well-documented off-field incident.

Etienne is a home run hitter in the backfield, arguably the most valuable explosive offensive weapon, and a potential 1,000-yard rusher.

“I think he is a great kid and a great person, (and) we have gotten to know his family,” Smart said. “He enjoys being coached, and he is a bright kid. We push him hard out there, and he really loves the competition.”

Transfers in the making

It’s inevitable Georgia will lose more quality players after the spring drills, with older back-up players likely being afforded paid opportunities to start elsewhere.

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The Bulldogs might also add in the spring transfer window (April 15-30), as well, with Smart keyed on building a championship roster.

Most importantly, the best players aren’t going anywhere.

Still, it’s clear the Georgia head coach knows conversations are taking place.

“I don’t have a phone tap on anyone’s phone, I don’t have a wire, I am not the feds, I don’t know,” Smart said, referring to widespread tampering in the sport.

“I can only tell you that when kids come in to see me, they have a plan. They either did some pre-planning or something occurred. It is really almost impossible to navigate, monitor or police. I will be honest, I don’t get lost over it because the kids that stay will be the ones we coach.”

Oscar Delp leadership

Georgia has a leadership vacuum that needs to be filled, along with some big shoes at the tight end position with Brock Bowers’ departure.

Oscar Delp is stepping up and should ensure quality leadership on offense and a capable dual-threat tight end that will keep UGA running versatile two-tight end sets.

“Oscar is really physical, (and) he does things his way,” Smart said. “He is not Brock, he doesn’t try to be Brock, he is a quiet leader, similar to Brock, but he is really physical. He is tough. He knows the work ethic it requires.

“The guy is taking a lot of reps since being here. He has been durable. He is doing a good job leading in that room, as well as (Lawson) Luckie is.”