ATHENS — For the first time this fall, the Georgia Bulldogs were out on the practice field. The Bulldogs were just in helmets on Thursday morning, as the team will take a few practices to get acclimated before going full pads.
While it wasn’t the hottest practice on record, it was certainly muggy due to the early morning thunderstorms. And while some Georgia players were adjusting to the climate, Kirby Smart wasn’t cutting anyone any slack.
“We want to get better and we want our players to grow and get better,” Smart said on Wednesday. “You don’t get better by not practicing. We’re going to be physical, we’re going to go against each other and we’re going to compete.”
The Georgia head coach got on multiple newcomers about either the lack of running to the next drill or having their helmets off. Among those who got a taste of Smart on the microphone include wide receiver Dominic Lovett, linebacker CJ Allen, cornerback Daniel Harris and wide receiver Tyler Williams.
Georgia rarely practices in the morning but the Bulldogs were doing so on Thursday morning due to some players finishing finals. That could partially explain why veterans Kamari Lassiter and Warren Brinson were not spotted at practice. Neither player was listed as injured by Smart on Wednesday when he spoke to the media.
The Georgia head coach did say some players were dealing with hamstring injuries but it’s too soon to speculate if that is the case for Lassiter and Brinson.
Below are some additional practice observations that DawgNation saw from Georgia’s first practice. Reporters were granted about 20 minutes to watch practice. The Bulldogs will have 24 more between now and the team’s first game against UT-Martin.
Georgia football practice observations
- Georgia clearly thinks it has something in Lovett. The Missouri transfer was the first player up in the slot position when quarterbacks were passing on air. What’s more, is that both Smart and wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon were very hands-on when instructing Lovett. Fellow transfer Rara Thomas did not receive the same level of attention and was farther back in position drills.
- In the first wide receiver drill, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Ladd McConkey were the first up as the outside wide receivers.
- Carson Beck was the first one going through drills at the quarterback position, but nothing should be made of that at this point. Brock Vandagriff was working with the two’s and had an impressive throw on a slot fade to Anthony Evans while throwing on air. Beck had overshot a similar throw in the drill, with Mehki Mews as the intended receiver.
- On the defensive side of the ball, Marvin Jones Jr. was receiving a lot of instruction from position coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe during drills. Similar to Lovett, Georgia has big plans for Jones. He missed spring practice due to a shoulder injury, so this was the first time through drills this year for the promising outside linebacker.
- With no Lassiter, Nyland Green and Daylen Everette were working as the first-team cornerbacks. Julian Humphrey and freshman AJ Harris were on the second-team. At inside linebacker, Xavian Sorey was repping next to Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Smael Mondon was not out at practice, as he is dealing with a foot injury.
- Branson Robinson and Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins were also not spotted during practice, which tracks based on what Smart told reporters about injuries on Wednesday. Mykel Williams was out at practice though, an encouraging sign as he is coming off foot surgery. He was not repping with the same intensity as others in the defensive line, due in part to Georgia wanting to be cautious with his recovery.
- Freshman Kyron Jones was repping with the safeties, while fellow 2023 signees Chris Peal and Daniel Harris were practicing at cornerback. This was the first practice for eight 2023 signees who enrolled over the summer. The other five were: inside linebacker Troy Bowles, offensive linemen Bo Hughley, Jamal Meriweather and Kelton Smith and kicker Peyton Woodring.
- Freshman Anthony Evans was working as a punt returner for the Bulldogs. It’s too soon to say he’ll occupy that role for Georgia come the fall, but the coaches want to see what the freshman from Texas can do.