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Georgia football-Kirby Smart-Kelee Ringo-Arik Gilbert
Georgia defensive back Kelee Ringo (5) during Georgia’s practice session in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia football practice observations: Pads come on, passing drill thoughts and NFL scouts come out

Chris Smith might not be one of the biggest players on the team, but he is easily one of the most physical. Dominick Blaylock knows that first hand, as the senior safety barrelled through Blaylock while Georgia was working on a passing drill. The defense was testing out their dime package looks, providing plenty of good-on-good reps.

Smith blasting Blaylock to break up a pass helps demonstrate that the Bulldogs were ready to hit the ground running on Tuesday, as it was the first time Georgia was in full pads this fall.

The full pads also brought out a number of NFL scouts as well, with the Chargers, Colts, Seahawks, Raiders and Packers being among the teams that hand scouts on hand to watch Georgia practice.

“We’re going to be in full pads for the first time today, and that’s actually how you play the game nowadays, in full pads,” Georgia co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said. “We’ll know a lot more as we continue to move forward.”

Related: Georgia football safety Chris Smith ready to show younger teammates what it means to play big

The media was granted about 16 minutes to watch practice on Tuesday, the sixth practice of the fall for Georgia. Below are some of our observations from the practice. Georgia is set to scrimmage on Saturday, its first of the fall.

  • In the half-line passing drill, Malaki Starks learned firsthand about Georgia’s talent at tight end. While working with the first team, Starks had to defend Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert on consecutive reps. A very tall task for a freshman. Starks made an error in covering Gilibert, leaving the big tight end open down the field. Smart then spoke with Starks about what went wrong on the rep. “They’re difficult to defend because number one, from just a football play standpoint, it’s not always necessarily about the scheme but about the players,” Muschamp said of the Georgia tight ends. “And then putting them in positions to be successful, and those guys take advantage of those situations as players.”
  • AD Mitchell and Arian Smith were both successful in executing double moves, which led to long gains. Mitchell was able to create just enough separation to get by Kelee Ringo as Stetson Bennett dropped in a ball to the sophomore receiver. He continues to impress this spring and looks more impressive with each practice. Smith’s speed allowed him to create a little more distance against Nyland Green. Beck completed the pass to Smith, though the redshirt sophomore wide receiver did have to wait a bit for the ball to come in.
  • The first team dime look had Ringo and Kamari Lassiter at corner, William Poole at star, Smael Mondon as the dime linebacker with Starks rotating and Chris Smith and Dan Jackson at star. The second team look had Green and Everette at corner, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Tykee Smith as the dime linebacker. David Daniel-Sisavanh and JaCorey Thomas at safety and Javon Bullard at star. “We’re looking to find the best four safeties we can find,” Smart said last Thursday. “We didn’t have enough DBs. We don’t know what that’s going to look like this year in terms of, Do we have six effective DBs or are we more talented at the linebacker position that we have to have more linebackers on the field?”
  • In the same practice period, Branson Robinson showed some strong hands when hauling in a pass. Conversely, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint dropped a well-thrown ball by Beck and Dillon Bell had a drop as well. Earlier in the practice, Bell showed some nice burst while working with the receivers. Darnell Washington also earned some praise from Smart as well on Tuesday.
  • While all three players were in their normal uniforms, outside linebacker Robert Beal, inside linebacker Trezmen Marshall and wide receiver De’Nylon Morrissette were off working with a support staffer as opposed to their position groups. It’s far too early to note whether those players were dealing with injuries but it was at the very least curious.
  • At the start of practice, Smart made it known to everyone via the loudspeaker that he wants to see left tackle Broderick Jones lead. Jones certainly has the talent to be one of Georgia’s best offensive linemen.

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