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Georgia TE Arik Gilbert comes off the sidelines at G-Day for Georgia on April 17, 2022, in Athens, Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Georgia football practice report: Todd Hartley pushing Arik Gilbert hard ahead of Oregon opener

“He has to be able to sustain,” Kirby Smart previously said about Gilbert. “He’s developing as a special teams player also—it’s something he has not done as much before. I’m always a lot more concerned with Arik’s well-being mentally than his well-being just on knowing assignments and what to do, and that’s the most important thing is that he feels comfortable with our team and can help us.”

Gilbert was being pushed hard at practice, with Todd Hartley and Mike Bobo both encouraging Gilbert to finish hard during a drill, which he appeared to do. It was interesting to note that in said drill, Gilbert was working behind not only Bowers and Washington but Oscar Delp as well. It speaks to the riches Georgia has at tight end to have some like Gilbert as a luxury.

Georgia was working in full pads today, something it usually reserved until Tuesday of game week. But it’s important to remember Georgia began working on Oregon prep last week, so the Bulldogs are a little ahead of schedule compared to where they normally would be.

The media was granted 13 minutes of practice viewing on Monday ahead of Saturday’s game against Oregon. Below are some additional observations from the practice.

Georgia football practice observations

  • A number of players were wearing scout team numbers, likely to help give a look for the Bulldogs. EJ Lightsey was wearing No. 1, the number worn by All-American linebacker Noah Sewell for the Ducks. EDGE rusher Darris Smith was wearing No. 2, worn by outside linebacker DJ Johnson. Bear Alexander was wearing No. 3, the number worn by defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Mekhi Mews was wearing No. 7, usually worn by Oregon wide receiver Steve Stevens IV.
  • Quarterback Gunner Stockton has the duty of emulating Bo Nix this week, as he was wearing No. 10 instead of his usual No. 14. Smart said earlier on Monday he was confident in who Oregon would play at quarterback. Nix is believed to be the favorite for the position.
  • As for injured players at practice, only Earnest Greene was a non-participant as he continues to work through a hamstring injury. Tykee Smith was back at practice and for the first time this year did not have a knee brace on during practice. Conversely, freshman outside linebacker Marvin Jones Jr. did have a shoulder brace, though he was a full participant in drills.
  • As for drill work, wide receiver Kearis Jackson looked quick getting in and out of his breaks during drills and showed impressive burst. Jackson left Georgia’s second scrimmage with an ankle injury but he seemed to have not limitations for Georgia, a welcome sign for the wide receivers.
  • Malaki Starks also had a nice leaping interception while working with the defensive backs. Georgia wants Starks to play quite often for them this year and will be eager to get him reps during the game against Oregon.
  • Running back Kendall Milton also looked good while going through running back drills. His size is impressive in comparison to other Georgia running backs. “Kendall is super big so it’s a challenge,” defensive back Chris Smith said of Milton on Monday. “When he drops that shoulder you have to be looking for pain. He runs with a lot power, knees very high, it’s very hard to bring him down.”

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