Georgia wide receiver Kearis Jackson (10), Georgia wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (81), Georgia wide receiver Jackson Meeks (17) during a preseason scrimmage on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia football practice observations: New jersey numbers for offensive skill players, Tykee Smith not spotted

We are less than 10 days from the start of Georgia’s 2022 football season. Among the new faces on the team, several returning players will be wearing new numbers for the Bulldogs.

Among the players wearing different jersey numbers were Arik Gilbert, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Jackson Meeks. Gilbert went from No, 14 to No. 7, Rosemy-Jacksaint is now wearing No. 1 after wearing No. 81 for the last two seasons. Meeks is wearing No. 9 after he wore No. 17 last season.

Changing numbers is nothing new for Georgia and the Bulldogs will sometimes even do it in-game in order to help get players on special teams. Smael Mondon would wear No. 20 so he and Kendall Milton could play special teams last season, while Dominick Blaylock briefly donned the No. 83 so he could return punts last season.

The Bulldogs will begin focusing on Oregon prep in the coming days, shifting away from the camp atmosphere. The game against Oregon is one of the more marquee games to open the 2022 season, as Georgia is the No. 3 team and Oregon is ranked No. 11 in the initial AP Poll.

As Georgia continues to get ready for the big game, the media was granted 13 minutes of practice viewing on Wednesday. Below are some of the observations from the practice:

  • One notable absence from practice on Wednesday was senior defensive back Tykee Smith, as he was not spotted among the defensive backs in the group. Smith is still recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last fall prior to Georgia’s game against Kentucky. Just because Smith was not at practice does not mean that he had a set back, as Smith did post a story to his Instagram account on Tuesday evening with a child.
  • The other Bulldog who was not seen was offensive tackle Earnest Greene. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury throughout fall camp. Mekhi Mews and Brett Seither were both in red jerseys for the first time this fall, as the wide receiver and tight end had previously been in black, non-contact jerseys. We should mention that Andrew Paul was not out at practice, as he suffered an ACL injury on Saturday.
  • On the offensive line, Xavier Truss and Tate Ratledge were getting the first team reps at left and right guard respectively. Devin Willock was the second team left guard and Jared Wilson was the second team right guard. Ratledge had been dealing with a turf toe injury but he seems to be fully healthy again: “I’m feeling great,” Ratledge said. “It’s been a process getting back of course, but the more I work at it the better I feel. It’s been a pretty good fall just getting back into it.”
  • Georgia’s edge rushers were working in coverage drills and two freshmen came down with effortless interceptions as Marvin Jones Jr. and Darris Smith both looked impressive in the drill. Add in veterans Nolan Smith and Robert Beal, and Georgia has a very strong present and future group of edge rushers.
  • It was an up-and-down day for the tight ends based on the viewing portion seen by the media. Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington both earned praise on the afternoon, with Bowers’ speed being very evident while completing a team passing drill. Meanwhile, freshman Oscar Delp had a drop, while Gilbert went out of bounds rather easily, leading to some encouragement from tight ends coach Todd Hartley.
  • The best pass of the drill seen by the media came via Brock Vandagriff, who dropped a beautiful 40-yard pass over the shoulder of freshman Dillon Bell. By all accounts, Bell and Vandagriff have both had good camps so far: “In our practices, I’d say 80 percent of the time, there’s two quarterbacks on the field because we’re doing multiple things,” Kirby Smart previously said. “So that helps the development of those guys, certainly Carson and Brock are ahead of where Gunner is, and both of those guys are different but they both play winning football. They do an incredible job of understanding. They both took some reps with the ones today in preparation, and they continue to get better.

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