ATHENS — Kirby Smart is clearly locked in on a strong finish to the Georgia football spring practice session.
The Bulldogs head coach did not mince words on Saturday when assessing his team or the second major scrimmage held last Thursday.
“All around, it was not as good a scrimmage as the first scrimmage, which was probably disappointing,” Smart said. “When you change schedules, sometimes young kids don’t adjust to that.”
Georgia was originally supposed to scrimmage on Saturday, but it was moved up on account of the forecast for heavy rains, which proved correct.
The Thursday scrimmage was underway for a decent amount of time before it was moved inside after a nearby bolt of lightning.
Georgia is working toward making college football history in its quest for a three-peat, something that has not been accomplished in the modern era. The last team to accomplish a three-peat was Minnesota in the 1930s.
The Bulldogs have two practices left before the annual G-Day Game takes place at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Here’s a stock report based on Smart’s comments on Saturday:
Tykee Smith: The West Virginia All-American transfer is healthy and finally ready to soar, based on Smart’s comments.
“Tykee has been good. He’s been a leader. He does a really good about punching balls out. There are things he has to continue to work on to be an every-down player for us. But he’s tough, he’s physical. He embodies what we want in a football player.”
Earnest Greene & Austin Blaske: The two players working at left tackle have big shoes to fill with first-rounder Broderick Jones moving on, but Smart likes their toughness.
“Earnest waves somebody off because he wants to stay out there and get his reps. His ankle was dinged was up one time. Blaske, the same thing with his shoulder and knee. I see the guy limping. He wants his reps. I respect more than anything a guy’s mental and physical toughness. They both have that.”
Lawson Luckie has been one of the best surprises of spring drills, but Smart wants to make sure the freshman tight end stays sharp.
“He does have some savvy route running. He’s got really good hands. He continues to improve but he can’t think he’s all the way there.”
Carson Beck & Brock Vandagriff: Mike Bobo has a lot of heavy lifting to do with new QBs and impact skill players, but Smart indicated decision-making is improving.
“Less bone-headedness today than previous,” Smart said. “I don’t think the second scrimmage was... there were moments where concede the down, live for another down.”
Branson Robinson: Smart is seeing growth from the second-year tailback.
“You see more things he needs to improve on because you get to see more things, period. You also see flashes of explosiveness, of burst, of improvement. He’s had a couple of runs where he’s really shown flexibility to drop his pads and take on contact and keep going. Knock on wood: His ball security has been good. His pass-pro could use some improvement, but he’s improved on that.”
Xavian Sorey is one of the more athletic players on the roster, and Smart is seeing the football skills kick in more often.
“He’s shown some exceptional acceleration in flashes. Consistency is the biggest thing with him. There might be a mental lapse every now and then and he’ll be the first to admit it that when he gets it right, he can be really good.”
Kicker Jared Zirkel has impressed the head coach of late.
“Zirk (Zirkel) actually had two of the better I’ve ever seen any field goal kicker have outside in the wind, against the wind. He’s been really consistent in terms of hitting kicks and he’s going to be in competition, obviously, this fall.”
Receivers: Smart noted “a lot of false start penalties, alignment issues — two people moving,” and he seemed to indicate the younger and newer receivers were having issues.
“I don’t know how many mid-year receivers we’ve got. What do we have, three or four? Three mid-year receivers, two portals, that’s five. So five people basically trying to learn a new language, and it is a new language because they didn’t speak that language prior to coming here. So that’s a little bit of the frustration there.”
Damon Wilson: When the head coach publicly singles out a player, it’s an indicator he’s expecting very big things.
“(Wilson) is going to be a really good football player if he decides he’s going to work at it. It’s not going to come as easy as maybe it did in high school.”