ATHENS — Things Georgia fans need to know as this week gets started:
1. Football practice resumes
The Bulldogs will conduct three spring practice workouts this week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They will have their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. I suspect that this one will be intense both from the standpoint of competitiveness and preparation.
At that point they’ll need to be getting in their script for the G-Day Game. If you’re expecting 93,000, you best give them something to see. And while some will come to see the mystery musical guest beforehand, I would expect more will arrive wanting to see what Jacob Eason and the quarterbacks look like.
Keep in mind, the star of the last couple of G-Day games was A.J. Turman. In case you missed it, he’s no longer with the team. I’d say expect to see a lot of Tae Crowder carries.
But I do think we’ll see some real revelations with regard to the passing game, both offensively and defensively. Seeing how Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey and Eason throw the ball around, which receivers stand out and how well the Bulldogs’ secondary and linebacker corps defend will be the most telling parts of the day.
That and the kicking game. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Georgia with so many question marks in the kicking game, both placement and punts. Haven’t heard yet how live the Bulldogs plan to be during that aspect of the game. We should hear more regarding the format of the game from Kirby Smart this week. We’ll talk to him again on Tuesday.
2. Baseball gets on track
It was a good weekend for the Georgia baseball team, which took two of three games from a pretty decent Alabama team at Foley Field. The Crimson Tide (16-11, 5-4 SEC) came in with a No. 21 national ranking.
It darn near was a clean sweep for the Bulldogs (17-12, 4-5 SEC), who lost the first game of the series 10-7 in 13 innings. At five hours, 12 minutes, it represented the longest game in terms of duration in UGA history.
Of course, the highlight of the weekend was pitcher Robert Tyler’s near no-hitter Friday night. The junior right-hander’s only hit allowed came on a solo home run by Georgie Salem with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. The junior had a perfect game going through six innings before allowing a walk with one out in the frame. Tyler (3-1) finished the complete game with nine strikeouts and two walks and extended his hitless innings streak to 15.1 innings pitched before giving up the solo shot.
3. Midweek pick-up needed
Where the Diamond Dogs need to pick it up is in their midweek performances. That won’t be an easy task as No. 17 Clemson (21-7) visits on Tuesday. Georgia lost its midweek game to Kennesaw State this past Tuesday and dropped one to Mercer the previous week.
The problem is the lack of pitching depth, and Tuesday’s game with the Tigers will be another staff night on the mound. Freshman LHP Kevin Smith (3-1, 5.16 ERA) will get the start but is expected to go only few innings, according to coach Scott Stricklin. Clemson will counter with junior LHP Alex Bostic (3-2, 3.31 ERA).
The Bulldogs will carry on this week with a trip to College Station to face No. 3 Texas A&M (22-6, 4-5 SEC). That will continue a 22-game stretch against ranked opponents. Georgia is 3-3 against Top 25 teams this year.
4. Gym Dogs back at Nationals
The No. 9-ranked UGA gymnastics team scored a 196.850 to place second at the NCAA Athens Regional on Saturday and earn its 32nd appearance in the 12-team national championship meet April 15-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. However, the Gym Dogs will be a long shot to make it back to the Super Six. The top three teams from each semifinal session advance.
LSU scored 197.300 on Saturday to take first place in the regional and deprive Georgia of its 25th NCAA regional championship.