ATHENS — Kirby Smart was still in sideline temperament Saturday afternoon when he took to the podium to break down the first Georgia football scrimmage of fall camp.
The Bulldogs head coach was not pleased with a 115-play workout that was interrupted for 30 minutes by lightning and lacked the energy he was looking for at Sanford Stadium.
“It probably wasn’t the kind of scrimmage I was expecting to have, and it wasn’t the temperament and the enthusiasm but we’d gotten,” Smart said at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. “We got after it on Friday, but I didn’t think we had the same juice today as a team.
“Both ones’ (current starters) units were a little lethargic, not real good timing, and some busts on defense.”
The good news, Smart said of the disappointing play of the current first teams, “is we’ve got time to clean it up.”
Georgia opens the season at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 at Vanderbilt.
Smart was more impressed with his second-team receivers than the first-team unit.
“It was up and down, there were some guys that made some plays, especially with the two group,” Smart said. “The one group, we probably didn’t have as many. There were a couple of drops out there.
“I’ve been pleased with those wide receivers, the work ethic, the things they’ve done in practice up until today. A couple of the twos made plays right across the board, but a couple of the ones didn’t.”
Smart was asked about freshman George Pickens making a one-handed catch, but he deflected and said several players made plays.
“George was out there and has been catching the ball every day, but so was Dom (Dominick Blaylock), Tyler Simmons, D-Rob (Demetris Robertson), Matt Landers, Cager, all those guys were,” Smart said.
“(Robertson) has got to continue to work and improve. He’s got Kearis (Jackson), (Willie) Erdman, Dom, he’s got a lot of guys behind him that are competing and pushing.”
Georgia’s celebrated “Great Wall” offensive line wasn’t able to set the temperament Smart was looking for, even though he qualified that by saying UGA didn’t call as many run plays as typical.
“I can tell you that the standard to me is not that you’re going to go out there against the two defense and not score on 50 percent or 60 percent of your possessions,” Smart said. “You’ve got to go convert and score, but that’s not all on them.
“That’s on the entire unit as a whole to execute and come out, wide receivers catching balls, quarterbacks doing things, the running backs breaking tackles, and the O-Line dominating the line of scrimmage. We didn’t do that today, not with the one offensive line.”
Georgia has three linemen on the preseason Outland Trophy Award watch list, but the head coach made it clear they weren’t in award-winning form.
“I know if you’re not scoring points on offense, there’s probably not going to be a whole lot of linemen up for awards,” Smart said, “and we didn’t score a lot of points today.”
Zamir White contact tough
Smart sounded pleased with where White is at physically, but he made it clear there’s more work to be done from the No. 1-ranked back in the 2018 signing class.
“He was running behind his pads, he had a couple of short yardage runs that were crucial. third-and-ones, fourth-and-ones, he was able to churn it out and get first downs,” Smart said. “He did have some good catches. He had a good overall day, he has got to protect the ball, he has got to protect the quarterback, but everyone judges him with the ball in his hands, but there’s a lot more to being a good running back than that.”
Stetson Bennett strong
Second-team QB Stetson Bennett was another example of a second-teamer who had a good day, leading what Smart said was a 13-play touchdown drive.
“It seemed like the longest drive ever, against the ones defense with the two offense,” Smart said. “He was really steady, really consistent, converted a third-and-one, converted a fourth-and-one, just kept going. It was a long drive. He executed well. He moved around the pocket well. He did some good things.”
Smart provided injury updates on Georgia players who were missing or limited.
CB Tyson Campbell suffered an undisclosed injury
LB Nate McBride did not scrimmage due to injury
DL David Marshall (foot) did not see full number of snaps
DL Julian Rochester (knee) did not see full number of snaps
TE Ryland Goede is injured and expected out until Wednesday
TE Eli Wolf was wearing a non-contact jersey
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart