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Sanford Stadium on gameday

What can Georgia do to improve spring practice?

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday.

How to improve spring practice

Spring practice starts next week, which is great because it’s the return of FOOTBALL. But spring practice can also be pretty dull because it’s pretty much practices no one gets to see capped off by BAD FOOTBALL that doesn’t matter.

Ben Kercheval of CBS also feels this way and wrote a post going over 5 ways colleges can improve the spring practice experience, and I figured I’d give my thoughts on some of them. They are:

  1. Open at least half of the practices to fans
  2. Tighten the practice window
  3. Turn spring games into major scrimmage events
  4. Treat those games like bowls
  5. Conduct a quarterback “All-Star Challenge”

First up, open practices. Kirby Smart doesn’t strike me as a guy who wants the public to know much of anything his team is doing, except for on fall Saturdays. He’s already spent time systematically dismantling Georgia’s open record laws on a whim, and immediately cut back on the media availability of players and coaches as soon as he set foot in Athens. So, it would be a major stretch to expect Smart to allow fans to watch many practices, much less half. He’d probably lock up his players and coaches only to bring them out on gameday before he did that.

Second, turn spring practices into scrimmages. Kercheval even uses UGA as an example to explain what he’s thinking. “Michigan traveling to Georgia? You’ll take that, right? (Jim) Harbaugh will; it’s another opportunity to have a presence in SEC country,” he wrote.

In his comments, Kercheval unknowingly stated while this will never happen, Georgia lost a top recruit to Michigan in this last recruiting cycle. Why would any coach invite a recruiter as dogged as Harbaugh to get a foothold on his turf? Maybe a scrimmage against Georgia State, Furman or another small school in the southeast could happen. But there’s no way in hell Smart would let Harbaugh, or any other coach, get free pub in Georgia on the day that’s supposed to be all about the Dawgs.

Next, Kercheval proposes that these scrimmages could take place on neutral sites, but that would sap the little fun there is out of spring games. The reason people like spring games, regardless of the school, is because it gives them a chance to get on campus and do some tailgating in the spring. For Georgia fans, it can be as much about making a trip to Athens, having a nice dinner and hitting the bars as it is about going to watch a football game. Fans want a home, gameday atmosphere for spring games, and neutral sites would ruin that.

So, I’ve poo-pooed pretty much all of Kercheval’s ideas, but the problem is I have none of my own. I think spring practice is just destined to be a boring slog. But it’s a boring slog with FOOTBALL, which is whole lot better than nothing.

Redshirt freshmen to watch

Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports looked at 25 (or so) redshirt freshmen to watch in 2017. Georgia had two players make the list from the same position: offensive linemen Ben Cleveland and Solomon Kindley:

Protecting Jacob Eason is a priority if Georgia wants to win the SEC East in 2017. And it’s no secret the Bulldogs have room to improve up front after giving up 24 sacks last season and leading the way for rushers to average just 4.7 yards per carry. Line coach Sam Pittman is one of the best in the nation but has his work cut out this spring after the departure of three starters. Pittman is expected to mix and match players at guard and tackle, so Cleveland and Kindley could fit in at either position depending on spring performance.

UGA holds 4th at women’s swimming championships

Georgia women’s swimming sits fourth in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships after two days of competition. Stanford is leading the way with 213 points, followed by California (136), Texas (119) and Georgia (112). Olivia Smoliga finished second in the 50-yard freestyle, setting a school record in the process. The competition continues on Friday and Saturday.

Diamond Dogs open SEC schedule

Georgia baseball is through the nonconference portion of its schedule with an 8-10 record. But things are about to get tougher, as the Dawgs begin their SEC slate with a trip to Baton Rouge for a three-game series with LSU. The first game of the series is Friday at 8 p.m. EST.

Outdoor T&F season begins

Georgia finished the indoor track and field season with its best finish ever in the NCAA Championships just a week ago. But now it’s straight to the outdoor season, which begins Friday with the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta.

ICYMI

Good dog

Cats and dogs walking together. Pure madness.

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