ATHENS — Last year, there was all kinds of anticipation heading into the G-Day Game. This year, not so much.
Not that it won’t be an entertaining and fun-filled afternoon. Always is. Or, at least, it has been under Kirby Smart.
Hasn’t Dan — 0 vs. Kirby — Mullen learned anything yet?
Smart will laugh all the way through the turnstiles about that one. Based on our previous G-Day experiences under the Bulldogs’ coach, they should run down most of those marks pretty easily. Average G-Day attendance his three springs has been 80,439 (which doesn’t include however many extra thousands were in Sanford in 2016).
Initially, Smart drummed up interest in G-Day through marketing and promotion. But then he leveraged 2016’s “93K Day” with on-field results and recruiting successes in 2017. So now Smart can simply state that G-Day is important to him and so it should be to everybody else. That’s what he did this year.
But there are some obstacles to overcome this year. The game falls on Easter Weekend, which may keep away some fans from farther reaches. And from the standpoint of sheer intrigue, there is simply not as much to anticipate this year as we’ve seen previously.
For the first time in Smart’s tenure, there is not the overriding subplot of a quarterback competition such as there was with Jacob Eason vs. Greyson Lambert, Eason vs. Jake Fromm, and then Fromm vs. Justin Fields. There aren’t lot of anticipated lineup shakeups otherwise, either. Heir apparents abound.
There certainly will be the resident battle for reps, as always. That will be the case at wideout, D-line and in the secondary. But there remains some skepticism about how much Saturday’s proceedings will move the needle one way or another at those positions. More likely, the rotations we’ve seen most of the spring will be the ones that are employed in the fall, with the possible exception of a few late arrivals.