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What we learned about Georgia football as second scrimmage approaches
The Bulldogs have transitioned from full-blown camp mode to a more regimented practice schedule now that school is officially underway at Georgia. But the past week was still illuminating, as Georgia conducted its first scrimmage last Saturday.
The Bulldogs will have their second scrimmage on Saturday and based off what Kirby Smart said last Saturday, there are a number of areas the team can improve on.
After talking to players and Smart this past week here are some of the things we learned about the Georgia football team during its second full week of practice:
Quarterback: Jake Fromm has to standout
Smart did not mention Fromm once while recapping Georgia’s first scrimmage. But the head coach did make it clear the first-team offense did not play up to its standard. And even though Fromm is just one of 11 on the first-team offense, a lot ultimately falls on his plate.
“Both No. 1 units were a little lethargic, not real good timing, some bust on defense, so there are some things to clean up,” Smart said.
Fromm is in no danger of losing the starting position, but the junior quarterback still has some pressure on him. If Georgia is going to win its first national title since 1980, Fromm is going to need to elevate his game. And based on the first scrimmage results, he did not do that.
Related: ESPN’s ranking of Jake Fromm shows national opinion still split on Georgia quarterback
Fortunately, Fromm still has plenty of time to fine-tune his game.
Running back: Load management is going to become a thing
Load management entered the cultural lexicon in 2019 due to the way NBA teams handled resting some of their superstars. That term is often going to be mentioned with the Georgia backfield in 2019 as well.
D’Andre Swift was briefly absent from practice on Tuesday. He did return to practice on Tuesday and was back out with the team on Thursday for the media viewing portion. But it’s still going to be a story worth watching, given Swift’s history with injuries.
There’s also the fact that another Georgia running back Zamir White is coming back from a torn ACL. While all reports indicate he’s been excellent this fall, Smart and offensive James Coley aren’t going to try and go 100 miles per hour with White in the first few weeks of the season.
Related: The 5 big questions Georgia football still must answer before Vanderbilt opener
Georgia hasn’t had a running back top 23 carries in a game since Smart’s first game at Georgia back in 2016, so the Bulldogs have shown that they’re going to spread the ball around. Expect them to do that a lot in 2019 with the depth and concerns about the running back room.
Wide receiver: Pickens, Pickens, Pickens
The story of the first scrimmage was the catch by the 5-star freshman George Pickens. Smart didn’t single out Pickens with praise, but the leaked video would’ve blown any words Smart had to say out of the water.
DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell caught up with Pickens’ older brother, who provided a detailed scouting report of what to expect from the talented freshman.
“He’s a competitor, man. He is a ball of energy. People are going to be aware of that around him,” Chris Humes said. “They are going to want to match this dude’s intensity. He hates to lose a game. He hates to lose on a route and he hates to lose on any ball, be it a jump ball or a slant or anything.”
It has yet to be seen if Pickens will be a starter for Georgia when it takes the field against Vanderbilt. But if he can make a few more viral grabs, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep him off the field.
Related: The big winners from Georgia’s first 10 practices of the fall
Tight end: Todd Hartley, feeding the fire
Three Georgia tight ends met with the media this week, and all three gave more insight on new tight ends coach Todd Hartley.
And the big takeaway is that Hartley is a very passionate coach. And while an off-switch might exist for the new coach, his players like that he’s intense pretty much all the time.
“He definitely brings the intensity. He’s got a thing called ‘feed the fire,’” Charlie Woerner said. “It deals with fighting the disease within and the sinful nature we have as humans. Being selfless [is something he talks about]. He brings that ‘feed the fire’ attitude, and we bring that every day and try and help each other.”