For as much outward focus that has been put on the College Football Playoff matchup against Ohio State, Georgia is instead looking inward for improvement right now. And that is going to give a big opportunity to several young players.

While the Bulldogs have begun practicing ahead of the Dec. 31 game, they aren’t focusing exclusively on the Buckeyes. Georgia is treating these sets of practices like they would for spring practice or fall camp.

That means more opportunities for young players while staying physically and mentally sharp.

“We’ve been practicing to maintain staying in shape and making sure our guys are ready, sharp physically and ready to do things,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “So we’ve kind of been practicing ongoing.”

Georgia is set to get some extra bodies this weekend, with nine members of Georgia’s 2023 recruiting class set to begin practicing with the Bulldogs before the team breaks for Christmas. Those nine names are: Wide receivers Anthony Evans, Tyler Williams, Yazeed Haynes, tight end Lawson Luckie, defensive linemen Gabriel Harris and Jamaal Jarrett, linebackers Raylen Wilson and CJ Allen and defensive back AJ Harris.

Related: Georgia football recruiting: Three lists that will triple the excitement level for the 2023 recruiting class

Once Georgia gets to Atlanta for bowl practices, those youngsters won’t be able to join the Bulldogs. But one only has to look at the experience Mykel Williams and Oscar Delp got last year to see how important that experience is.

Smart wouldn’t single out players any that had impressed him already, but these practices are going to be invaluable not just for members of the 2022 team, but setting things up for the Bulldogs going forward into the 2023 season.

”It’s great to put them at the forefront and let them get quality reps where they’re not necessarily the scout team,” Smart said. “They make up the twos and the threes and sometimes the fours in some positions that get a lot of reps and a lot of growth.”

Given how many players Georgia had to replace off of last season’s team — 15 draft picks, 13 transfers — these practices a year ago proved invaluable for the likes of Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Kamari Lassiter and many other inexperienced players who became key starters for the Bulldogs this season.

The same will likely be said for players such as outside linebacker Marvin Jones Jr., cornerback Daylen Everette and wide receiver Dillon Bell

Related: Kirby Smart updates injury status of several Bulldogs as College Football Playoff prep begins

While getting ready for Ohio State will eventually become a priority for the Bulldogs, right now Georgia is focused on becoming better. With what we’ve seen from this year’s Bulldogs, there is a good bet that ends up happening.

“We get a lot of practices in, once you include walk-throughs,” Smart said. “So I’ve seen these guys have exponential growth and really become good players before spring even starts.”

Kirby Smart on the importance of practice for young player

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