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Dawg Post Practice Report: Kirby Lets Them Know

April 17, 2018

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ATHENS - It was one of those practices where Kirby Smart was all over perimeter players to do what they need to do in order for the run game to get that extra explosion. 

And I’m not talking about Jake Fromm’s non-hold (Ok, it was a bit of a hold) on the final play of the Rose Bowl. This drill more more: Hey, we might be losing one of our best perimeter blockers - Michael Chigbu‍ - the rest of y’all had better pick it up. 

They didn’t pick it up the way the third-year coach would like. 

Like Kanye West, he let them know, but without the harsh rhetoric.

We are in the final week of spring football - only a couple months removed from a season that involved this program beating three of the top 11 teams of 2017. This iteration of the Bulldogs, the spring 2018 version, won’t be quite the same when we get to August. But it will be in the ball park of what we see today. 

This spring the buzzing of a quarterback competition has whizzed around social media and on the message boards. I don’t see it right now. Its not necessarily that Jake Fromm‍ is awe inspiring physically, because he’s not. But he’s steady. Justin Fields‍, too, is going to have to make major progressions from where he’s at right now. Today he sprayed the ball too often to be call consistent. 

The running backs, stacked as they are, aren’t ready to play a real football game this week. The tight ends got plenty of Kirby’s salt and pepper during practice today. The receivers did as well. Guys like  Matt Landers, who should have a good career when its all said and done, can’t drop perfectly-throw balls in stride. Is that picky? 

What if DeVonta Smith dropped the the game-winning pass in January?

You get the point. 

The details matter, and they matter all of the time. 

I worry about the long-term progression of D'Marcus Hayes‍ on the offensive line. He’s shuffled to a backup role, and can’t seem to gain traction, but seems to draw a lot of criticism. Again, we are only out there a limited amount of time, but its time to get rolling for him. 

The defensive backfield is so far removed during practices, it really feels like you have to rely on speculation and second-hand to know what’s really going on there. Middle linebacker is a logjam, but that’s not always a bad thing because guys who aren’t playing a ton of snaps there are players on special teams, and special teams matter - ask Oklahoma and Auburn about that. 

The biggest thing I would take this spring from the newcomers is:

Let’s slow down the Justin Fields talk for the time being. This isn’t a race to August. He’s going to need to develop. UGA hasn’t had a guy like him in my memory. D.J. Shockley wasn’t the No. 1 recruit in the country, and just because Shock is black doesn’t mean him and Fields are “similar”. They are going to play a different style of quarterback. 

Cade Mays‍ and Brenton Cox‍ are the two freshmen who I hear the most about. I’m relatively certain Cox has the ability to be a pure star… maybe sooner than we anticipate. But again, these guys are freshmen. 

I’ve still got my money on Zamir White‍ impressing this fall. 

You know the rest. This program isn’t waiting on freshmen any more. Stars are limited because this feels more like a team than a group of high-level players running around in the same uniform. This program seems to be giving the feeling of the 2012 team and 2002-04 teams.  Those squads had some impressive talent, but the group was better than any one player - perhaps with the exception of Zamir. 

I’m telling you - wait and see.

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