G-Day: Wrap Up
Several important storylines appeared as UGA finished spring practice on Saturday
Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (18) during the G-Day scrimmage on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Athens — During Georgia’s G-Day spring game, the red team defeated the black squad 28-23 in a contest that came down to the final seconds.
The passing game excels
It was a big day for the offense as both teams combined for 787 yards of total offense.
Georgia had five quarterbacks pass for a combined total of 684 yards and five touchdowns. Redshirt junior JT Daniels led the team by completing 28 of 41 passes for 324 yards and three scores. Sophomore Carson Beck had a decent day as well with the second-team offense. The sophomore finished his second spring game by completing 22 of 31 passes for 232 yards and two scores.
Daniels said in his postgame press conference that it was the receivers who made the difference on Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say we learned anything new, being at practice, it was just another day for us,” Daniels said in reference to the receivers. “We had seen, AD, D-Rob and Kearis and other guys make plays like that before. I think part of that is just a really good quarterback room and a good system, you know.”
Daniels added that all the quarterbacks on the roster prepare every practice like starters.
“Everyone is all about doing their jobs to get better every day,” he said. “And I think you saw it in a spring game where certain things are simplified and made a little easier.”
Freshman quarterback Brock Vandagriff showed signs of excellence for the black team. He finished the game completing six of nine passes for 47 yards. The former five-star recruit had several long scrambles but finished the day with three rushing yards. Vandagriff’s longest run came on a 13-yard attempt in the middle of the second quarter. During that play, the pocket collapsed and he scrambled off the tackle for the long gain
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said that Vandagriff did have some moments where he showed his potential.
“Brock’s a great kid,” Smart said, “but he has a long way to go. He’s still learning the system and growing. Today, I thought he threw the ball well. However, he will need to get better with his vertical passing. But that will come with time.”
The red team back up Stetson Bennett finished G-Day by completing three of four passes for 58 yards.
Adonai Mitchell has a breakout day
The biggest storyline of the spring game was the production of freshman wideout Adonai Mitchell, who was one of 16 early enrollees that played on Saturday.
Mitchell led all Georgia receivers in receptions and yards. The former three-star prospect out of Texas hauled in seven catches for 105 yards and one touchdown.
“Just about AD on general, he’s very twitchy,” Daniels said. “He’s got a really good understanding of how to get in and out of breaks, which is a good case for him for when’s one-on-one. So, another part of it is him being in the X-position. It gives him a lot of one-on-one opportunities to win, and when you see that, a lot of X’s get the ball more often than not. That’s just usually the way it works out. You just go where the defense tells you to.”
Daniels added that he just takes what the defense gives him, which on Saturday included a few great matchups in Mitchell’s favor.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound pass-catcher showed a lot of skill in his first spring game. Mitchell showed some burst off the line of scrimmage and great separation when in coverage. Nevertheless, the Cane Ridge High School product has a lot of raw talent that needs to be developed.
Smart said during his postgame press conference that he knew all along that Mitchell had that ability.
'“We think we do as good of a job as anyone in the country at doing research on players and evaluating them,” Smart said. “It’s not what they're ranked or what the media says about them or what the recruiting rankings say. We watch the tape. The tape speaks volumes. In the case of Jordan Davis, it spoke volumes. In the case of Adonai Mitchell, it speaks volumes.”
Smart added that he didn’t care what everyone else thought and that his coaching staff did a great job at signing Mitchell.
“We didn’t really get to him see in the bowl practices because he got sick,” Smart said. “It was very unfortunate that he was here eight days and never got to practice once. Then, he had to go home and came back. He worked out well and he’s gotten himself in decent shape. He needs to get in better shape, but he made plays. He made plays during the spring. When you have a guy like that who steps up, it’s almost a bonus.”
Washington and Bowers have productive performances
Last season, as a freshman, Georgia sophomore tight end Darnell Washington only had seven catches for 132 yards.
Well, on G-Day, the 6-foot-8, 265-pound behemoth had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
“It was fun go guard him today,” senior inside linebacker Quay Walker said during his postgame press conference. “I like guarding him one-on-one because he makes me a better player. He’s really talented and actually, his speed was on display today.”
Washington caught his first pass of the day in the middle of the third quarter on a pass from the black team starting quarterback, Carson Beck. Beck threw a dart across the middle and Washington caught it and barreled towards the sideline for a 51-yard gain. That long gain set up sophomore running back Kendall Milton for an eight-yard score, which happened just a play later.
“I would say that we have a really great tight ends room,” Walker said. “Darnell really fits well in this offensive system.”
Daniels said that he sees a lot of development from year one to year two in Washington.
“Last year, when you’re obviously coming from high school football to college in a real NFL-type system with coach (Todd) Monken, there’s a shock that hits you right away,” Daniels said. “You know because there’s so much to it. You see a development this year. He gets the signal right away and he knows what he’s doing, not thinking twice about it this year.”
Another tight end that had an impressive G-Day was freshman Brock Bowers.
“l I can tell you that freshman Brock (Bowers) is going to have a great career as a Bulldog,” Walker said. “He’s big, physical, and can catch the ball. He’s going to be a problem in the future for opposing defenses.”o
While his high school is playing a spring season in California, Bowers has been practicing as an early enrollee in Athens. The freshman tight end had three catches for 37 yards. A 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Bowers displayed his speed on a 24-yard scamper in the first half.
“It’s only a matter of time until opposing defense learns of our tight ends,” Walker said. “In practice, we have had problems with Brock (Bowers) this spring. Darnell has been a matchup problem for the defensive backs as well. It’s a position where they are loaded.”