What You Need to Know: Saturday Edition
Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Smart talks quarterbacks
According to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, starting quarterback J.T. Daniels is taking his spring practice reps seriously, which is a positive for Bulldog Nation.
Smart said that the California native is “all about business.”
“…JT’s has always been about his business, that’s JT,” Smart said on Saturday afternoon following the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage. “JT’s very serious, he’s very intuitive. He has growth he can go through. For him, continuity is important, and we haven’t had great continuity with this back out or that receiver out. So, we’ve ping-ponging guys around. That’s always tough. I think he’s asserted himself more in terms of the command of the offense. ‘Get the signal, get the call, hurry up let’s go. We are too late to this motion. We have to get into the call.’ There’s a lot of things that help you feel comfortable in terms of being able to call plays as an offensive coordinator, and he understands those things and does a good job.”
The rising sixth-year head coach added that Stetson Bennett, Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff are all practicing hard, although a backup hasn’t been named yet.
"Uh, yeah, all three of them are getting reps, and all three are going to be really good players,” Smart said. “They continue to work hard. They all got reps today. I think each one has a different strength, and each one has a different weakness. You know, I mean, for each one, they're growing.”
Last season, Daniels was a backup quarterback until the seventh game of the season. He sat behind Bennett and former UGA quarterback D’wan Mathis. Now, being the clear-cut No. 1 guy, Daniels is making sure he keeps that top spot. However, it helps if the next three on the depth chart are doing well, too.
“Brock has the least amount of reps and, I guess, familiarity with the offense, so his learning curve is greater,” Smart said. “But he's also picking it up quick, especially for a mid-year freshman. Stetson does a good job in the pocket. He moves, he's athletic, he understands the offense, and he can do things with his frame because he's taken a lot of reps. Then Carson has done a good job this spring."
According to those who were at the scrimmage, Beck and Daniels had strong performances. The battle for the No. 2 spot is expected to continue on into the fall and up until the start of the season.
Brock Bowers impressing the coaching staff
Georgia’s tight ends room is talented with rising sophomore Darnell Washington the favorite to win the starting position come fall.
Redshirt junior John FitzPatrick had a decent 2020 as he finally saw more playing time, although his stats didn’t jump off the charts. This is really true to say about any Georgia tight end in the last couple of years, but now with offensive coordinator Todd Monken calling plays, production could increase.
Freshman Brock Bowers is a guy to keep in mind because he’s equally as talented as FitzPatrick. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound tight end has a lot of raw talent, although now it’s all about how he can channel that at the collegiate level to improve.
Smart said that Bowers has impressed him thus far, but will have to continue to work hard to get to where needs to be.
“He’s a talented guy,” Smart said. “He’s bright and learning quickly, he’s got some speed and burst and he has great hands. He’s got a ways to go in the blocking game in terms of the run game, but that’s something he’s going to develop.”
Smart added that having great hands is important and that attribute already puts him in competition for playing with the others.
He’s got toughness,” he said. “He’s going to continue to work in the weight room, and get stronger. But he can do things with the ball in his hands, and he’s a good athlete. This kid lined up at tailback in high school, and made plays, so he’s used to carrying the ball.”
Smart updates injuries
In the last two weeks, Georgia has lost two of its top three receivers (in terms of production) from a season ago.
George Pickens is unlikely to return for the 2021 season but could play a role if he heals faster than expected. That’s something that Smart pointed out that has happened in the past with previous players’ ACL injures. Rising sophomore Jermaine Burton hyperextended his knee in a practice earlier this week, and Smart gave an update on his status during Saturday’s presser.
“He's day-to-day,” Smart said. “That's what it is. It's not anything past that. But I don't think we should sensationalize the other things, because it's all part of football. We had other guys get injured today, and it's a lot bigger deal when everybody writes, 'Oh, a receiver, another receiver is hurt.' The receivers are going to be fine."
Smart berated media members for jumping to conclusions and did not elaborate on who else got hurt on Saturday.
An important question that was asked was about the status of rising sophomore receiver Arian Smith, who allegedly hurt his wrist during the scrimmage today.
Smart confirmed this during the presser but assured reporters that he was going to be alright.
"Then, with Arian today, he sprained his wrist, and he should be fine,” he said. “I don't know if he'll be back Monday. I don't know that. They're still doing the X-rays, but I know he sprained his wrist. So, let's not have a lot of overreaction, if you don't mind.”