3 & OUT REPORT: G-DAY SPRING GAME
During game week the staff at Dawg News Daily previews the matchup between the Bulldogs and their opponent. We focus in on 3 key position matchups or players that we believe will be the difference makers in Saturdays game.
ATHENS, GA - Georgia's annual G-Day spring scrimmage is set to kickoff on Saturday, April 16th, at 1:00PM inside of Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs are coming off their 1st National Championship in 40+ years, 14+ Bulldogs are gone from last seasons team, who are set to hear their names called later this month in the NFL Draft.
Not only did UGA lose players from last season but also a few coaches. Georgia has 4 new position coaches (Will Muschamp, Fran Brown, Bryan McClendon, Chidera Uzo-Diribe ), 18 early enrollees, and now has 10 players enter into the transfer portal.
Needless to say Coach Kirby Smart had to turn the page quickly on last season with all the change in Athens.
The Spring is a good time to get "re-focused".
Below are a few positions or particular players we will be watching closely during Saturday's Spring game:
DAWG NEWS DAILY'S 3 & OUT REPORT:
1) Carson Beck & Brock Vandagriff (Backup QBs)
Despite who is getting reps with the "1's" in the spring, Stetson Bennett will be the starter come September. But that doesn't meant there hasn't been development of the quarterbacks directly behind him.
Sophomore Carson Beck and redshirt freshman Brock Vandagriff have received plenty of praise for the progress they’ve shown this spring.
Beck has grown comfortable with offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s system and what’s expected of him.
“I feel like Carson and Brock have really moved in terms of their ability to make decisions to handle the offense, to handle everything that goes into being a quarterback with our offense, which is a lot of decision making, a lot of protection, a lot of communication,” Smart said on 680 The Fan on Wednesday. “They've both done a really good job of getting better at that. You only get better through taking the reps, so thank goodness we've been able to get them a lot of work.”
Beck and Vandagriff will get to showcase their development in Saturday’s scrimmage. Remember last Spring the Dawgs threw the ball a lot in the Spring game (41). As for the Fall, the real competition at quarterback appears to be whether Beck or Vandagriff winds up being Bennett’s backup. But remember this was the same thoughts everyone had heading into last season.
2) Arik Gilbert
Dawg Fans will finally be able to put their eyes on LSU transfer Arik Gilbert.
There were plenty of questions about Gilbert after the former LSU tight end left the team last fall before rejoining in time to participate in the Bulldogs’ Spring practices/workouts. Gilbert has received rave reviews from Head Coach Kirby Smart and his teammates this spring.
With both Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington being declared out this spring due to injuries and Ryland Goede getting hurt early on, Gilbert has seen plenty of time on the field with the starters this Spring.
Coach Smart chimed in at the end of MArch on Gilbert's status this spring...
“He's comfortable in his own skin right now, and he's got a way to go. He has not arrived,” Smart said on March 31. “He's come so far from not being able to execute a play to be able to execute a play, know what to do, and hurry back to get the call for the next play and line up. I'm just proud of the way he's fought to learn it. He's fighting stamina out there because he is taking so many reps. I'm really pleased with his growth."
3) Linebackers & Defensive Line
Gone are stalwarts Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall, & Quay Walker at Linebacker. Heralded defensive tackles Jordan Davis, Devontae Wyatt, & Travon Walker are expected to hear their names in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. So Who's next to fill the BIG Shoes of these players and their positions.
DT Jalen Carter returns and is certainly is no slouch. At times those close to the program thought he was maybe the best of the bunch.
Zion Logue will have the opportunity to man the invaluable role Devonte Wyatt filled, and Tramel Walthour is primed to be a breakout playmaker up front with Travon Walker headed to the NFL. The Bulldogs certainly aren't lacking for talent, they're but are these Dawgs who waited in the wings ready for the bright lights?
Right behind the Defensive Line will be a few other holes to fill at Linebacker. Chaz Chambliss and Jamon Dumas-Johnson will surely get a shot along with Smael Mondon. All highly ranked recruits that had to wait their turn last season.
Coach Kirby Smart Talked about "POP" (Dumas- Johnson) earlier this spring.
“I almost didn’t know who you were talking about, because he goes by Pop for us,” said Smart. “Pop’s done a good job, he’s getting opportunity, that’s the biggest thing. You could make the case that he’s probably where all those guys were – Quay (Walker), Channing (Tindall), Nakobe (Dean) it was their second year – when really he’s still in his first year if you really want to look at it in the gran scheme of things.
“This is a young man who didn’t play football his senior year due to COVID. So he came in a little heavy, he’ll be the first to tell you he was too heavy when he first got here. He had not played a season, so he was rusty, but he helped on special teams, played some time in games when we had leads. But he’s trying to take on a leadership role. There’s a real big void, and this common theme you’ll here is there’s a void there because of all the guys who left, and also the guys injured.”
Last season, Dumas-Johnson played in nine games and recorded 21 tackles with two sacks and a pick six. Although he played a limited role, his impact was felt on the field.