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Talkin’ Spring Ball: Three Keys from G-Day

Three Keys from G-Day

Spring Ball is over. It’s time to look for the Fall. Georgia held its final scrimmage of Spring Ball in its annual G-Day game. The Red and Black teams, consisting of the first-team offense and second-team defense vs. the first-team offense and second-team defense, battled to a 20-20 tie. After the scrimmage, Kirby Smart shared his thoughts with the media. Like many coaches, Smart maintained a positive outlook and set an optimistic tone as the countdown to the game against Clemson in Atlanta begins. We will analyze his statements and key statistics from the scrimmage to get you up to speed on the three keys from G-Day

Talkin’ Spring Ball: Three Keys from G-Day

New Headsets on Offense and Defense

Sign stealing was all the rage in chat rooms and social media in 2023. The noise may have helped speed up bringing headsets to the college game. Georgia was one of several teams trying the headsets in practice this Spring. Smart was excited about their use. “We got to use the new headset model. Both quarterbacks had headsets and could talk to the coordinators for 15 seconds. We had one on defense, so we could use three and get comfortable. Operation-wise, we put so much on our practice operation that the game is usually easy.”

The committee will decide the future of the technology in the game on April 18. Georgia’s quarterbacks had little issue with the headsets and showed out on Saturday. Carson Beck finished the day throwing for over 300 yards and had a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Don’t let the interceptions scare you. Smart raved about his quarterback’s leadership this Spring. “Carson had a great Spring, to me. He’s got quiet leadership and a lot of confidence. When things aren’t going well, kids, players, and the O-line turn to him. He knows how to navigate a pocket, he knows where to go with the ball, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen on defense.”

Beck’s backup, Gunner Stockton, also had a nice afternoon. The Redshirt Sophomore completed 19 of 32 passes for 235 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception. Stockton wasted little time showing off his big arm.

3 G-Day Stars on Offense

It wasn’t just about the quarterbacks; Georiga had a few nice performances from key contributors on offense.

Trevor Etienne

Etienne figures to be RB1 heading into the season. A traffic incident during the early part of camp does make his status for the opening game against Clemson questionable. His talent is not in question. Smart raved about what Etienne brings to Georgia’s offense. “He’s different than what we’ve had. I think the Swift analogy is good. Cook’s analogy is good. Look, the guy’s been a good SEC player for two years. It’s not like he’s a freshman. He’s a really good player and a really good kid. I’ve been proud of the way he’s his deal.” Etienne saw limited action Saturday, rushing four times for 24 yards with a long run of 18.

Roderick Robinson, Jr. 

Robinson is likely to be the thunder to Etienne’s lighting in 2024. If Etienne is suspended, Robinson seems ready to fill the gap. Smart raved about the sophomore. “He keeps getting better. He’s got toughness. He takes coaching well. Big, physical guy.” Robinson ran the ball 11 times for 27 yards.

Dominic Lovett

Georgia has one of the deepest, most expansive receiver rooms in the country. Smart said they have five or six guys vying for time, and that’s not counting the tight-end room. The numbers back up his claims. Five players had six or more catches, and three had at least four receptions. Lovett showed that he is growing more comfortable in the offense and will look to make a more significant impact in year two. The senior had ten catches for 104 yards and caught an eye-popping touchdown.

Defense Shows Promise

We wrote last week about how the defense took a small step back in 2023. Smart was encouraged by his defense’s performance on Saturday. “The defense played much better today than in previous scrimmages regarding energy, enthusiasm, and running to the ball. We rushed the passer better today.” The defense had three interceptions and three sacks on the day. Defensive lineman Mykel Williams showed his athletic prowess on a tipped ball inside the red zone in the second quarter. As cool as the play was, Williams was more excited to celebrate with his teammates after. “It was awesome. I think that was my first time to tip one to myself. It was great to celebrate with the guys.”

The secondary still has plenty of questions as Georgia breaks spring camp for the summer. Smart talked about the youth and inexperience in his secondary. “We lost three really good football players there. We’re thin. We got better in the secondary, but we’re not where we need to be in terms of being able to make plays on the ball down the field and be able to affect the quarterback.” With the Transfer Portal opening on Tuesday this week, this may be an area of interest for Smart and the Bulldogs.

In Case You Missed It…

Last Word has been your source on Georiga’s 2024 Spring practices. Over the next few weeks, we will look at the Spring Transfer Portal and the NFL Draft before we lock in with our eyes on the fall. Here are links to the various pieces covering Spring Ball this season.

Hot Dog!

A final quote to show that G-Day was not all business for Smart. There was talk about a steak and lobster dinner for the winners of the scrimmage. So what do the players get when they tie? For Smart, it sure wasn’t going to be surf and turf. “I told him it was beans and weenies for a tie. It’s kissing your sister. The guys that played both sides of the ball, we had a couple of guys change over teams. I was not going to let them eat steak for changing teams and being selfless. They didn’t approve.” By the way, the players still got their steak and lobster. Now it’s time for them to prepare to eat in 2024.

Three Keys from G-Day
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK


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