The University of Georgia football team returned to the practice field Monday morning for its third in a series of four two-a-days in the preseason.
The media was allowed 15 minutes of observation time. Here are the observations made by the Red & Black.
- After the football team held its first scrimmage of the fall Saturday, it was expected that a few players would show up to Monday’s practice injured and that expectation rang true. Freshman wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, senior wide receiver Jonathon Rumph, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kenneth Towns, junior wide receiver Charlie Hegedus, junior fullback Merritt Hall and freshman safety Dominick Sanders all wore non-contact green jerseys for the first time. McKenzie and Sanders were both not dressed out simply wearing their jerseys, but everyone else was able to participate fully in the non-contact fundamental drills.
- As they had been in the previous week, receivers Chris Conley and Justin Scott-Wesley headlined a group of other players wearing green jerseys, a group that included junior cornerback Shattle Fenteng, senior inside linebacker A.J. McDonald and sophomore inside linebacker Ryne Rankin. Also, senior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson continued to not practice but was seen inside working mobility and fitness drills with sports medicine director Ron Courson. Junior nosetackle Chris Mayes also was off the field Monday.
- Because of the injuries to Wilson, Rankin and McDonald, the inside linebacker corps looked relatively sparse Monday, sporting just four players in the unit led by senior Amarlo Herrera. Despite this lack of depth, drills appeared to still flow smoothly.
- With the starting lineup of the offensive line still unknown, it seems that every practice a different group emerges as the number one unit. Monday’s unit adhered a little bit more to expectations than previous ones had, as junior John Theus lined up at left tackle, sophomore Brandon Kublanow lined up at left guard, senior David Andrews lined up at center, redshirt sophomore Greg Pyke lined up at right guard and senior Kolton Houston lined up at right tackle.
- During Monday’s passing drills, a bizarre player lined up as a defensive back. Instead of working against air as the quarterbacks and tight ends usually do early in practice, quarterbacks had to throw around junior kicker Marshall Morgan who was imitating the position of a linebacker. Quarterbacks successfully navigated the ball around the stationary Morgan, but it was a change of pace to see the kicker on the field in that capacity.
- As for the actual passing in the drill, quarterbacks were instructed to put the ball high so the tight ends would have to reach for the ball. Many of the tight ends struggled with positioning as tight end coach John Lilly could be heard saying, but freshman tight end Jeb Blazevich did show out, making a very difficult catch look routine.
- In the next drill, the quarterbacks took turns working draw plays with the running backs. Without any deviation from the norm, senior quarterback Hutson Mason and junior tailback Todd Gurley took the first snap with redshirt sophomore quarterback Faton Bauta handing off to junior tailback Keith Marshall on the next rep. The drill was once again notable because of the performances of freshmen. Freshman tailback Sony Michel received praise from coach Mark Richt for continuing to keep the ball high and tight on his carries while fellow freshman tailback Nick Chubb receiving both commendations and critiques while still adjusting to college play style.
- As was mentioned previously, Monday’s practice was the first of a two-a-day with the second practice coming later Monday night. That practice is closed to the media and thus no practice reports will come of it.