G-Day brings the advent of the UGA football season, and with it the anxiety of not knowing how to talk about football at watch parties and tailgates. If studying for finals made studying for G-Day slip your mind, here are five talking points for the scrimmage on Saturday.
1. There’s a new kickoff rule
Just what we needed — another way to make college football more complicated by changing rules. Remember all the footballs Rodrigo Blankenship sent sailing through the opponents’ end zones? Well, the NCAA recently approved a new kickoff rule where the ball doesn’t have to be caught in or go through the back of the end zone to result in a touchback, where the receiving team starts on their own 25-yard line. With the new rule, the team getting the ball can now fair catch any ball inside the 25-yard line and it will result in a touchback. This change was made for player safety reasons during kickoff.
2. Justin Fields is a five-star quarterback recruit
Hey now, you’re a five-star! Justin Fields, an incoming freshman from Kennesaw, will make his between-the-hedges debut on G-Day. Based on his high school performance, 247Sports Composite classified Fields as a five-star athlete. His dual-threat ability, meaning he can run the ball as well as throw, gives him a strong leg up in competition. There is a lot of speculation whether he is going to take Fromm’s place as quarterback — but for now, it might be best to stick with the guy who took the Bulldogs to the National Championship. However, you never know what could happen, and Justin Fields might be the player to surprise Bulldog fans.
3. The linebackers all graduated
With Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy, Reggie Carter and Lorenzo Carter all gone, Georgia’s current linebackers have big shoes to fill. Thankfully, there are some Bulldogs who are ready to try on these proverbial shoes and take them for a spin. Both senior D’Andre Walker and sophomore Walter Grant are outside linebackers looking for that starting position. At inside linebacker, senior Juwan Taylor and sophomore Monty Rice are ready to showcase their skills as well.
4. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb graduated too
Who’s going to run the ball now?! The bromance to end all bromances won’t play football for the Bulldogs again, but that doesn’t mean that their impact on their former teammates is gone. And there are some up-and-coming players ready to make their mark — including junior Elijah Holyfield and sophomore D’Andre Swift (once he recovers from an injury). Just a refresher — these are the guys that either block, take the football and run with it to score or catch passes from out of the backfield to score. You’re welcome.
5. Rodrigo is alive and kicking
UGA’s latest rap god is returning to Sanford Stadium to remind us all to #RespectTheSpecs. If it has slipped your mind, the respect is well-earned. Last season, Hot Rod kicked his career-longest field goal for 55 yards during the 2017 Rose Bowl against Oklahoma. Even with the new kickoff rule, you can still expect this kicker to show up and show out with some great kickoffs, extra points and field goals on G-Day.