Georgia Football: 5 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs This Spring
Before spring practice began for the Georgia Bulldogs, we already knew a good amount of things about the team that are encouraging for the upcoming season.
We knew Hutson Mason was going to be the guy under center and he will be ready to go in the fall. We knew the defense will have a different look under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and they will have a chance to be much improved this upcoming season. And we also knew that the players who missed most or all of the 2013 season will be ready to go in August.
But after two weeks and 15 practice sessions, we learned a lot more about this team, which will make the preseason practices more interesting.
Here are five things we learned about the Bulldogs this spring.
The Defense Is Not There Yet
Based on the spring practices and the spring game, nothing is settled on defense when it comes to the starting lineup, at least that what Mark Richt said, via Gentry Estes of 247Sports (subscription required).
The secondary is the biggest concern because two walk-ons were on the No. 1 defense during G-Day. And despite having a solid front seven last year, there could and will be some changes that will make the unit stronger and faster, especially on the defensive line.
Pruitt has gone on record and said that he would have not given any post-spring awards to any of his players. So it’s safe to say the defense has a long way to go.
J.J. Green Can Be a "Star"
One of the few players who stood out did not get a chance to play in the spring game because of a tweaked ankle.
J.J. Green got a lot of praise for his work at the "Star" position, and it was vital for him to have a good spring because they are in need of a playmaker in the secondary, especially with the loss of Josh Harvey-Clemons.
Green played tailback last season and had some success. But defensive back is his natural position, and he has the chance to be the best defensive back on the roster.
The Tight End Position Is a Work in Progress
The Bulldogs never had any real issues with tight end depth since Richt became head coach in 2001.
But it’s a different story in 2014 because Quayvon Hicks was the only healthy scholarship player on the roster for the spring game.
Jay Rome has a foot injury, and Jordan Davis has a knee sprain. So Hicks, who also plays fullback, could be used as a hybrid player because Rome has injury issues, Davis’ little to zero experience and true freshman Jeb Blazevich has not arrived on campus yet.
So there will be at least one freshman who will have to play right away and back up Rome. Because the wide receiver and running back positions are so deep, lack of depth at tight end is not a huge concern. But there will have to be some growing up to do by Davis and Blazevich in order for the tight end spot to flourish this upcoming season.
Todd Gurley Is Getting Stronger and Healthier
Todd Gurley did not need to participate in spring drills, but at the same time, he kind of did.
Gurley was not healthy at the start of spring due to a lingering ankle injury he suffered back in the fall. But once he got motivated and did more reps, he looked stronger and stronger as the weeks progressed.
Gurley has done a lot for the Bulldogs the last two years. But in order for UGA to win the SEC he will have to do more, and based on the way he finished spring practice, he’s well on his way of doing that.
There Is Healthy Competition at Backup QB
Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey did a lot of good things during spring practice, and the competition between the two will go on through preseason camp.
Bauta has more experience and knows the offense better than Ramsey, but when it comes to who fits in the system better, Ramsey is that guy.
Regardless, both players are fighting for more than a backup spot. They are also fighting for a leg up in the starting quarterback role in 2015 because Mason will be gone.
So to say that this will be the best and most intriguing position battle in the preseason would be an understatement.