The Georgia Bulldogs are a mere three practices into fall camp, but already concerns are being addressed, new stars are emerging and injuries are taking a toll. Here are some first impressions from the Dawgs' 2014 fall practice.
Jay Rome Establishing Himself at Tight End
When he signed with Georgia in 2011, Jay Rome was supposed to be the next great Bulldog tight end. The progression of Arthur Lynch and a series of untimely injuries derailed that destiny for Rome—at least temporarily. Now, the redshirt junior is battling back to good health and a prominent role in the Bulldog offense.
I’ve basically been working in and doing what I feel comfortable doing. I’m getting a lot better. I can see a whole bunch of improvement. Still a little rusty, a little shaky on a few different things but it’s just some stuff that I’m going to have to work through and just keep getting better every day and just monitor.
No other tight end on Georgia's roster boasts Rome's experience, and that will serve him well once he's back to full speed. He told Weiszer that his play will "speak for itself."
Freshmen Here to Play, Especially on Defense
Several of Georgia's newest Bulldogs are already making an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Lorenzo Carter, the prize recruit of this year's class, has already made an impression on his teammates. Offensive tackle John Theus had nothing but praise for Carter when speaking to Seth Emerson of the Telegraph, pointing out the outside linebacker's speed, size and "nasty streak."
In the secondary, freshman Malkom Parrish and junior college transfer Shattle Fenteng are turning heads in the early parts of fall camp.
Parrish is playing both the cornerback and star position, and as Jake Reuse of UGASports.com points out, fellow defensive back J.J. Green thinks the freshman can play:
Meanwhile, Green told Emerson that size and length really set Fenteng apart at the cornerback position. "You see his size and think: He plays corner? He’s rangy, he’s lean. He can make plays that short people probably can’t make."
Injuries Still a Factor
Just a few short days ago, optimism surrounded Georgia's deep wide receiver rotation thanks to the return of Malcolm Mitchell, arguably the most talented playmaker of the bunch.
As Chip Towers reported for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mitchell is now expected to miss at least "the first part" of training camp.
Last year, Mitchell suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the Dawgs' first game. Now, his future is yet again unknown. As a result of Mitchell's latest setback and an unknown timetable for the return of Justin Scott-Wesley, some fans fear the Bulldogs may once again be without a truly elite deep threat.
In reality, a number of Georgia players are capable of going the distance and getting behind opposing secondaries.
|Other Bulldogs with Reception in Excess of 40 Yards in 2013|
|Player||Length of Reception||Opponent|
|Reggie Davis||98||North Texas|
|Keith Marshall||48||South Carolina|
|Chris Conley||43||North Texas|
Storylines to Watch This Week
Georgia will move into full pad practices this week. A few developments worth keeping an eye on:
- Physical Freshmen: How will talented youngsters hold up against collegiate hits for the first time? Look for Carter and running back Nick Chubb to use their unique combinations of size and athleticism to make an impression.
- Offensive Line Lock-in: John Theus continues to rotate between left and right tackle and both guard positions remain somewhat up for grabs. With real pressure and real banging taking place in the trenches, a starting lineup should soon emerge.
- Defensive Secondary: Similarly, pads should bring some separation in the secondary, where new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has thus far utilized a deep rotation with little differentiation.