Some of the major storylines from Saturday’s G Day Game should be obvious if you even halfway sort of kind of follow University of Georgia football. Yes, a new English Bulldog, Boom, will be coronated as Uga XI. And someone will trot out to quarterback the first team offense who isn’t named Stetson Bennett. At least, we think so. That guy could only be harder to get rid of if he wore a goalie’s mask and terrorized kids at a New England summer camp.
But those aren’t the only interesting angles to the most glorious glorified scrimmage in all of college football. Here are a handful of other things to keep an eye on tomorrow afternoon.
They were merely freshmen. Two years ago Brock Bowers gave the first hints of his future All-American status with a breakout G-Day performance. And it’s likely that another early enrollee will serve notice this weekend if his intent to make an impact from day one.
But who will it be? Tight end Lawson Luckie was impressive during the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage, and has gotten some meaningful reps behind Brock Bowers and Oscar Delp in a talented tight end rotation that has room for youthful contributors. Another candidate is freshman tailback Roderick Robinson, who’s gotten work while several other backs recuperate from injury. I wasn’t exceptionally high on Robinson as a recruit, but I’d love for him to prove my first impression wrong.
If you’re third, you’re last. With apologies to Ricky Bobby, the quarterback race I’m interested in is the one for third. Kirby Smart has been pretty careful this spring to spread positive vibes about all of his signal callers. But I continue to believe Carson Beck is your UGA starting quarterback unless he decides to leave school to live on a farm commune. The whispers out of Athens however have been that Brock Vandagriff has a better handle on the offense at this stage than Gunner Stockton. Saturday will be Stockton’s chance to show if the scout team accolades he’s earned can translate into staying in the quarterback race or having to bide his time for another run at it in 2024.
Holding the line. There will be no bigger replacement task on the Athenians’ roster this year than finding someone to plug in where Jalen Carter once roamed. Big #88 was, for my money, the best player on the Bulldog defense in each of the last two seasons. Replacing him is a tall order. Certainly guys like Nazir Stackhouse, Zion Logue, and Bear Alexander have shown an ability to play well. Alexander was in much better shape as a freshman than I expected, and I’m curious to see how he’s developed.
But I am really curious about some of the young defensive lineman who early enrolled from the 2023 signing class. You never quite know how young defensive linemen will react when they face legitimate NFL quality offensive linemen, which Stacy Searels most definitely has. Any freshman in this unit who appears physically ready and has Tray Scott coaching him has a shot to be special.
Fancy seeing (so many of) you here. Georgia’s spring game is perennially among the better attended of such affairs across the country and the SEC. But I will be a little curious what the turnout is like after two consecutive national championships. Is G Day going to be as well attended for example as the recent national championship parade? Certainly it’s unlikely. But a big crowd and a humming atmosphere for the only televised spring game on this Saturday would do a lot to burnish Bulldog fans’ reputation as among the most devoted and least complacent in the nation.
So if you can get to Athens, do. If you can be loud, you should. And no matter what, have a great and safe time. Until later…