Han Vance on Georgia football: The good, the bad and the ugly of the annual spring half football game that happened on 4/20 in the Classic City didn’t show so much about the season ahead. I’ve seen some bad G-Day play before a good-to-great football season and vice versa.
The 50,000+ stated attendance may have been inflated a little bit, as the less than half-full stadium holds less than 100,000 at maximum capacity, with its signature feature of a bridge over the highest point atop one end zone. Between the Hedges the action itself was tepid, too, at times, compared to real football, on a less than warm spring day in the largest state east of the Mississippi River, down in the Deep South.
Half of the numbers expected to attend gathered in the ancient college town to voice our support, me after hosting the ATHENS LEGACY Party, which was shortened after the game was moved up to 2:00 p.m. G-Day has an anticipated, perfect, 4:00 p.m. start, every year. This was far from an improvement over a Masters’ weekend game, as Kirby was reminded of the holiday called Easter too late. Move it up a week, not back. Here’s a prime example of why football coaches have nothing to do with scheduling real games. They live so deep inside their bubble that reality seriously skews. Life is bigger than sports.
Also off: the wide receiver play was terrible, period. Guys were not attacking the ball, were not high pointing passes, were not physical, were not getting open, had multiple drops, timing was off. A day after ESPN (falsely) heralded junior to-be Jake Fromm a “Heisman Hopeful” – Swift for Heisman, maybe, not Jake – he hit less than half his passes. This coming off a subpar performance in the sUGAr Bowl, a game Georgia is now sub .500 (4-6) in, throughout a long, proud school history.
Quarterbacks ultimately need receivers.
Fast and sure-handed tight end Charlie Woerner looks to me the best option, right now.
Strong defensive backfield play befitted a school whose head coach was an All-SEC defensive back. Alabama native Kirby Smart enters his fourth year as a head football coach, all at his alma mater. He does so without Mel Tucker coordinating the defense; Tucker is the new head coach at the University of Colorado.
The first offensive play of the game was a pick-6, Jake Fromm throwing it in there to a covered Jeremiah Holloman, who struggled with drops in the bowl game but is Georgia’s leading returning wide receiver and the only one with much quality playing experience. Eric Stokes ripped the ball from Holloman’s hands and scored, on a catchable pass. Stokes played very well throughout, when he was in there.
Tyson Campbell also looked good, after being benched for Stokes late last season, after opening that season as a starting true freshman cornerback who, of course, got toasted playing opposite the lockdown Thorpe Award winner, a team-first guy who then sat out an important New Year’s 6 bowl game.
So for the two position groups of most key attrition, defense appeared way ahead of offense. D-Rob and Dom Blaylock are two guys not suiting up who could be key receivers. Demetris Robertson was a starting WR for Cal as a freshman a couple of years ago and is set to start this year. Former Atlanta Hawks guard Mookie Blaylock’s son has amazing hands and joins the team this summer, out of Walton High School.
The actual leading returning receiver by career yardage is a running back, Swift, who teamed with Brian Herrien to show some splashes of explosion in very limited action. They and the O-line will lead the way.
The breaking news that the football recruiting staff has suddenly fired a lead staff member and suspended another could become a bigger news story, as information accumulates. A.D. Greg McGarity is not talking about it, except to say he doesn’t talk about those type of things. Forthright full disclosure has not been the professional reputation of the former University of Florida employee in his time in Athens.
But for now, it’s business as usual for Georgia fans. No live action until late summer. And, GEORGIA almost always looks really good this time of year.