”It went real fast,” Mark Richt said. Not sure his players would agree with that assessment of time, but spring practice is almost over at Georgia. There will be a brief session in shorts today, then the G-Day game on Saturday, and that’s it.
Here’s my list of top five things I’ll be watching on G-Day:
1. Carlton Thomas at tailback. Ask a Georgia player which teammates have impressed/surprised them the most this spring, and you’re likely to hear about Thomas, the small, shifty tailback. It’ll be real interesting to see what he does against the No. 1 defense on Saturday and maybe a bit surprising, given all the talk, if he doesn’t dazzle a bit.
2. The debut of the freshmen quarterbacks. It’ll be the first time playing in Sanford Stadium – not counting a couple of closed scrimmages with no one in the stands – for Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. Bulldog Nation is eager for a first glimpse of them between the hedges, and they know it. Will one or both seize the moment?
3. The development of the defense. The tribulations of last season left some scars on the defense, and this spring has been about restoring “attitude and edge, whatever you want to call it” – Richt’s words – as well as sound fundamentals. “I see a defensive team that is very unified right now and has got a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Richt said a couple of days ago. “They feel like they’ve got something to prove.” Word is, DT Geno Atkins has been absolutely dominant in closed practices, so his play surely bears watching Saturday.
4. The crowd. With this being Easter weekend, with the Masters going on, and with G-Day on television, how many people will show up at Sanford Stadium? Georgia has been pushing hard for a huge turnout, partly because empty seats aren’t telegenic.
5. The obvious. With apologies for a quarterback-heavy list, I’m of course very interested to see Joe Cox in his long-awaited role as the program’s clear No. 1 QB and to see how Logan Gray plays as he tries to stay in front of the freshmen for the top backup role.
Please share your lists.