Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Practice Report

The Dawgs worked out for a little over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in the third week of pre-season camp.

Following are excerpts from head coach Kirby Smart's post-practice press briefing on Tuesday:

Opening Statements

‘’First off, I’d like to send my condolences to the Frank Broyles family.  First of all, a great college football family.  It meant a lot to me to win that award named after Frank Broyles, and also his grandson Lex and I were good friends in college.  So I just wanted to send my condolences out to the family for their loss and really all of college football’s loss.

‘’As far as today went, it was another heater, so I’m proud of the guys.  They did much better the last two days, pushing through the heat.  They kinda responded to not doing so well in the heat Saturday.  I thought they really pushed through yesterday and today.  We’re still in camp mode, running camp-type practices.  We’re getting guys back.  We’ve had a couple of guys out.  We’re back and forth.  I’m sure you guys will ask me about that.  We had a couple of changes on the offensive line.  But I’ll be honest with you.  I think the guys are playing really physical.  They’ve bought into the physicality of the right way to practice.  We are nowhere near where we need to be.  We’re not ready yet, especially on special teams, but they’re pushing hard. They’re answering the call.’’  

Update on status of freshman RB D’Andre Swift:

‘’D’Andre was out today.  He was getting some medical things checked on.  We expect him back tomorrow.  Should be fine.  He just had to get some things checked on.’’

Update on snapper Trent Frix:

‘’He’s got a little bit of a hamstring, but we think he’s going to be fine.  He’s down right now, but we hope to get him back.  (Backup) Nick Moore does a good job.  He snapped all spring and has done a good job the past two days.’’

In terms of special teams coverage units, what are you looking for to shore up those areas this year?

‘’Number one, is a great kick because the best way to shore up your areas of coverage is to kick the ball where it’s supposed to be, how high it’s supposed to be with what hang time it’s supposed to be done with.  We’ve improved first and foremost in that area.  Rodrigo Blankenship did a great job of kicking off in Saturday’s scrimmage.  He had some of the best hang times we’ve had.  David Marvin did as well, but Rod had a little better hang time.  Punting, Cam Nizialek got great placement and hang time.  But, the number one thing, coverages have fast, big guys.  We’ve got a lot of starters playing on our punt team.  We’re still assembling the kickoff team.  The goal is to have guys buy in and realize the importance of it.  It’s not a down off.  So we have a lot of competition.  That’s the biggest difference I noticed from last year.  There’s a lot of guys fighting for spots on special teams because they know that if they don’t get those spots, they might not make that travel roster.  So we’re looking for fast guys that make good decisions.’’

How many of the true freshmen do you think might make these units?

‘’I don’t know an amount.  I mean, Swift was showing up.  Mark Webb was showing up.  Walter Grant is showing up. Several guys…Nate McBride is showing up.  There are a lot of guys that are showing up.  They’re all in the mix, and I think after Saturday’s scrimmage we’ll know more of the 2-deep on the special teams.  And there’s some real good competition.  But that’s where those guys are going to make their waves early.’’

Did you anticipate that J.R. Reed would push for a starting job this soon when he transferred?

‘’I didn’t know what we were getting.  He’s a really good athlete.  I knew he was really fast. We didn’t know much.  We had heard.  We talked to the coaches where he was and they all said he was a good player and we were a little deficient in that area.  And he’s turned out to be probably the best decision that we’ve made from a standpoint of transfers, junior college players.  That was a huge get for us because we’re struggling a little bit right now in the secondary from the standpoint of depth.  He’s made it where we’ve got five guys that we can really play with.  Without him, we might be four or less.  So he’s done a good job.  He’s really competitive.  I thought he played well in the scrimmage the other day.’’

Early observations on freshman OL Netori Johnson:

‘’Netori’s doing well.  He’s pushing along.  He’s getting a lot of work, a lot of reps.  I think the next scrimmage is going to be the best way to get the best barometer for those guys because at the first scrimmage, you realize some of these guys, after watching the tape and having not seeing you guys, you see that there are some ‘rat trap’ players.  Rat trap means ‘I forget completely what to do because I’m in the stadium and I’m nervous from my first scrimmage.  Not saying that he (Johnson) was that way, but there were a good bit of those freshmen that were.  They were very nervous, playing with anxiety.  I’ve seen the most growth in them in these two practices, where it’s like, ‘OK, they got that out of the way.  Now I want to see what they do in this next scrimmage.’  Kinda find out where they are.  But Netori is working with the 3’s.  He’s fighting to get in that 2-deep so can be a contributor at guard.’’

What was behind the decision to move Pat Allen back to left guard?

‘’Well, we’re trying to get the best five, so Pat had played all spring at left guard.  Really, the move wasn’t so much the right tackle as it was right guard and right tackle, but he was playing a lot more right guard when y’all saw him at right tackle in practice.  He’s done a good job.  He didn’t pout when he got moved.  He competed.  Played pretty good in the scrimmage.  We felt like Andrew Thomas could give us the best help at right tackle and Pat was playing pretty good in the spring at left guard.  So we were able to move him back and we’re looking at it this way right now.  Those guys are interchangeable parts.  The really bright ones can switch and move and it doesn’t affect them.  The ones that struggle with a move, we try to keep them in the same place.’’

Will the solar eclipse next Monday affect the scheduling of practice at all?

‘’Not that I’m aware of.  I know my kids and my wife are really excited about it.  I’m a lot more worried about practice than the solar eclipse.  Y’all keep reminding me of that and maybe we’ll take the team out and watch it.  We’re never off on a Monday; I can tell you that.  I’m not off until sometime in December.’’

Do you see Ahkil Crumpton contributing as much as a receiver as you foresee as a return specialist?

‘’Blessing in disguise, because he’s really run great routes.  He’s really good in and out of breaks.  He’s got great hands, big hands for a small guy. He snatches the ball out of the air. He plucks it.  He’s done a really good job.  The tough thing is, he’s in competition with Mecole Hardman some, Terry Godwin some, Mark Webb has worked in the slot some.  So his specialty is returning, but he’s not a one-trick guy.  The guy goes in there and does really well.  I’ll tell you what now, he is physical and feisty.  He doesn’t mind getting up in there and blocking and competing. He gets slung around sometimes, but it’s the fight in him that I’ve really enjoyed.''

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