ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia experienced perhaps its hottest day yet of fall camp during its scrimmage Saturday, and coach Kirby Smart didn’t like how it seemingly affected the performance of the Bulldogs players.
“We didn’t exactly get the level of intensity I was looking for,” Smart said. “I thought some of the guys had their first real practice in the heat. We have not had the kind of heat we had today. It was disappointing. I felt like it affected too many guys mentally.”
Georgia’s scrimmage, which was held in Sanford Stadium, was held on a humid afternoon with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. It was the 12th practice overall.
To this point, Smart says it looks like the Bulldogs are not in the condition they need to be for the season.
“Based on today, yeah, I’d definitely say that,” Smart said. “To their defense, we haven’t had a day like this. We’ve practiced in rain, in shade, they ran all summer, but they haven’t played 70 plays in that kind of heat yet, and I’m glad it was giving us the opportunity to do that. We haven’t had it that hot and muggy to go out and practice and really push through.”
In terms of performance, Smart saw the results as mixed from both sides of the ball.
On defense, he thinks that it “did not show up” for a couple of the periods, but he also liked how it handled an area of the field that was problematic for the team in 2016.
“The defense won the red area (red zone) period,” Smart said. Which we all know the red area woes we’ve had.”
Last season, Georgia finished 114th out of 128 FBS teams in red zone defense.
For the offense, Smart said he thought it did “some good things on third down” and that it “kind of dominated” that period of practice.
Georgia was without defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn during the scrimmage, both because of illnesses. Ledbetter, according to Smart, is expected back “any day,” while Wynn has not practiced since last Saturday.
Smart did not release statistics from Saturday’s scrimmage, but he did try to get a good look at starting quarterback Jacob Eason. Like the rest of the team, he felt that Eason had mixed results.
“I thought he did some good things,” Smart said. “Some periods he was better than other periods. He made some really good throws. He made a couple that I thought could have been better decisions. He led the offense well and competed hard. But, he’s still got to get better.”
In addition to trying to help Eason improve in 2017, Georgia also is trying to get better results from its wide receivers this upcoming season. The Bulldogs have a young group that’s trying to replace Isaiah McKenzie, their leading receiver in 2016.
“I thought some of those guys made plays,” Smart said. “We’ve got a really stiff competition. We’re probably only going to be able to take 10 guys (on travel roster) and there’s like 12 guys competing for those 10 spots. A guy that made a play, made a drop. It’s just consistency and performance that I don’t think we’re getting. Good news is we’ve got another week of camp to get it better. We’ve got to get more execution out of them for sure. Too many mental mistakes out of that group.”
Georgia has just one senior, Javon Wims, among its wide receivers.
Smart says Georgia’s fall camp will come to a conclusion next week. Georgia begins classes on Monday.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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