Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs ready to get back on the field for start of spring

Georgia coach Kirby Smart
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

ATHENS, Ga. – Barely two months have passed since the overtime loss in the national championship game, and it already is time for Kirby Smart and Georgia to get back on the field. Spring practice begins Tuesday, and with the loss of several key players to graduation and the NFL, the Bulldogs will have a new look.

Despite the changes, Georgia’s combination of returning talent and incoming freshmen should be enough to prevent much of a drop-off.

Here’s a quick look at the Bulldogs going into spring practice.

RELATED: What kind of immediate on-field bump can Georgia expect from its epic recruiting class?


The good: The backfield. Starting QB Jake Fromm returns and his backup seems likely to be the nation’s top dual-threat prospect (more on that in a minute). Fewer than half the teams in the SEC are comfortable with their quarterback situation going into spring, so Georgia’s strength at the position is a big positive. As has been the case for the past several seasons, Georgia’s offense will live and die by the running game. Yes, the Bulldogs are losing the second- and third-leading rushers in program history in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, respectively. But D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien return, and there are especially high hopes for Swift, who looked like a big-timer in limited opportunities a season ago. True freshman Zamir White is an early enrollee, but is coming off an ACL injury. This summer, highly touted RB James Cook arrives. That makes this spring a bog one for Herrien and Holyfield.

The bad: The wide receivers. Terry Godwin returns, but Javon Wims, last season’s receiving leader, will not. Who will step up this spring to fill the void left by Wims’ departure? Riley Ridley likely will fill the role, and while he had a nice performance in the national championship game against Alabama, Ridley has been inconsistent thus far, with 26 receptions in two seasons. There’s simply not a lot of experienced talent in this group, and a lot of younger guys need to step up this spring. True freshman Kearis Jackson is an early enrollee, and there is playing time available this fall if he has a strong spring.

RELATED: Could Georgia have 2 1st-rounders for 8th time in school history?

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