The Georgia football team held its first scrimmage on Saturday and while Kirby Smart said he was mostly pleased with the energy the team brought to the practice field, he did have critical words for one position group.
“We’re a long way away on secondary,” Smart said following the scrimmage.
With long-time fixtures in the Bulldog secondary like Dominick Sanders and Malkom Parrish leaving the the team, Smart said the Bulldogs are experiencing a void at defensive back he’s been anticipating for two years now.
Smart said he is expecting younger players to step up out of necessity, singling out second-year players Eric Stokes and Ameer Speed as potential candidates to pick up more important roles on the team. But to this point, Smart said he has not seen the level of growth in those players he had been hoping for, citing a lack of commitment away from the practice field as a possible reason.
“Some of those guys at those positions, I don’t think they’re challenging themselves mentally to learn the playbook, and it’s their time, and they’ve got to step up, or they’ll be replaced by the people coming in,” Smart said.
Smart added that he was looking for defensive backs with the instincts to react to the movement of opposing receivers, something he said he did not see from several players in Georgia’s secondary during the team’s first scrimmage.
Of course, it is only spring, and the Bulldog defensive backs still have time to improve. Smart was also willing to offer that the play of Jake Fromm and Justin Fields had something to do with the trouble the defense had with the passing game on Saturday. In addition to that, Smart could have a tendency to be harsher on the position group he was a part of in his playing days.
Regardless of reasoning, Smart is not happy with where his secondary is right now, and it will be one of his primary focal points for improvement as spring practices continue.
“We’re just not where we need to be at that position,” Smart said.
(You can follow Nathan Berg on Twitter @NathanxBerg)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.