This Saturday, the Georgia football team will play in the G-Day spring football game in Athens. Last year, the game amassed over 93,000 fans after then first-year head coach Kirby Smart challenged fans to fill the stadium for the game. Although not as large of a marketing ploy was used this year, large amounts of fans are still expected to be in attendance.
Although the game is only a scrimmage, it provides an important window into the progress of spring practices and the outlook for next fall’s football season. There are several different groups of players that fans should take a close look at on Saturday whose performance could have an impact on the team’s success in 2017.
Jacob Eason vs. Jake Fromm
Freshman Jacob Eason started all but one game in the 2016 season. The five-star recruit was much desired coming out of high school, and he is expected to have great success throughout his career at Georgia and eventually make his way to the NFL. However, with the arrival of early enrollee Jake Fromm this January, Eason will now see some of his strongest competition yet. Fromm was a four-star recruit who ranked third in the country among pro-style quarterbacks in the class of 2017 according to 247Sports. Although Eason is likely to retain his starting spot, Fromm should provide some beneficial competition that will push Eason to improve. Look for the two quarterbacks to show off their talents in Saturday’s spring game.
The Georgia offensive line was one of the team’s most maligned units, not only in 2016 but for years before as well. The lack of offensive line recruits has caused problems for the Bulldogs, and inconsistencies on the offensive line led to difficulties in running the ball in 2016, despite having two strong running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel will return in the 2017 season for their senior year. If the offensive line is more consistent, they will be able to lead the team to an impressive 2017. Smart has recruited a number of offensive linemen already. Look to see if any of these new recruits have made an impact on the team yet on Saturday.
Last year, fans were often frustrated with the inconsistencies of the Georgia wide receivers. Eason improved throughout the season and was able to make accurate throws. However, without many reliable receivers who could catch his passes, the Georgia offense often had to resort to mainly running the ball. With Isaiah McKenzie declaring for the NFL Draft, the Bulldogs lost one of their most reliable receivers and punt and kick returners. Receivers like sophomore Terry Godwin and freshman Riley Ridley will need to step up this season for the Bulldogs to have success in their passing game. Ridley recently returned to practice after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in bowl practices last fall. Fans should closely watch the wide receivers for any improvement or consistency this Saturday.
Although it is only a scrimmage, the G-Day spring game brings the football atmosphere that fans have been missing and provides an opportunity for early enrollees to practice on the big stage with over 90 thousand fans watching. It is also an opportunity for fans to get a look at the current progress for the Bulldogs and get an idea of where the team may stand heading into the fall.