Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Richt invites Dabo and Steve-O into practice

Wait, what? With scant days left before a brutal opening to the 2014 campaign the head coach draws the curtain back for all to see?
Students and reporters received an unusual treat as the Georgia Bulldogs returned to practice after a couple days off. Mark Richt, who most days only allows the media to watch 10-15 minutes of practice, decided to let students and the beat media observe the second half of Tuesday's practice that was held in Sanford Stadium. Close to two thousand students sat in the baking sun to take in a lively mid-week practice. At its conclusion, Richt thanked the students and called for them to create an opening game atmosphere similar in intensity to what the Bulldogs experienced when they traveled to Clemson last year.
Photos and video were prohibited as part of the conditions to watch practice. We do have quite a number of observations though.
I have an observation too Radi - my invite was lost in the mail, so can I get a raincheck? Richt never does this kind of stuff. Not to make too big of a deal of it. After all, it was just an hour. But first you have pick axes taking the place of stationary bikes on the side, then you have open access to media and students and other spies. Next thing you know the team will have iPads instead of actual playbooks. Oh, wait.

Anyway, lots to glean from the media's extra 45 minutes of observation. They got plenty of looks from Quayvon at different positions, including tight end. Right now it wouldn't surprise me to see any name as the starting tight end a week from Saturday. Any name. Just pick one.

The defense sounds much more aggressive. They're reacting on their feet quicker and with confidence.
All of the cross training defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has done is paying off as Green and Dawson also played the star. In other words, the secondary players were lining up in multiple different positions and it was tough to keep track of who was where in what coverage. Good luck to opposing quarterbacks in figuring that out. Oh, and the corners blitzed a lot so some guys lining up in the star may have just been there for that blitz. 
A lot of inside linebackers getting reps. Sounds to me like Pruitt plans to rotate them in and out, probably as part of specific packages. As important a position as inside linebacker is in the SEC, I like the sound of Kimborough and Carter getting plenty of action.
via Nabulsi

Most of all, I liked this nugget from Emerson:
It’s only practice, but Hutson Mason’s footwork looks improved. He had a bit of happy feet during his two starts last year, but during Tuesday’s practice he did a good job of being firm in the pocket, keeping his feet to the ground as the pocket came at him, then firing off a good pass.
I've slacked off on viewing the Gator Bowl as part of my Hutson Mason evaluation as I had promised. We looked at his performance in the Tech game here. Since then I've changed my thought pattern in terms of what I'd like to glean from Mason's two starts, especially given the fact that there was more than a month between them. When I rewatch the bowl game (hopefully in the next couple of days) I think I'm going to look as much for things like shotgun vs under center and tempo/pace of play more than actual stats.

The bowl game stats we can really throw out of the window considering the weather and Conley's injury. And I've consistently heard a lot of people say that Mason will be fine, but he won't be Murray. I guess I get that line of thinking. But the fact is that much of Murray's success was because he was truly an extension of Bobo on the field. They were in sync after five years of practice, preparation and live games. Right now, in 2014, of particular interest to me is how much Bobo adjusts to Mason. Even more so than how much Mason adjusts to live action.