Georgia Football: Most Positive Signs Emerging from Spring Practice
With 11 more sessions, including the spring game on April 12, the Georgia Bulldogs are in the thick of spring practices.
This spring season is important for the Bulldogs because they are trying to improve from their 8-5 record last season. Therefore, not only does the execution on offense and defense have to be crisp, but there can’t be a lot of negative energy around the program like there was before the practices started with the four players getting arrested.
However, based on what has been reported out of Athens, there are a lot of positive signs emerging from spring practice. Here’s a look at a few of them.
The Health of Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley had a solid 2013 season, but he was injured for the majority of the year and was not as explosive as he could have been.
This year, he came into spring practice healthy and without limitations, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald. He had no tape on his ankle and looked like the Gurley of 2012.
With Mason the new starter at quarterback, Gurley will be the focal point of the offense. They will only go as far as he will take them. If Gurley is 100 percent, the Bulldogs can make some noise in the SEC East.
J.J. Green Moving to Cornerback
J.J. Green was a running back last season because Gurley and Keith Marshall had injuries.
Now that both of them are healthy and A.J. Turman is in the mix, Green has made the move to cornerback.
Green wanted to make the move from running back to cornerback because he wanted to hit people again, according to Emerson. He’s doing that and fitting in nicely with Jeremy Pruitt’s system on defense.
Pruitt's System Is Comfortable for Players
Pruitt’s system has been a hit with the players.
Last season, players such as Ramik Wilson and Quincy Mauger had a hard time picking up on the defensive calls. Pruitt has done everything he can to make it easier for the group, including making the terminology simpler and putting players in better positions to make plays.
There have been only four practices, so it’s really hard to say if Pruitt’s system is easier to pick up.
However, so far, the unit likes what Pruitt is doing to make the defense better in 2014.
Quayvon Hicks Becoming a Hybrid Player
It’s unknown if Quayvon Hicks will stay at the tight end position, but he is working there for the remainder of spring practices.
According to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the coaches want Hicks to play a hybrid role in the fall. He would be more of an H-back than a fullback or tight end.
Hicks is a fundamentally sound blocker that did well in the six games he started at fullback last season. However, he will have to run different routes in the tight end or H-back role, which will be new to him.
With that being said, it’s good to have a player like Hicks on offense. He will be able to fill in key positions down the stretch.
The Backup Quarterback Competition
There is a quarterback competition at UGA for the first time in four years.
It’s not between Hutson Mason and the rest of the field. It’s for the No. 2 spot, which is important because the winner of the job will be the leader for the No. 1 spot going into the 2015 season.
Faton Bauta was the No. 2 quarterback at the end of last season and this spring. However, Brice Ramsey is ready to be in the spotlight after redshirting last season.
Jacob Park, who is an early enrollee, is also looking to make an impact this season. However, because Park is a true freshman, he will likely redshirt and focus on learning the playbook.
Odds are Bauta will win the spot because of experience. However, if both Bauta and Ramsey perform well during the G-Day game, it will make things interesting heading into the fall.