Legge's Thoughts: 2014 First Day Report

ATHENS – Dean Legge give his rundown thoughts on today’s first day at camp.

Go get your sandwich because this is one of those types of reports. Let me first preface this: We only get to watch a particular amount of practice (in this case one hour); and this is the first day of practice.

First – Justin Scott-Wesley is quite clearly not ready to play in a real game. Now the reality is that he’s got about six weeks before he could play anyway due to the suspension for the pot arrest last October. But the point remains that today was not a good day for him. He was slow. He did not look like himself at all. He was clearly frustrated with the situation.

There is a new reality at defensive back. Who will start? The back four today in base defense was Damian Swann, Corey Moore, Aaron Davis (walk-on) and Shattle Fenteng. I’m not sure what the depth chart was back there at the start of the season, but whatever it was is now officially outdated. Those four were running with the ones the entire part of practice I saw, which was about 30 minutes of throwing from the first and second team offense.

Swann seems to me to be the only player who is certainly going to start, but if I had to guess today the group that was back there as the ones today is the group that’s going to be the ones to start against Clemson in four weeks.

All of the players look the part. Shattle Fenteng is long and pretty big. He can run pretty well. Davis lined up as a safety while Fenteng was at defensive back.

Not much to write on Georgia’s linebackers as it relates to new things. You know the starting bunch – Herrera, Wilson, Jenkins and Floyd. I will, however, point out that Lorenzo Carter looks like a man. But he’s still going to need a little time to develop himself.

I’ve got some video coming up of Carter coming up, and you can see what I am talking about. He’s going to have to sink those hips a little more, but man he’s going to be a player. I think he’s one of the guys who may start slow in this camp and zoom past people over the next few weeks.

I have in my notes that Carter looks like a “shorter, thicker version of Leonard Floyd.” You can kick that around in your head for a while.

Just looking at the defensive line – got some video of that a little later as well… that’s a lot of bodies Georgia is throwing out there right now. A lot of bodies. Ray Drew is running with the number threes, which I thought was total garbage. And while I still don’t think that Ray is going to be the #3 DE, you could make the case that (at least in terms of bodies) he could be that low.

The ones on the DL were – James Deloach, Mike Thornton and Sterling Bailey.

The twos on the DL were – John Atkins, Chris Mayes and Josh Dawson

The threes on the DL were – Toby Johnson, Lamont Gaillard and Ray Drew.

Now obviously Gaillard is going to redshirt, but to be able to roll eight deep on the defensive line is something that’s going to matter in the fourth quarter of games. It seems like Georgia is going to lean on the opposition with their front seven on defense. It feels like if team are going to score it is going to have to be with big plays and by doing something other than running forward (unless we are talking about an opponent like Alabama and South Carolina who both have at least one very good running back and an offensive line).

But even against the Tide or Cocks it is going to be difficult to run on the Dawgs. That was true last season, but this season it seems like the run game is going to be something that is going to be rather stout.

The receivers looked fine like they always do – nothing crazy. Bennett seems like the most polished receiver out there. Rumph is the best looking physically. Conley catches a lot, but it beat up his hands a little bit today. JSW just didn’t have a good day. He’s going to have to power through days like today.

Tony Ball coaches those guys hard. He told Shakenneth Williams “Stop thinking – you will get it.” And I think that’s what happens so much with the younger players. They certainly look the part, and Williams looks the part, but when the ball is in the air, and a defensive back is all over you it makes things a little more difficult.

I think the person to watch considering Mitchell and JSW is NC State transfer Charlie Hegedus, who had a few good catches today. One good enough to make Mike Bobo scream with delight. “Person to watch” doesn’t mean a starter; “person to watch” doesn’t mean scoring touchdowns. But Hegedus could certainly play the role that Reggie Davis did last year.

I have down in my notes that that Hegedus “looks the part” at receiver.

So let’s get to the quarterbacks, Hutson Mason is the most developed quarterback out there. He’s the guy that is quite obviously the starter. He delivers a good ball. It is very possible that we all have sold him a little short of what he really is. Hutson is a solid fifth-year QB who can guide this team where it needs to go.

He’s not going to win a lot of games for Georgia, but he is going to have to step up an make the correct reads and throws when the time comes in 2014. I believe he can do that. He ran with the ones the entire day.

The backup spot is a fight between Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta. It seems to me that Ramsey is the two right now. Bauta is too inconsistent; Jacob Park is as well, but he has a live arm.

The difference between Ramsey and Mason is experience – that’s what is making Ramsey the backup and not the starter. The difference between Ramsey and the other two scholarship quarterbacks is skill and consistency. Ramsey, like all of the quarterbacks had bad throws. But he follows that up with throw that Mason can’t make.

Now then, Jacob Park, for me, had what seemed like a good day. His arm is a little stronger than I remember it being, and he had some throws where you said to yourself “OK, this could work.” Then he has a throw or two where it’s obvious that he’s still young.

Bauta has good throws, too – they all have good throws. Its just the bad throws are bad. Hutson Mason, on the other hand, has the best touch of the four. I think part of the issue with a Ramsey ball is that guys either don’t expect it to be delivered, or they are surprised how fast it gets there. I have seen this before, but I am not going to start making comparisons to guys in the NFL because Ramsey has never done a thing at Georgia.

I thought it would be Bauta coming off the bench second in blowout games, and I still think that will be the case. But I am not as sure any more. Ramsey was running with Mason the entire day. I am not sure if that’s a rotation thing (Where the odd guys #1; #3 going together and the even guys going together #2; #4), but it didn’t seem like an accident. Today left even less doubt about who would come off the bench if Mason got hurt.

And you can see why guys like Mason on days like today. He’s very natural in talking with people. Guys know him. He’s been around for some time. He’s got the best, in my view, pump-and-go ball of the signal callers. He’s very easy to be around. I think I understand the amount of confidence guys have in him because they might think that he’s not going to try to do too much.

I think the best way to put it is that Mason is a fully developed man (not physically, but mentally), and he’s completely comfortable in this climate. I think the other three guys shouldn’t be at that point right now – and they are not. But they are trying to get there. Mason can tell them just how complicated a process that really can be. Because until you are the man – you are not the man. And not much gets you ready for being the man until you are the man.

No amount of practice is going to get Ramsey or Bouta ready for what will hit them when the game is on the line against the Gators. Everyone has to learn that sort of thing the hard way. And it feels like Mason gets that more than anyone else – probably because he’s actually done that before.

In my opinion the QB depth chart is in order as follows: Mason, Ramsey, Bauta and Park (redshirt).

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