For years I had a difficult time really knowing if there was a difference to be said. Clearly, there is a difference now. No matter if you are talking about body types - the maturation of younger players like Charlie Warner and Trenton Thompson - or if you are talking about the nature of the recruiting process in Athens… things are clearly different.
Time will tell if different will be better, but UGA is certainly different for sure under Kirby Smart. I’ve laid out how well the Bulldogs have done in recruiting over time - Kirby and company are hitting at a rate higher than 80% of players signed or committed who are listed in their recruiting class’ Scout 300. That rate compares to the 51% rate that Mark Richt and company hit over time.
If Richt could consistently win ten games with a 50% rate of Scout 300 players what does that mean for Kirby at 80%. Logically you would think that would mean more wins. We shall see. What I know that I have seen is that guys are seemingly more ready for the coming season.
For instance, Thompson is tipping the scales around 295 pounds right now. The coaching staff would like him to play this fall around 310 pounds. So its probably too late from him to get there considering the rigors of the next six weeks, but he could possibly get there later in the season. But with Thompson, who has had chronic ankle issues since he arrived at UGA, has not only trimmed weight with plans to put it back on correctly over the next few months, but he’s also working on his ankles as well.
By the way, this is a pretty good example of Kirby’s group being proactive with players. Thompson is wearing ankle braces everywhere. Workouts. Class. Dinner. Everywhere with the exception of when he sleeps. Thompson, and likely the staff as well, knows that he could be a tremendous player in the coming 24 months, but that he “must” be healthy to be a factor. So he’s trying to deal with the ankle situation right now.
It appears that UGA’s QBs are still working out the same way they did in the spring. Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey are splitting reps with the No. 1 and No. 2 units week to week while freshman Jacob Eason is almost exclusively with the No. 3 group. What does that mean? Maybe a lot. Maybe nothing. Fall camp, which should start on August 1st, will hold the key to the season in terms of who will start this season. Eason will have to fight his way up quick to be the starter for the first game. Right now he “seems” the least likely to start the North Carolina game specifically. After that game (and obviously the outcome of that game and the way UGA gets to that outcome will influence things) its hard to know for sure what to expect.
Nick Chubb is going to have to go backwards from right now in order to not start and play the bulk of the snaps against Carolina. Chubb told a trusted source of mine that he’s been ready to roll for the last two months. Kirby backed that up at SEC Media Days when he seemed more concerned with the immediate future of Sony Michel rather than Chubb.