Summer weather is nearing, and it was noticeable today in Athens, at least noticeable enough for the Bulldogs to spend a portion of their practice in the new indoor facility to avoid the sun bearing down on them.
UGA is definitely improving as they get more practices in, but head coach Kirby Smart still thinks the defense is lacking. Last week, Smart said that defense was “complacent,” and this week nothing has changed.
“Defensively we are still not where we need to be,” Smart said. “The most disappointing thing is run defense. So one of two things has happened: Either complacency has set in, which I have mentioned before, or our offensive line is moving people better. Because a lot of the same defensive players are out there with the exception of Trenton [Thompson] and Roquan [Smith].”
Smart knows that they aren’t fulfilling their potential, and he lets the defense know that every day, saying, and then reassuring, that the defense gets criticized quite a bit at practice.
While the defense may be lacking, Smart indirectly complimented the offensive play while continuing to bash on the defense.
“The offense is striking a blow, a violent blow, and knocking people back,” Smart said. “This game is a tough physical game, and we aren’t playing tough physical football right now, where [the offensive players] are.”
As for the freshman defensive backs, Deangelo Gibbs and Richard LeCounte III are still moving around trying new spots.
“They’ve been a little bit of everywhere,” Smart said. “Richard is actually working at safety. He was at corner… but he’s been at safety for two days now. He’s still continuing to work a little bit at star. Deangelo is at star maybe 70-80 percent of his reps, but he’s still working at corner some.”
Freshmen aren’t the easiest to deal with, and Smart get’s that, acknowledging that he has to be more patient with both Gibbs and LeCounte during this learning phase of their collegiate career.
Smart also commented a little bit on the state of the offensive line, and specifically redshirt freshman Ben Cleveland, for whom he had high praise.
“We are trying to see where [Cleveland] best fits,” Smart said. “After week one, we came back and said ‘Let’s let him have a week at just tackle.’ He had a better week… He provides a little different element at that right tackle position. He’s a big man, a mountain of a man… He’ll continue to move around, just not right now.”
Georgia is half-way through spring training, with only seven practices remaining until the annual G-day. Smart and Dawgs will look to tighten down with the practices they have left until the scrimmage on Saturday, April 22.