Sean Taylor/Dawg Post

UGA Scrimmage Practice Report

ATHENS - Kirby Smart is still not pleased with his defense, and that’s after today’s first scrimmage of the spring.

“We didn’t tackle well as a defense,” Kirby said. “Does that mean we’ve got really good skill guys, and they’re hard to tackle? (That) probably (has) something to do with it, but we’ve got to improve our tackling.”

Insiders say the Bulldogs’ scrimmage was a situational one - with the team working on 40-yard-and-in, 30-yard-and-in as well as goal line situations. Kirby told the media that the Dawgs ran “around 60 reps with the Ones, around 60 reps with the twos and then about 20 or so with the threes, so right around 130, 140 or so snaps.”

A couple players the Bulldogs will rely on this fall were injured, but Kirby said none of those were supposed to be serious. “Solomon Kindley went down with a sprained ankle.  I don’t know the severity of it yet; I haven’t talked to Ron (Courson), but he’s got an ankle injury.  We’ll see and get him checked out.  Dom Sanders twisted his knee a little bit.  I think he had a slight MCL. Jayson Stanley was still not cleared to go completely.”

Perhaps the most interesting news of the day was that Mecole Hardman “played exclusively on offense for this scrimmage” according to the head coach. That continues a trend we’ve seen this spring with the rising sophomore. An insider told Dawg Post earlier this week that Hardman had been “hard to stop in the slot” at times this spring. 

Kirby said Hardman is one of only two newcomers to the receiver spot this spring, and that’s making for a more comfortable time for Jacob Eason. 

“Most of the guys he’s got out there now, with the exception of J.J. Holloman, he’s worked with before.  I don’t know if it’s the factor of working with them, as much as it is working, period.  He is much more experienced.  He understands when the call comes in, ‘I’m looking for this, this and this.’  Where it used to be, ‘What is this call and what do I do?’  So, he’s come a long way.  He’s more confident in the pocket, more confident in the protections.  His decision making is better and his accuracy has been better.  But he’s getting challenged because the other guy (Jake Fromm) did well, too. Fromm did well.”

But Kirby added that he’s expecting more from his receivers. 

“We’ve got to do a lot better at receiver, in general, from a standpoint of depth and guys that can execute and go make plays,” he said. “Just talent-wise, at that position, we’ve got to get more guys that can help us be more successful.  I’ll say this about them.  They’re playing more physical than they ever have since we’ve been here.”

Kirby said that receiver running back Brian Herrien had a good day. 

“We were gonna get the ball to and find out what he could do in scrimmage situations and he did pretty well.  He ran the ball really hard, had a couple of long, explosive runs,” Kirby said. “He’s a tough, competitive guy, but if I had to say that somebody stood out, I’d say that he did.”

Kirby added that Tulsa transfer J.R. Reed has been pleasing him, and that he could work his way into a reoccurring spot in the secondary if he continues to “flash.”

“I’m out there every day, challenging this guy because I think he could be a really good player,” Kirby said. “He’s fast, he’s physical, he’s smart, but he hasn’t played in that many games in this system. Absolutely he could have a role.”

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