What We Are Hearing

ATHENS - About a week before G Day I talked with an NFLer about what he thought about where UGA was at that moment, and where things were going.

That person had been to a practiced that was closed. As it turns out, the person that he was most impressed by, Elijah Holyfield, has been in the news more than any other player of late. At the time I passed just a sliver of the information on to Dawg Post subscribers by letting them know that I kept hearing good things about Holyfield. After all, this person wasn’t the first person to talk about how well the former Woodward star was doing. 

“They are loaded at RB. I thought Holyfield looked good. I thought he could end up being a really good player,” he said. “That Holyfield kid might be the fourth-best running back on the team, and he looked really good. I don’t even know if Chubb did anything on the day - I wouldn’t have made him do anything anyway.”

Now I should say that this particular person doesn’t overdo things. He is a speak-softly-carry-a-big-stick type. But he knows a thing or two about football. He went on to say much of what the rest of us saw during G Day - some things were more critical than others. Again, this is a guy with years of NFL experience, so certain things need to be tidied up to impress him. 

“The defense didn't blow me away,” he told me. “I thought the offensive line was average at best. No one blew me away. I thought Wynn looked fine at left tackle. I think he can play there in the SEC, but not the NFL. Hopefully they are going to have some younger guys coming in who can play a little. Neither guard blew me away. The offensive line isn’t going to happen overnight. (Kirby) had a tremendous recruiting class. You might have to play them right away on the offensive line, and they not be very good.”

Obviously offensive guard spot is one of the few spots on the offensive side of the ball that has question marks coming into the fall. 

“I thought Fromm looked good,” he said. “I don’t think that he will take the spot from Eason at all. Hopefully they can redshirt him.”

A different insider commented that G Day “was the best day Jake Fromm has had all spring.”

Still, what we didn’t see at G Day was what those of us in the media saw often during UGA’s spring practices. Something both quarterbacks on scholarship might be more comfortable with in the future... again that was missing at G Day. 

“It looked like they were doing more run-pass options,” the NFLer observed of UGA's practice. “It looked like they there seeing if you were going to hand it off or throw little short passes. Eason’s got an NFL arm - a Stafford-kind of arm. I mean he can sling it. I hate to say that, but that’s what it is. He didn’t make any mistakes. It took the offense a little bit to get going because of guys dropping passes or whatever. Or like they got stuffed on first down. Something like that. But once they got going they were going.”

I asked about the general direction of the program, from his NFL perspective, and while he answered that question he sidetracked on to something that’s critical to winning in professional football. 

“I think there is so much energy with Kirby. I think that’s a good thing,” he said, and then offered this: “You watch how bad college specialists are - and its not just UGA… You see how little everyone puts into something that is that important. You see so many really good NFL kickers, and you wonder how UGA isn’t so much better than they are at those spots.”

A few weeks after that lengthy conversation, Holyfield was arrested on on two misdemeanor marijuana charges and bailed out after posting a combined bail of $4,050 at 4:08 AM. But everything isn’t always as it seems with arrests. 

Long story short, as some folks inside the program understand it, Holyfield essentially took the blame for a group of players who were in the room with him. I’m not interested in naming who those players were - they were not arrested, and what happens internally with that sort of stuff is going to have to be handled by Kirby. 

With that said, the room was primarily younger guys, and at least one reaction from an older player on the team - a rising senior - was to confront those involved. The younger players were told that they “were not going to #$%@ up his final season in Athens.”

Where it goes from there internally on the team is yet to be seen, and likely something we won't hear anything about any time soon if ever.

I spent about 48 hours with 5-star RB Zamer White the final week of April in his hometown. Needless to say the entire circus that has been his recruitment has grown old for him and the coaching staff around him in Laurinburg. 

With all of that said, this appears to be a two-team race between Clemson and UGA, with the Bulldogs well, well out in front of the Tigers. That’s not coming from White, and that's not necessarily new news, but it is the prevailing thought around his hometown. We didn’t talk much at all about recruiting - he's totally and completely tired of that subject. He told me that one time he sat through a lengthy conversation about recruiting just listening wondering how long it would last. He also told me that he's ready to be done with the process.

Many of them wish that he would give North Carolina more of a look, but that ship is quite clearly sailed. Stay tuned for more on my time in Laurinburg with White. That content be up soon.

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