MONDAY MORNING REWIND
ATHENS — Back over at The Butts this morning for practices 12 and 13 of Georgia’s preseason camp. The Bulldogs are in full pads this morning and will go again tonight in a closed practice.
I’ll be filing reports and blogs all day, so check back frequently. In the meantime, he’s your regular review of UGA happenings over the weekend:
1. Georgia’s defense garnered the headlines after Saturday night’s scrimmage because it didn’t get burned for any big plays such as fans saw all too often last season. But lost in that accomplishment was the fact that the Bulldogs’ offense actually moved the ball well overall.
“We didn’t really take many shots,” quarterback Hutson Mason said. “We ran the ball quite a bit. We were just really effective at what we were doing. We had three drives and almost all of them were close to 10 plays. We were just chopping away, chopping away.
“It’s great to hit a long bomb and score. But how you break defenses down is we push tempo, tempo, tempo,” he said. “If you get a first down or even two first downs, that defense is tired. We like to push tempo and get up there and snap it because we know if we get a first down or two, we really have the advantage.”
Georgia’s offense was also playing without a lot of its big-play threats due to injuries, such as Chris Conley, Malcolm Mitchell, Jonathan Rumph and Justin Scott-Wesley.
2. Nevertheless, Mason said that shouldn’t take away from the defenses’ achievements in the scrimmage. Mason said he likes what he’s seen from that side of the ball sand suspect that fans will, too.
“I think you see a lot more team unity,” he said. “You see a lot more discipline, you see a lot more hustling to the ball. I think that’s the improvement in the new defense that you’re going to see here. You’re going to see a defense with a lot more attitude and a lot more effort.”
Mason also predicted that you’ll see more takeaways this season. That would be a good thing considering the Bulldogs’ 15 takeaways was the second fewest in the SEC last season.
“One thing I’ve noticed is they’re teaching them to strip the ball, strip the ball,” Mason said. “One guy’s holding them up and another guy’s coming in to strip it. They’ve cause a lot of fumbles in practice and they caused at least one (Saturday). That’s something different I see as far as that coaching staff compared to the other one.”
3. Mason’s observations mesh with those of people in attendance Saturday. The scrimmage was closed to the media, but numerous individuals with ties to the team were able to watch. I reached out to a few of them to get their thoughts on what they saw. Here’s a taste …
- Everybody insists that freshman Isaiah McKenzie’s kickoff return for a touchdown did indeed come in a live drill. It was pointed out that Sony Michel was the next to attempt a return and he “got blasted by four players” at the end of his return. The good news on that was Michel’s return was “about 50 yards.” McKenzie was described by a couple of folks as “electric.”
- One man’s opinion was that Georgia’s offensive line “looked the best it has looked in four years. Bobo just needs to line up and run downhill.”
- Another told me he “wasn’t that impressed with the defense.” Explained that the offense simply didn’t try to go deep and didn’t have to because it was moving the ball so well on the ground.
- Freshman tailback’s Nick Chubb and Michel apparently were impressive. Chubb was described as “an extremely punishing runner” and Michel is going to create “mismatches for linebackers.”
- Other freshman observations: OLB Lorenzo Carter “is a stud” and Jeb Blazevich “looked like the best tight end.”
Again, that’s third-party info so take it for what it’s worth.
4. Based on performances in the Phillips 66 National Championship this past weekend, seven Georgia swimmers qualified for the United States Pan Pacific Championships roster.
Melanie Margalis won the 200-meter individual medley at the Phillips 66 National Championship late Sunday. Margalis, who completed her eligibility last season, posted a winning time of 2:10.20, the third-fastest in the world this year.
Also scheduled to represent the U.S. in Australia Aug. 21-25 will be Maddie Locus, Chase Kalisz, Hali Flickinger, Shannon Vreeland, Andrew Gemmell and Nicolas Fink.
5. The Georgia soccer team lost 3-0 to Clemson in an exhibition road game on Sunday. The teams played three 30-minute periods, with the Tigers scoring all three of their goals in the second frame over an eight-minute span.