G-Day Spring Game
When: Saturday, April 6th
Where: Athens, Georgia
Time: 1 PM
One player I’ll be watching: Safety Tray Matthews
The one player who’s getting the most love from Georgia’s spring practice is early enrollee Tray Matthews. Matthews has jumped onto the scene, kept his mouth shut and simply electrified the team with his athleticism and big hits. Matthews is in the front of a big-time safety battle on Georgia’s new-look defense.
Aaron Murray is the most recent player to send praise Matthews’ direction, via Macon Telegraph.
“I’ve never seen anyone with that kind of closing speed,” Murray said. “He’s had some hits I’ve never seen before in my life, these past couple scrimmages. He’s laid the wood – I thought he killed Scott-Wesley. I really thought he was dead.”
I want to see this kid play.
Next player to watch: DB/LB Josh-Harvey Clemons
The former five-star athlete is projected to play both safety and outside linebacker in 2013, and the spring game should give us an indication of how that might play out. However, JHC will certainly play more safety because of his – so far – inability to put on necessary weight for a linebacker. But watching JHC, along with Matthews, bringing the wood will be fun, especially because they will likely control the backend of the secondary this season.
Don’t expect to see much of: RB Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley has zero to prove in the G-Day Game, and he’ll likely play only one or two series, mostly for the fans. He’s only totaled five carries in two organized scrimmages this spring. The risk of injury is simply too great to play much more. However, I do expect Keith Marshall to get a bunch of carries, and backup quarterback Hutson Mason, along with Parker Welch, Christian LeMay and Brice Ramsey, to be the focus of the game, not Aaron Murray.
Spring Theme: Focus on defensive line
We know Georgia’s offense will be explosive, but all eyes have been on the new-look defense. The Bulldogs replace eight starters, including key defensive linemen. Now, Garrison Smith, John Taylor, Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey are all playing well at defensive end, while Mike Thornton slides into the coveted nose tackle position, and right behind Thornton is JUCO transfer Chris Mayes. All Georgia fans – and coaches – are eager to see these guys compete and hopefully improve upon last year’s underachieving unit.
Spring breakout player: WR Chris Conley
For all the talk surrounding Georgia’s super-talented receiving cast, one player who has emerged this spring worth watching Saturday is wide receiver Chris Conley. Conley started warming up towards the end of 2012, and he posted six catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Mark Richt recently spoke on Conley, via Times Free Press.
“Chris has been very productive, and a lot of the reason why is because he works so hard every single day,” coach Mark Richt said. “As a scrimmage goes on or as a game goes on, his conditioning is better than most anybody on that field. In the bowl game, when he caught that middle screen and took off, it looked like he ran a 4.2 [40-yard dash].
“When everybody else is getting a little bit fatigued, he still has the stamina to go hard because of the way he practices.”
The weapons at Murray’s disposal will be quite envious to watch.
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE