5 takeaways from Georgia's 2021 G-Day spring game
G-Day 2021 is in the books in Athens, with over 20,000 fans descending on Sanford Stadium to get their first look at this year’s Georgia football team. It was a close game throughout, but the Red team came away with the 28-23 victory over the Black.
Here are 5 takeaways:
Let’s talk quarterbacks
JT Daniels was paired with senior Stetson Bennett IV on the Red team, while the Black team featured redshirt freshman Carson Beck and incoming true freshman Brock Vandagriff. All told, there were some good moments for all four players, but the rust factor was certainly there.
Daniels finished 28-of-41 for 324 yards and 3 touchdowns, bombing a 59-yard scoring pass to Demetris Robertson in the 4th quarter for the longest play of the afternoon. Beck ended 22-of-31 for 236 yards, 2 touchdown and an interception, putting together a nice late drive to draw the Black team to within 28-23 in the closing moments.
Vandagriff got off to a good start but had some expected freshman struggles, completing 6-of-9 passes for 49 yards while adding a 13-yard run as he showed his dual-threat capabilities. Bennett was 3-for-4 for 58 yards, but threw an interception to Lewis Cine in the 4th quarter. Even Jackson Muschamp (yes, Will’s son) saw the field for a couple of reps.
Daniels is the obvious starter, so who has the edge in the battle for QB2? Beck had the bulk of the playing time outside of Daniels, and I’d say he largely made the most of his opportunities. But there’s still a long way to go, and much could change between now and the season opener. Keep in mind, Vandagriff is still working through an injury, so I can understand if the coaching staff is looking to take it easier on him to start out.
A big G-Day for Adonai Mitchell
The biggest talking point would be regarding how the receiving corps would shake out in the absence of George Pickens, who was projected to be one of the leading receivers in the SEC, and Jermaine Burton, held out due to a hyperextended knee.
If the performance of true freshman Adonai Mitchell is a glimpse of what he’ll do in the regular season, then the Dawgs may have found themselves a star: the 3-star recruit out of Texas made 5 catches for 80 yards, including a pretty 24-yard touchdown grab from Daniels to close the 1st half. He finished with a game-high 7 catches for 105 yards.
What about the other receivers?
Georgia’s running backs were heavily involved in the passing game as well: James Cook finished with 6 grabs for 61 yards, while Zamir White made 6 catches for 50 yards. Demetris Robinson was good for 4 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, with Kearis Jackson adding 4 catches for 50 yards and a score. Steven Peterson, the transfer from Mercer and Atlanta-area native, suited up for the Black team and made 4 grabs for 60 yards.
Darnell Washington, who should be a focal point for this offense in 2021, finished with 4 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, the highlight coming on a 51-yarder that saw the big sophomore tight end truck a defender on his way to the red zone. It’s too early to anoint him the next Kyle Pitts, but his 2nd year in a Georgia uniform should prove to be a successful one.
How’d the other freshmen look?
Mitchell obviously had the best day of the newcomers, but several others made their presence felt. Offensive tackle Amarius Mims played with the 2nd unit on the Black team and nearly scored on a lateral for a 2-point conversion. Smael Mondon had a standout game for the Red team in the linebacking corps, while David Daniel added a tackle.
Brock Bowers made a good case for himself to work himself into the tight end rotation along with Washington and John FitzPatrick, as the 4-star from California finished with 3 catches for 37 yards, including a 25-yarder in the 2nd quarter. Javon Bullard, a 3-star in-state cornerback, showed well for the Red team as he was their leading tackler with 7 stops.
What about the defense?
The Dawgs are replacing several linebackers, so the performance of returnees and newcomers was under the microscope. Mondon, a true freshman, made 5 tackles for the Red team. For the Black team, Quay Walker led all players with 8 tackles, 1 for a loss. Channing Tindall finished with 4 tackles, as did Tymon Marshall.
The defense stifled the run game — allowing just 103 yards on 42 attempts. The longest runs were by quarterbacks (Beck for 13 and Vandagriff for 12), but outside of that, the ground game didn’t pick up a great bit of steam, a credit to both defensive lines.