With spring practice over, Bulldogs discuss what needs work

Georgia junior quarterback Jake Fromm shakes hands with the referee during Saturday afternoon's G-Day spring game in Sanford Stadium.

ATHENS, Ga. - Alabama football coach Nick Saban said earlier this month that nobody will ever admit to having a bad recruiting class or a poor spring.

The Georgia Bulldogs were the last Southeastern Conference team to wrap up spring practice, staging their G-Day game Saturday before an announced crowd of 52,630 inside Sanford Stadium. Georgia coach Kirby Smart and several players followed the common theme of improvement when they talked to reporters afterward, but junior quarterback Jake Fromm was asked to provide a few more specifics.

For Fromm, who has guided Georgia to a 24-5 record the past two seasons and is 12-0 against SEC East foes with 12 double-digit wins, this represented his third spring session since enrolling early in 2017.

"Defensively, I think we made some plays and did a lot better job of trying to stop the run," Fromm said. "Offensively, our line is as dominant as they want to be. We're trying to find guys on the outside who can make some plays. The running backs did a good job.

"I thought we had a really good spring."

Stopping the run was achieved on occasion last season, but there was a three-game stretch against Vanderbilt, LSU and Florida in which the Bulldogs allowed 117 rushes for 583 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per carry. The Bulldogs allowed 5.4 yards per carry against Alabama in the SEC title game before yielding 178 rushing yards in the Sugar Bowl loss to Texas.

Improving the point of attack defensively certainly is an item of concern for Smart, but topping his list of necessary enhancements are the receiver and tight end positions. The Bulldogs no longer have Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley at receiver, nor do they possess Isaac Nauta, Jackson Harris and Luke Ford at tight end.

Godwin and Harris were the only two of those six who were out of eligibility.

"We just don't have the numbers with our receiving corps, and it's the same at tight end," Smart said. "I know we've got kids coming in, but I don't know how they're going to respond. I don't know how they'll respond to the first time they get hit in the mouth or the first time they compete against a guy one on one and have to answer the bell."

The Bulldogs were plagued earlier this spring with a player arrest count that reached six. Obviously, Smart would like to halt that total between now and the start of preseason camp.

There were no sizable setbacks this spring on the injury front, which Smart alluded to after G-Day, so the objective now will be to build off spring practice and attack those early stages of summer conditioning.

"I want to see some strength gains," Smart said. "I want to see some guys come in and rehab some injuries. We have some guys we feel who could impact our program who didn't go through spring, and I think it's critical they get the right mental makeup to go out and have a great fall camp."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.