Georgia held an inconsistent preseason football scrimmage Saturday afternoon inside Sanford Stadium, but Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was quick to recognize that an inconsistent scrimmage is better than no scrimmage at all in this current landscape.
"Between the injuries, COVID going on with different teams and the social injustice issues that we're dealing with in our country and our players are dealing with, I'm proud and happy that we were able to go out and scrimmage," Smart said on a Zoom call. "As for the scrimmage, we looked like a team that hadn't gone through spring practice."
Smart said this past Thursday's conditioning session was scratched and replaced by a lengthy discussion on racial issues that yielded "17 or 18 items" that players wanted addressed.
"We didn't do any football that day," he said. "Emotionally, our guys are in pain."
There were no surprises in the closed scrimmage, according to Smart, who said the starting offense dominated the backup defense and the starting defense dominated offensive reserves. He added that every quarterback practiced with the first team at some point except Stetson Bennett, who was Jake Fromm's backup last season and is more of a known commodity than some of his competitors.
JT Daniels, the transfer from Southern California who tore an ACL in the Trojans' season opener last year, participated in the scrimmage but has not been cleared to play in a game.
Saturday's scrimmage transpired without sophomore receiver Dominick Blaylock, who tore his left ACL for a second time during Wednesday's workout.
"Dom worked as hard as anybody I have ever seen," Smart said. "(Georgia director of sports medicine) Ron Courson has probably had 50 ACLs in his time here, and he's never seen anybody work as hard as he did. He likened it to what Nick Chubb went through."
When asked about the offensive line, Smart said Trey Hill is working at center and Jamaree Salyer at left tackle. Ben Cleveland, Warren Ericson, Netori Johnson, Justin Shaffer and Clay Webb are vying for the two guard spots, while right tackle is up for grabs among Owen Condon, Warren McClendon and Tate Ratledge.
Smart also revisited the unique timeline to this preseason.
"At this point, most times we're three weeks away, but we're four weeks away with a scrimmage in our bank," he said. "The difference is we don't have many practices left, so the time is there but the practices aren't. We have done a good job of keeping most of our players out there from a health standpoint and from a COVID standpoint to be able to practice."