Tuesday News and Notes: Latest on the quarterbacks
There’s some good news regarding quarterback JT Daniels.
Following Tuesday’s practice, head coach Kirby Smart said the junior is feeling the best he has since injuring his oblique. However, he did not give an indication whether he was in line to reclaim his starting role for Saturday night against South Carolina (7 p.m., ESPN).
“Yeah, JT feels much better. He’s continuing to improve. He’s better now than he was on Saturday. I don’t know that he’s 100 percent,” But he’s certainly getting closer to that. Stetson (Bennett) is repping, JT is repping, and Carson (Beck) is repping.”
Smart revealed that Daniels is not the only quarterback with some aches and pains.
“Stetson’s actually got some lower-back issue that he strained some stuff, but he’s able to go,” Smart said. “But I don’t know that he’s 100 percent. He’s been dinged up since Monday morning, but he went out and practiced. So, they’re all three practicing, and I think Carson is 100 percent healthy, but the other two are pushing back.”
In other news
…Although kicker Jack Podlesny has missed field goals in each of Georgia’s first two games, it doesn't appear he is in danger of losing his job.
“Yeah, he’s pushing through it. We actually just got off the field today and did field goal periods. I thought he kicked the ball well. We’re always in competition, as you well know. It’s one of those things we’ve got to help him out and push through it,” Smart said. “He’s been really consistent in his career as a starter here. We still believe in him, and we’re going to work through it. I think he’s got a great leg; he’s kicked clutch field goals multiple times, but we’re pushing through it.”
Smart said Jared Zirkel and punter Jake Camarda are also taking turns with Georgia’s field goal and extra point tries.
“Zirkel is out there kicking, and so is Camarda,” Smart said. “Those guys are kicking as well.”
…Senior safety William Poole will miss the next two games due to academics, Smart confirmed.
“William is ineligible for the first four games due to academics, but he did a tremendous job to get himself in position to get back,” Smart said. “He was not going to be able to play this year, but he was able to get a waiver, and after the Vanderbilt game, he will be back with us. We’re looking forward to getting his depth back to help us out.”
…Smart was asked to give an update on freshman offensive lineman Amarius Mims and redshirt freshman Devin Willock.
Are the two currently in the first 6-7-8 group on the depth chart? “Well they’re probably right at 7-8-9-10 is where they are. They’re getting a lot of reps, a lot of work. Devin has gotten a tremendous amount of work with the twos at guard,” Smart said. “Amarius has gotten a ton of work at right tackle. And we’re trying hard to bring those guys along. But it’s not just on us to bring them along.”
However, whatever playing time the pair ultimately receive has to be earned.
“It’s their responsibility, too, to fight, scratch, claw for every inch, for every rep they get. You have to be careful that they don’t fall into a comfort zone. ‘I’m comfortable being right here, there’s no pressure on me,’ versus, ‘I’m hungry, and I want to be the best, and I want to go out to compete to be the best every single day,’” Smart said. “I want those guys to continue to get better, but they need playing time to get better, and they’ve gotta earn that. It’s not going to be given to them. They got some last week. But for competitive game-time reps in the SEC, they’ve got to earn that.”
…Smart was asked if the uncertainty at quarterback for South Carolina was affecting his team’s preparation for the game.
Zeb Noland started the first two games for the Gamecocks, but Tuesday, South Carolina coach Shane Beamer acknowledged that Luke Doty appears to be healthy and is expected to see action. "It really doesn't. Everybody always asks that. The plays are the plays. Now the person running the plays and the mobility of the quarterback certainly changes. I think it changes, probably, third down maybe more than anything else,” Smart said. “Is he a pocket passer or are they going to move the pocket? Is he a scrambler or is he a guy that's going to sit in the pocket? Everyone's a little different, but the plays they run that aren't designed for the quarterback are the same. So the offense doesn't change based on the quarterback—not a lot of times. The mobility might change, but that's really about it."
…Smart had the following update on wide receivers Kearis Jackson (knee), Dominick Blaylock (knee), and Arik Gilbert (personal reasons), the latter of whom continues to be away from the team. "Kearis is improving by day. I thought that Monday, coming off a light Saturday for him, a day off Sunday, I thought Monday he looked really good. Today I didn't notice him as much, but he's working his way back. I think he's closer than he's been,” Smart said. “We felt like Dom was a little ahead of Kearis in terms of cutting and breaking, and doing that, and confidence in his knee. He's like right there, and he's also dealing with a little bit of a hamstring issue.”
Smart said Blaylock’s hamstring is now the bigger issue.
“So, it's not so much the knee now with him. It's a little bit of a hamstring and sometimes that happens because he hasn't been doing this kind of volume,” Smart said. “So, we've been trying to walk him along as we bring him back. I couldn't tell you when they're going to be able to go. Kearis will be able to play some this week. He's played. He's played punt returner. It's just getting him out there and getting him in the offense and getting him cutting and breaking more. "But outside of that, AD (Adonai Mitchell) Marcus (Rosemy-Jacksaint), Arian (Smith), Jermaine (Burton), Justin (Robinson), Jaylen (Johnson)—all those guys are working hard. Arik (Gilbert) is not back with us yet, and don't know when he'll be back."