It was a hot and sunny day in Athens, with the temperatures in the high 80s. The heat index, however, indicated it felt like it was in the upper 90s.
The sweltering heat provided a true test for Georgia during Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage. And it was something head coach Kirby Smart came away disappointed in.
“A lot of guys didn’t play with the speed and the tenacity,” Smart said. “I guess it’s the sixth consecutive practice in a row and it showed a little bit with some of those guys. I was a little disappointed they couldn’t push through mentally better and push through the heat.”
Smart did come to the players’ defense at one point, saying that the weather hadn’t been this hot since the first couple of days of the preseason. The city of Athens dealt with a lot of rain and cloud cover this week, making outdoor practices a little easier than they normally are at this time of year.
With the Saturday heat making things tough, Smart still had some observations about his team. Nothing was glowingly positive but nothing was out-of-the-ordinary negative.
Smart mentioned quarterback Jacob Eason had his ups and downs during the scrimmage.
“I feel like he did some good things – some periods he was better than other periods,” Smart said. “He made some really good throws. He made a couple that could have been better decisions. He led the offense well, competed hard. He still has to get better.”
Another hot topic was how the offensive line performed, considering it has worked without starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn for the past week.
Smart said he won’t get a gauge on exactly how the line looked until he takes a look at the practice film. But without Wynn, Smart said the offensive line was still able to run the plays it wanted to.
“It wasn’t like we couldn’t function. I wouldn’t say that all,” Smart said. “It’s just that with him in there we’re a better unit. But we’re getting to look at more guys.”
Smart said Saturday’s scrimmage was “balanced,” with the offense and defense both making plays in certain situations. The offense “dominated” the third down period while the defense won the red zone period.
While Smart credited the defense with sound tackling at times, he said the unit has to do a better job of playing through the heat.
“I’ll be honest with you, I thought there would have been more missed tackles than there actually were,” Smart said. “The defense didn’t show up for a couple of periods, where it seemed the heat had gotten to them. We can’t have that. We have to push through that.”
Smart was also asked about the secondary’s performance and whether any of the freshman defensive backs made any plays.
“I’ll reserve judgment until I watch the tape,” Smart said. “We have seven true freshmen back there and none of them are sticking out, which is not always a good thing.”
All in all, it was a scrimmage that apparently had its share of positive and negative moments. And according to Smart, no one put in too memorable of a day.
“There really wasn’t anyone who stood out to me, where I could say, ‘This guy ran the ball unbelievable. This guy made eight sacks. This guy caught the ball. This guy intercepted the ball,’” Smart said. “There wasn’t that. It was not a situation where anyone really stood out. To be honest with you, I don’t feel like they did.”