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Georgia Bulldogs: G-Day Recap and Reaction

Georgia Bulldogs G-Day Recap and Reaction

GEORGIA BULLDOGS: G-DAY RECAP AND REACTION – The ‘23 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs made their first impression this Saturday in Athens. In front of a half-full stadium of fans, the Red team composed of the first team offense and second team defense faced off against the Black team, which had the second team offense and first team defense. 

Before the game, news broke that sophomore DL Bear Alexander entered the transfer portal, surprising many Dawg fans. Alexander showed impressive skills as a pass rusher as a true freshman. His two sacks in the National Championship seemed to indicate that an impending impactful sophomore campaign. He likely wouldn’t start, but would contribute heavily. However, it appears that Bear Alexander is following AD Mitchell’s footsteps in a number of ways. Southern Cal appears to be the likely landing spot for him, if not Texas. Similar to Mitchell, it appears Alexander’s former Georgia teammates aren’t exactly broken up about his departure. NIL is playing a big factor here as well. Is Georgia losing a contributor? Absolutely. And they’ll absolutely be fine, especially given that Alexander negatively impacted the locker room. 

In terms of the game itself, the Red team bested the Black in a tale of two halves. The first half was dominated by the offenses, while the second half was much more of a defensive battle. The biggest question entering the game was which QB would win the QB1 spot coming out of the spring. Coach Smart said that the QB evaluation is only about 25% complete earlier in the week, but Saturday gave fans concentrated time for their own evaluation of Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff, and Gunner Stockton. 

Beck lined up with the first team to start the game. He had an impressive first half as he orchestrated the offense efficiently to multiple score. His found TE Brock Bowers for a nice gain on a very touchy throw, hit Ladd McConkey on a bullet down the field, and threw into a few tight windows on slants successfully. He only had a couple of throws that he put in harm’s way, but none of them resulted in turnovers. Beck certainly looked the part on G-Day. 

Vandagriff had mixed results. His mechanics still need work, especially on his deep ball. However, he quickly showed his athleticism with a 23-yard run in his first drive. Vandagriff rifled several throws, but at times he needed to show more touch on his throws. DB Tykee Smith picked Vandagriff off on a pass attempt that was thrown behind WR Dominic Lovett. He did throw for a couple of touchdowns as well. 

Gunner Stockton showed promise, but also made it clear this is a two horse race for the starting job. Stockton is still too quick to bring his eyes down while facing pressure. While he showed patience and a willingness to throw the ball away when pressured, he also needs to keep his eyes down the field. Stockton run and threw for scores in the game, while also throwing a pick 6 to LB Raylen Wilson on a tipped ball. Stockton had several balls batted at the line of scrimmage. 


Other standouts

WR Arian Smith scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game on an end-around, outpacing DB Javon Bullard to reach the corner. He also caught a slant for a TD from Carson Beck. If Smith can finally stay healthy, he can become a big contributor this year and not just a player who makes 1-2 catches each game. 

Perhaps the next biggest standout player is actually a walk-on reciever, Mekhi Mews. At just 5’8, Mews doesn’t fit the mold for a receiver. However, he certainly doesn’t lack speed. He took a pass an additional 30 yards after the catch once getting into the open field. He scored the final touchdown of the game, and his long catch and run set up a score right before half time. Mews likely will never see the field this year, but he was special on Saturday. 

New arrival WR Dominic Lovett has received rave reviews all spring practice. On G-Day, Lovett showed his skills as a returner and a receiver. He showed elite agility and top end speed that makes him dangerous with the ball in his hands. He can take a punt or a screen to the house at any time. Lovett looks to be the real deal. 

Freshman safety Joenel Aguero is going to be hard to keep off the field even in a loaded secondary this year. Aguero looks like he has been in the strength and conditioning program for a few years rather than a few months. He laid the lumber on an opponent in the backfield during the first half. 

LB Raylen Wilson has the speed of a receiver, but plays linebacker. He happened to be in the right place at the right time for his pick 6. Wilson has a promising future ahead of him at linebacker. In reality, if you’re playing linebacker at UGA under Glenn Schumann, you probably have a bright future. Wilson is at the top of that list though. 

LB Xavian Sorey took advantage of starting LB Smael Mondon being injured as an opportunity to show out. He led his team in tackles, despite making some early mistakes. Sorey met RB Daijun Edwards in the backfield early in the game, but Edwards easily shook Sorey who missed his chance for a tackle for loss. Sorey and Mondon will make a remarkably athletic pairing at linebacker when they get in the game together this year. 

A few freshman stood out on Saturday, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Sam M’Pemba looked impressive off the edge, showing plenty of speed. Damon Wilson recorded a sack while Jordon Hall batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage. Zeed Haynes showed speed at receiver too.  

Lastly, transfer receiver Rara Thomas only played on special teams this game. After the game, Kirby says that he still has some things to work on. I’ll translate that for you. He’s still in the dog house. 

Who is on their way out?

Bear Alexander left, but 4 more players need to leave for UGA to be at the scholarship limit. I would expect LB Rian Davis to hit the portal. He was the first LB to rotate in much of last year, but he did not play and was not injured. In a very talented LB room, it seems fair that Davis would seek more playing time elsewhere. Trezman Marshall left UGA for Alabama already because he could find more playing time there. Davis is a solid LB and would provide adequate relief this year as a sub. 

UGA’s DB and receiver room are quite full as well. It wouldn’t shock me to see a player or two from either group leave. 


Spring games are a double-edged sword. Sometimes they give you a preview of just how good a player or unit is. Other times, they mislead fans to thinking that someone who is average is actually good. When AD Mitchell showed out during his freshman year, it was a sign of things to come. When Jonathan Rumph caught 4 passes for 98-yards and 2 touchdowns in 2013 G-day, it wasn’t reflective of upcoming contribution to the team. So, you can’t read too much into G-day for a variety of reasons. Georgia is dealing with numerous injuries. Only two scholarship running backs are healthy. One isn’t fully healthy and the other has been on campus for 3 months. The offense is nowhere near the full offense that will be installed in the fall. The defense isn’t going to play as physical and aggressive as they could. So, G-day tells you something but it doesn’t tell you everything. Be careful with the hot takes coming out of G-day. Example: 

Hot Take: The QB competition is over. Carson Beck was clearly more in control of the offense on Saturday. He looked head and shoulders better than Brock Vandagriff, and this isn’t really a competition anymore. Expect Vandagriff to leave in the portal. 

Better Take: Beck is in the lead, but Vandagriff is not out of this. G-day inherently sets up to give a pure passer an advantage, and Vandagriff’s biggest weapon is his athleticism. In a scrimmage where the QB can be sacked by being touched, we didn’t get to see how good Vandagriff can be. Plus, in the spring game the offense is more pass-happy than in a real game. If Vandagriff wins the job, Bobo will adjust the play calling to better suit his strengths and the offense will be just fine. 

Georgia will lose more players and they will still be just fine. Their schedule starts soft and will allow plenty of opportunities for players at all levels of the depth chart to get playing time. This team will be successful no matter who is under center.

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