Georgia stock report: Young players soar, Kenny McIntosh scores in Scrimmage One

ATHENS — Kirby Smart knows what a championship team looks like and how to build one.

The Georgia head coach made it clear after Scrimmage One on Saturday the 2022 Bulldogs aren’t there yet.

RELATED: New Georgia injuries show margin for error much thinner for ‘22 Dawgs

“We have a long way to go to get where we need to go,” Smart said. “That has nothing to do with Oregon, that has nothing to do with anybody we play, that has to do with the Georgia Bulldogs.

“We have to look ourselves in the eyes, as coaches, and figure out what guys we have to do the best and get them to execute that at the best.”

To be clear, it sounds like there are some tough decisions — and conversations with players — ahead.

The media viewing portion of Scrimmage One was limited, as Smart catered to the hundreds of donors that help provide funding to build the program’s championship facilities.

Parents and relatives of players were also present among the crowd at what was technically a “closed” scrimmage.

RELATED: Scrimmage One breakdown, Kirby’s sharp words

There were plenty of credible sources in that audience to reveal what they had seen, along with what Smart chose to share.

To be clear, teams are never as polished as they’d like after one scrimmage, and some level of drop-off at Georgia was expected after 15 players were drafted and 13 others transferred, including four former starters.

Smart has stockpiled great talent, but it is young and inexperienced in many places, and still in the stages of development.

STOCK SOARING

Kamari Lassiter drew one of the ultimate compliments a Georgia player can get when Smart said “Kamari is one of the best tacklers on nthe team,” later adding the second-year corner is “fighting his tail off for that spot …”

RELATED: Cornerback battle takes center stage, leaders name emerging

Malaki Starks opened eyes and was among the most talked about players from those in attendance. The incoming 5-star was “all over the field,” which is what UGA needs in Lewis Cine’s absence.

Trezman Marshall earned praise after Smart said he “made a couple of good plays” despite playing inside linebacker with a painful calf strain.

Kenny McIntosh continues to draw heavy praise, this time from the head coach after he used his vision and cutting ability to slice through the defense on a long TD run in the scrimmage.

STOCK UP

Dillon Bell is a freshman receiver Smart said played well, and he’s counting on him to step up and help ease the loss of Arian Smith in a thinning WR room.

RELATED: Kirby challenges Dillon Bell to emerge in thinning WR ranks

Oscar Delp continued to open some eyes with his receiving ability, to the extent Smart also went out of his way to praise the freshman tight end.

Brock Vandagriff moved the team in the scrimmage, and while Smart notes he is happy with all his quarterbacks, observers felt the sophomore played well enough to be making a move.

The Offensive line looks better this season than last, but part of that may have to do with the different Georgia front they are dealing with. Another part is the more physical attitude new O-Line coach Stacy Searels has brought.

Daijun Edwards has earned the trust of the coaching staff, “knows his assignments inside and out” Smart noted, and he moves the pile. With Kendall Milton slowed by a hamstring, Edwards has been second in line in RB drill work.

Freshman Backs Branson Robinson and Andrew Paul showed some serious tackle-breaking ability and one-cut running. Both physical backs, it’s a matter of them getting assignments down in UGA’s complex offense.

Second-year corner Nyland Green has the length and athleticism that can not be coached, and Smart complimented him for starting to bring the type of physicality that will be needed to get on the field.

STOCK EVEN

Stetson Bennett has improved from last season and is the unquestioned starter and Smart’s No. 1 choice, but observers noted there are times the sixth-year senior holds the ball and certain throws he’s still working to execute.

RELATED: Scrimmage One sends Kirby to film room to watch quarterbacks

Carson Beck has shown an electric arm and athleticism, but key observers at the scrimmage feel the third-year QB has yet to get over the proverbial hump, in terms of his consistency.

Brett Thorson has not yet won the punter job, which has to be disappointing considering he came all the way from Australia to do so.

Tykee Smith is still playing with a knee brace while working to get the confidence back after last season’s surgery. Smith had a big hit in the scrimmage, but also, gave up some plays. Just as he did Richard LeCounte, Smart is staying on top of Smith on the practicemicrophone.

Xavian Sorey and Smael Mondon are two of the more exciting names at linebacker, both with great ability, but the head coach wants more. “Sorey flashes … but he’s got to do it more consistently,” Smart said, and “Smael has got to play better, too.”



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