By Garrett Shearman:
Preparations for the 2016 football season are underway for the Georgia Bulldogs as the first official practice of the season concluded Tuesday night. While construction on the indoor practice facility continues, the Dawgs begin spring practice at the Club Sports field.
A few notes:
In Kirby Smart’s first practice as head coach, it was junior tailback Nick Chubb’s presence that made headlines. Sporting a knee brace, the star running back took handoffs and ran laterally just five months after suffering a serious knee injury that ended his 2015 season early. Previously, video had been leaked of Chubb showing off his straight-line speed while running on a treadmill, but today was the first time he had been seen cutting and moving side-to-side since being sidelined in October.
Smart said Chubb is on time in his recovery schedule, but considering the severity of the injury, Chubb is healing perhaps even more quickly than predicted.
Linebackers Chuks Amaechi (labrum surgery) and Roquan Smith (wrist surgery) are participating in spring practice and should be ready for contact drills in the fall. Davin Bellamy, who is coming off a knee injury, practiced with no limitations.
In what was the first day of collegiate drills for six early enrollees, quarterback Jacob Eason was seen working with the third team offense, while junior Brice Ramsey worked with the twos and senior Greyson Lambert with the ones. Redshirt freshman Nick Robinson was also seen throwing with the third team.
Junior Keyon Brown, who spent the 2015 season as a defensive end after spending the previous year as a linebacker, is back working with outside linebackers.
As of day one, the first team offensive line features Kendall Baker at left tackle, Isaiah Wynn at left guard, Brandon Kublanow at center, Dyshon Sims at right guard and multi-year starter Greg Pyke at right tackle. Early enrollee Ben Cleveland checked in at 6’6″ and 345 pounds and will look to earn playing time on the line throughout spring practice. Transfer Tyler Catalina will arrive for summer practice.
One final note, per rivals, running back AJ Turman has left the program and looks to transfer. Talent was never a question for the 200 pound back out of Orlando, but injuries and a deep pool of talent at ball carrier made it difficult for Turman to find the field.