ATHENS -- Preseason practice has arrived and the Georgia Bulldogs are ready to get back to work.
It has been a long offseason between spring and summer workouts, with both the coaching staff and players explaining their desire to get back to football. Players have organized their own workouts, but Tuesday marks the first time they’ll be back with the full coaching staff since the spring.
“We’re excited, I’m excited to get back on the field to see the hard work we put in this spring and summer,” defensive end Sterling Bailey said. “Just to be out there with my teammates, I just can’t wait for it.”
With that in mind, here are five questions for the start of the first preseason practice session:
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1. WHICH QUARTERBACK WILL EMERGE FIRST?
The competition at quarterback between Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Greyson Lambert begins Tuesday and could last as long as a couple of weeks into the regular season. But at some point during preseason practice, one will shine through first. It will be interesting to see which quarterback elevates to the top first and how he responds. Even though head coach Mark Richt has stated it’s an even competition at this point, Ramsey should have every opportunity to seize the job. If not, Bauta or Lambert could sneak in and take the job away. Bauta’s ability with the zone-read option on what will already be a run-heavy team could be enticing to the coaching staff. Lambert’s game experience certainly helps his case, especially now that he has a much better offensive line and running game to work with than he did at Virginia.
2. IS KEITH MARSHALL READY TO ROLL?
Marshall tore his ACL as a sophomore and dealt with knee and ankle issues as a junior in 2014. Sure, Nick Chubb is the go-to running back in this offense and for good reason. In eight starts last year, Chubb ran for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns, proving he’s among the best running backs in the country. Now that he’s healthy, Marshall could be ready to contribute in a major way. During his freshman season, when he shared the ball with Todd Gurley, Marshall averaged 6.5 yards per carry. He does have a fan in basketball head coach Mark Fox, who said he’d love to see Marshall run some Wildcat formations this year.
3. WILL TRENTON THOMPSON START IMMEDIATELY?
There is a lot of hype surrounding true freshman defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, with the thought being that he could step into the defensive lineup immediately. If defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt believes Thompson is ready for this role, Pruitt will throw Thompson into the fire. Thompson dominated his high school opponents and earned his status as one of the top recruits in the country. With Georgia ironing out its defensive line rotation, Thompson’s performance early in preseason practice could go a long way as to how much early playing time he receives.
4. IS BRANDON KUBLANOW READY FOR THE MOVE TO CENTER?
Brandon Kublanow had a great season at left guard a year ago and by all accounts will make a good center. While that is the plan, Richt said during SEC Media Days that it’s not set in stone. Georgia will need Kublanow to fill in for David Andrews without missing a beat, considering the Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback. If Kublanow performs the way the coaches expect, Georgia will be just fine up front on the offensive line.
5. HOW WILL GEORGIA USE ISAIAH MCKENZIE?
At receiver, Georgia knows what it’s getting in Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and even true freshman Terry Godwin. But Isaiah McKenzie boasts a ton of playmaking potential in a 5-foot-8, 170-pound frame. If the Bulldogs can get McKenzie the ball in the open field, he’s a big play waiting to happen. With a year under his belt and with the scheme not changing much under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, McKenzie could be someone the Bulldogs utilize more in the passing game.