The Georgia Bulldogs’ spring football game, “G-Day” always carries special meaning for Dawg fans, and this year’s edition is no different. Since Kirby Smart arrived Between the Hedges in 2016, over 93,000 fans filled Sanford Stadium to see what the fuss was about. Last year over 80,000 fans came out and this year, Sanford Stadium will more than likely tout the largest spring football attendance in the Southeastern Conference.

This Saturday, all eyes will be on quarterbacks Jake Fromm and highly touted freshman D’Wan Mathis.

Fromm is coming off a 2018 campaign that saw hum throw for 2,761 yards, 30 touchdowns compared to six interceptions. Also, former number one recruit and backup quarterback Justin Fields has transferred to Ohio State. Through it all, Fromm managed to lead the Bulldogs to an SEC East crown and runner up in the SEC Championship game.

Meanwhile, Mathis, the early enrollee, comes in prepared and ready if given the opportunity to play.

Last year, many fans were frustrated at times with Fromm’s lack of production (specifically against LSU and Texas), while many pleaded for a quarterback change. Mathis is the next man up and will be ready if needed.  In his three year high school career at Oak Park High School in Michigan, he completed 62.5 percent of his passes and finished with over 5,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing.

Fans are also looking forward to checking out the running backs. With Elijah Holyfield declaring for the NFL draft, the Bulldogs return D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and James Cook. Swift finished with 1,049 yards rushing and ten touchdowns last season while Herrian and Cook finished with 295 and 284 respectively.

The Bulldogs look to add to the backfield with Zamir White coming off of injury. White is coming off a torn ACL before the season started last season and can give the Bulldogs a big boost off the ground.

On the receiving end, the Bulldogs have big shoes to fill since Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta, Terry Godwin and Riley Ridley left for the NFL Draft. Jeremiah Holloman and Tyler Simmons are the two main receivers who will need to get open for Jake Fromm. Other receivers such as Matt Landers and Demetrius Roberson, are needed for the Bulldogs to maintain their elite passing game.

On the defensive line, Tyler Clark, Malik Herring and Julian Rochester will control the line of scrimmage as returning starters. With D’Andre Walker graduating, Smart and the defense has to figure out who will step up as their leading pass rusher. This is a huge question in the Bulldogs defense as they finished 12th out of the 14 teams in the SEC in sacks last season.

“We’re hoping to get some more pass rush; we’re trying to increase the pass rush and tackles for loss; we’re always trying to give people negative plays,” Smart said on Atlanta sports-talk radio station, 680 The Fan.

In the secondary, Georgia will look for cornerbacks Erik Stokes and Tyson Campbell to step up after All-American cornerback Deandre Baker departed for the NFL Draft. They will be aided by returning senior safeties J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte.

“This year we don’t feel like we’re as young on defense,” Smart added. “We feel like we’ve got some guys coming back that can contribute, some guys coming back that played and that may allow us to be more aggressive.”

Kickoff for G-Day is set for 2:00 PM at Sanford Stadium. Gates will open at 11am.

Photo by: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice

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