That was a memorable ride the Bulldogs took us on last season, but it’s time to turn the page. The new ‘Dogs start spring football in a few days, so get ready to get to know an almost entirely new cast. Coach Smart and his coaching staff have a new look too.

The coffee shop buzz entering spring practice has been about Justin Fields entering the competition and Coach James Coley’s elevated status on offense. Fields starts his UGA career as the #2 quarterback, which is awesome for him. Coach Coley turned down a promotion to be Jimbo Fisher’s OC at Texas A&M, so Kirby needed to sweeten his deal.

Georgia’s offense is going to need to step up early this season, with the ‘Dogs defense breaking in a lot of new players, especially at linebacker. Developing a few of the young players is going to be important at this position.

Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Who will replace inside linebacker Roquan Smith? Let me answer that one: No one is going to replace that beast! So, a lot of young talent will be getting a good look this spring: Walter Grant, Monty Rice, Jaden Hunter and Nate McBride will be joined by early enrollee freshmen, Brenton Cox and Channing Tindall. Need to get these guys ‘coached up’ and find out whom might be ready to help this coming season.

On offense, the offensive line will be taking a close look at a lot of young players too. Freshman Jamaree Salyer and redshirt freshman Isaiah Wilson are both looking to make some noise this spring. Andrew Thomas flips over to the left tackle spot and his development will be closely followed. Netori Johnson & Trey Hill are two more young guys to keep an eye on.

Sam Pittman has stockpiled some huge talent on the O-Line and this group has a chance to develop into the strength of the team. Normally, when a team loses its left tackle to the NFL there is reason for concern. However, Andrew Thomas should transition nicely. As a freshman last season at right tackle, he showed off impressive technique and a competitive spirit that should assist him in the transition to the other side.

It’s not difficult to imagine early enrollee freshman Jamaree Salyer getting into the mix quickly at guard. Physically, he is blessed (6’4 ½” & 350 pounds) with a big body. This Bulldog offensive line could end up averaging 6’5” and 340-plus, in the next 12 months.

The trouble spot on offense could be X-receiver. Javon Wims are awesome last season and the ‘Dogs will have some issues replacing him.

Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley (11) closes in as Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley (9) drops a high pass during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Doug Benc)

Riley Ridley might be the guy that steps up. He sure delivered a strong performance in the National Title Game. Otherwise, it’ll have to be one of the young pups. Riley Ridley appears ready to take over the X-WR spot. Jeremiah Holloman has a chance to break out! I want to see more of redshirt freshman Trey Blount. Maybe one of these two freshmen come in and flash some serious skill (Matt Landers or Tommy Bush).

This should be a very interesting spring for Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs. Stay tuned in to the Buck & Kincade Show for more, weekdays from 12-3.

-Buck Belue
Co-Host “Buck and Kincade”