Following Georgia’s 41-24 loss to Alabama, the quarterback position has become a popular one with regards to what comes next for the Bulldogs.
Stetson Bennett completed 29 of his 48 pass attempts on Saturday for 340 yards. He tossed three touchdowns on Saturday but also threw two costly interceptions for the Bulldogs. In his two starts against Alabama, Bennett has now thrown five interceptions. Both starts have also seen Georgia lose by a score of 41-24.
Hanging over both Bennett and coach Kirby Smart is backup quarterback JT Daniels. He started three games this season for Georgia, winning all three. He’s actually never lost as Georgia’s starting quarterback, with the Bulldogs winning all four of his 2020 starts after he took over for Bennett.
Smart has been asked if he considered making a change to Daniels during the game, to which Smart said he had not. It’s not the only question Smart answered about the quarterback position, with Bennett also fielding questions about his play from Saturday.
The text below contains answers from Smart and Bennett directly after the SEC championship game. The final two questions and answers from Smart came from a press conference he held on Sunday after it had been announced Georgia football would play Michigan in the College Football Playoffs.
We have also compiled the selected questions and answers into a video clip as well.
Stetson Bennett Opening Statement: Yeah, we just didn’t play our best game today. They did. Can’t turn the ball over. Just little mental lapses. That can’t happen. We’re going to work on starting tomorrow. Hopefully get ready for whoever we play next.
Q. For Kirby and Stetson: I think four drives in the red zone tonight, only ten points. Why do you think you struggled there in that area of the field?
“They did a good job of stopping us twice. One of them we went for it, where we probably could’ve have points. But at that point I felt like we needed touchdowns and not field goals. I’ll let Stetson answer as well.” -- Kirby Smart
“Can’t throw a pick down there. The one where they went all out zero, clock was running down, didn’t have time, tried to -- whenever we went for it on fourth down, tried to scramble and make a play; it didn’t happen. Just got to finish it. We had opportunities. Like I said, we were moving it. We were driving the ball all four times, and just can’t throw picks and got to execute better.” -- Stetson Bennett
Q. And then defensively that you had to go against Stetson, what was the biggest challenge for you?
“They’re a really good team, really good players. We move the ball and just mental lapses. When you do that, they make you pay. Several third downs, the two interceptions -- you just can’t have that versus a team of this caliber. We had it, and they made us pay for it.” -- Stetson Bennett
Q. Stetson, you referenced a couple picks you threw, and there was another one in the first half that was pretty close. I’m just wondering if you at all felt off at all tonight, or was it just a couple of mistakes basically?
“No, I felt fine. The first one was a bad decision. The second one, I didn’t see the safety driving. Like I said, you can’t have those two plays against players like this. They made us pay for it.” -- Stetson Bennett
Q. Kirby, I understand Alabama scored 41 points tonight, but there’s always a debate about the quarterback situation. Is there going to be a debate about who should start in the playoffs? Can you just sort of address that and whether you think you have a decision to make about who starts in the playoffs?
“We have a decision to make every week at every position, but I have the utmost confidence in Stetson Bennett. I think he did some really nice things tonight. We go and reevaluate everything all the time, but he played well. It’s a tough environment we put him in defensively and didn’t -- we have to be able to run the ball and have a little bit of semblance of balance, and I felt like there was times tonight where we were getting into a scoring contest because our defense didn’t get stops. And you don’t want to have to do that.
But I certainly have a lot of confidence in Stetson, and I have a lot of confidence in J.T. too.” -- Kirby Smart.
Q. I’ll ask you a last night question and a looking forward question. Last night obviously anytime things don’t work out, there’s a lot of questions. Regarding Stetson and JT, was there any discussion even on the headset or something about should we go in there and give JT a shot in this game since you were down,trying to come back quick?
“As far as the Stetson and JT question, no, we never discussed that on the headphones last light. Obviously we have to play a lot better in a lot of areas. To put any part of that blame or all that blame on Stetson, there’s a lot more to it at that. We got to play better at rounding, special teams, defense, really all facets of the game. There were some really, really, really good throws last night by Stetson, some throws that only his guy could catch the ball. He made some good plays. We have to work on some poor decisions and a couple throws there that were picked off.” -- Kirby Smart.
Q. Stetson and JT, will you consider making a change there or do you feel Stetson is your starter?:
“Yeah, I’ve addressed that already.” -- Kirby Smart
Georgia does not play again until Dec. 31 when it takes on Michigan in the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs will have time between now and then to evaluate the quarterback decision. Whether Georgia makes a change to Daniels or elects to stick with Bennett will play out over those coming weeks.
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