ATHENS — Expectations are high for Carson Beck entering the 2024 season. He knows that. It’s part of the reason he came back.
Whether it is being seen as a Heisman Trophy favorite or as a possible All-American, Beck knows he’s going to have to elevate his game for Georgia in 2024.
“I set really high expectations. But it definitely could have done a whole lot better,” Beck said of his play prior to the Orange Bowl. “There’s so many opportunities left out on the field. So many decisions where it’s like, I go back and watch on film, I’m like, I’ve done that 1,000 times and how could I possibly mess that up? So just really coming back and being super tough on myself as we go into next year.”
Beck threw for 3,941 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2023. It was the first time he had started a game at any level since he was a high school senior in the fall of 2019.
There was a learning curve for Beck in his first season as Georgia’s starting quarterback. Things move much faster in the SEC than when he was a quarterback at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, Fla. Beck did throw six interceptions on the season.
The hope is that this offseason, things will further slow down for him.
“There’s so many things that I can improve on and just continue to get better at,” Beck said. ”Even the confidence piece of just going out there and believing in this team, believing in myself, and understanding exactly what defenses are trying to do. But I think that there can be a huge improvement from year to year.”
Beck will be working with some new weapons, as Brock Bowers, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Ladd McConkey all move on to the NFL. Georgia did dip into the transfer portal to add players around Beck, landing three wide receivers and running back Trevor Etienne.
While those additions were made in part to give Beck more help, head coach Kirby Smart acknowledges that much of Georgia’s offensive improvement in 2024 will be driven by Beck.
“He’s a kid that wins with his mind, protections, throws at an elite level,” Smart said. “Then, when you have all that figured out and you beat an offensive lineman and you’ve got one on one chance to tackle him and he takes off, it just demoralizes a defense. I thought his growth within terms of making those decisions - if you’re No. 1 in the country on third down, you’ve got somebody that knows what he’s doing at quarterback.
“It doesn’t just happen. If you look across the nation and across the history of guys that have been good on third downs, they usually are high-quarterback-functioning people. That’s what he is.”
At the outset of the offseason, the goal for Beck is to establish better chemistry with those around him.
“I feel like as the season has continued to go on that’s built more and more, being able to trust guys and know where guys are going to be,” Beck said.” But I think through offseason work and things like that, that we can really hit the field running at the beginning of the season to where I know what guys are going to do. Really get into the lab and practice those things in the offseason.”
Beck could be preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft at this moment. Instead, he’s eager to build off his 2023 season. One that didn’t end with the team success that he had envisioned.
While the Georgia quarterback acknowledges he has a lot to gain personally in the 2024 season, team success matters a great bit to the Georgia quarterback.
“Coming back and trying to win a championship with these guys and this team, it’s so important to me,” Beck said. “I know that’s so cliche and that’s like what I’m supposed to say, but I truly believe that and mean that.”