ATHENS — Carson Beck has done everything that’s been asked of him to this point. He’s led Georgia to an unbeaten record, keeping the offense humming even without Brock Bowers being available for the past two weeks.
On Saturday, Beck can potentially check off another key Georgia goal. A win over Ole Miss would give Georgia the SEC East. The Bulldogs could also clinch the division by seeing Missouri beat Tennessee on Saturday.
But Georgia will be far more focused on beating No. 9 Ole Miss. The weather isn’t expected to be great during the night game in Sanford Stadium, with rain expected in the forecast.
Beck is going to need to be at his best on Saturday. Not just in his reads and checks, but in how he leads this Georgia football team into a pivotal November game.
“His leadership to continue to improve and exert his confidence and put his touch on his personality with those guys is something,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said on what he wants to see from his quarterback. “He’s into all the ball stuff. He could be cleaner on some things in the pocket. He could be cleaner on some protection things, but he’s going to make mistakes because we put him in a position to make three to four decisions every play.
“So he’s not going to be perfect, but I can accept that. I just want him to continue to grow as a leader and commanding of the offense.”
On the season, Beck has completed 72 percent of his passes this season. He’s thrown for 250 yards in every game, while tossing 16 touchdowns to 4 interceptions.
If there is one on-field area Beck could improve, it comes with his deep ball passing. Beck has thrived picking teams apart, but the deep ball is the one area of his game that hasn’t completely clicked yet.
“One spot where I’ve seen some inconsistency is his ball placement on downfield throws,” ESPN’s Jordan Reid wrote. “Beck has completed 39% of his passes thrown 20-plus air yards (41 attempts), and his 34.1% off-target rate on such passes ranks 63rd in the FBS.”
Reid has Beck ranked as his No. 5 quarterback prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. The Georgia quarterback is seen as a day-two pick at this point in time, in part because of his lack of starting experience. Saturday will be just his 10th career start. A win and a strong showing could only further improve his standing with NFL decision-makers.
Beck could be getting some key pieces back this week. Amarius Mims continues to get closer to seeing the field, while there has been some optimism that Bowers could possibly play this week. It would be in a limited role at best, but Bowers is someone still capable of helping Beck and the Georgia offense.
“Brock’s been looking good. I’ve been watching him. He seems like he’s progressing fast,” Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint said. “I still don’t know anything about…. I just know he’s been running. He’s been hitting, I’ve heard he hit some high speed, 19, 20, something like that. He’s progressing. He’s looking to get back. We’re excited for him to get back on the field… We’re just hoping and we’re just waiting.”
Beck and the Bulldogs will find out the status of Bowers on Saturday. Regardless of whether the star tight end plays or not, the Bulldogs will need a strong game from Beck.
Saturday’s game is set for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. ESPN will broadcast the game.