ATHENS — Carson Beck has no illusions when it comes to winning the Georgia quarterback job.
It’s not a matter of waiting his turn. Being the most experienced and oldest in the room guarantees him nothing.
Kirby Smart said last week “it’s not like one guy is sticking out” in Beck’s QB competition with Brock Vandagriff, and the Georgia head coach indicated the competition could spill into the season with both players seeing game reps.
Those things are not be a positive for Beck when one considers he knows the offense better than Vandagriff, has significantly more game experience and by all accounts looks smoother under center in spring camp than the others.
But this is Beck’s reality at Georgia, and it’s a situation he stubbornly accepts and continues to work through even in a transfer era that allows for easier, more convenient options.
“Since I’ve been here, it’s been constant competition since my freshman year,” said Beck, who has seen quarterbacks Jamie Newman, JT Daniels, D’Wan Mathis and Stetson Bennett move ahead of him on the depth chart before moving on from the program.
“We have a very deep quarterback room, and I think we have deep rooms all over the place—wide receiver, tight end, offensive line.”
Smart has talked about how the quarterback position is different in that teams can typically only play one at a time. And, it’s not like you can get a quarterback reps on special teams to keep them on the field and engaged.
But Beck, a one time an Alabama quarterback commit, accepts the situation in Athens and how it got here.
On a 2021 football Monday of game week Smart suggested to media Beck was the “No. 2″ quarterback if a banged up J.T. Daniels couldn’t play.
B ut by the end of that week and the start of the 2021 UAB game, it was the player previously considered No. 3 on the depth chart who got the start.
Many fans bristled on the DawgNation Free Public Forum message board at the report. Some pointed out there was another (erroneous) report that Beck would start. Others suggest that if Stetson Bennett started, Beck might “get run off.”
Some fans booed during the pregame introductions at Sanford Stadium, Bennett quickly silenced them with 5 first-half TD passes, and Beck’s QB dream at Georgia has been put on hold ever since.
Now, with Bennett moved on to the NFL, Beck finds himself competing with Vandagriff for the starting job, the players splitting first-team repetitions.
Beck says he embraces the situation.
“That’s how it should be,” Beck said of the quarterback depth and competition. “We’re at the University of Georgia, one of the best programs in the country. Every position has competition. I think that brings the best out of all of us.”
Beck has already flashed greatness this spring, but he has also had some not-so-great moments with his decision-making in the first scrimmage.
Smart stressed last week that “decision-making” would be the key to winning the quarterback job. It was hard not to think that comment was directed at Beck, who hours earlier had thrown multiple interceptions in the team’s first scrimmage.
Beck likely offers the highest upside from a pure passing standpoint with undeniable arm talent and NFL stature.
But that was the case last year, too, which tells you everything you need to know about the importance of managing the offense, decision-making and the value of QB mobility.
To Beck’s credit, he has not allowed his self-image or confidence to be shaken.
“Even last year, (Bennett) just came off a national championship, but every day I walked out there I felt I was the guy,” Beck said. “That’s the mindset you’ve got to have.”
Further, Beck has bought in to Georgia’s culture of self maximization and brotherhood.
“I think the biggest thing is trying to get better each and every day, coming out focused on me and what I can do,” Beck said.
“Building relationships with teammates, getting to know them better and connecting with them on a deeper level.”
Beck was reportedly off to a good start in a Thursday night scrimmage that was moved inside on account of a nearby lightning strike.
Georgia is expected to try to scrimmage again on Saturday, weather permitting, and then there is the annual G-Day Game on April 15.
The quarterback competition, however, will continue to play out each and every day through the offseason, into fall camp and perhaps even into the 2023 schedule.
The fact Beck is accepting the competition as a way of life at Georgia is what gives him the chance to win it.