Ask Griff: What’s this week’s fuss about Georgia QB Jake Fromm?

georgia football-georgia podcast-kirby smart
Georgia QB Jake Fromm is 15-2 as a starter, but there's still plenty of nitpicking going on.

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is 15-2 as a starter and led his team to an SEC championship as a true freshman.

Fromm has completed more than 80 percent of his passes this season, led the Bulldogs to a 3-0 start and has yet to be called upon to play in the fourth quarter.

So what in the world could possibly be causing any fuss?

Critical analysis

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the win over Middle Tennessee there’s been an emphasis on improving the vertical passing game.

Four days later, SEC Network analyst Jordan Rodgers ranked Jake Fromm sixth among league quarterbacks.

The two could be tied together.

Rodgers’ SEC QB rankings this week caused a stir:

 

Let’s save the Justin Fields conversation for another day.

It’s best to just summarize that Fromm will be the Georgia quarterback until he isn’t, and there will be no controversy because it’s the head coach’s call.

RELATED: Jake Fromm disappointed with his own performance in win 

Surprising statistic

So where is Fromm falling short?

Third-and-long.

Fromm is 0-for-6 converting on third-and-10 or longer this season. The results on those six plays: an interception, three sacks, a 5-yard completion and an incomplete pass.

Four of those plays came against South Carolina, and two against Middle Tennessee (both sacks, one with a fumble recovered by teammate Ben Cleveland).

It’s a limited sample, and to be fair to Fromm, he lost his go-to receiver from a season ago, Chicago Bears receiver Javon Wims, and leading returning receiver Terry Godwin has been injured.

Also, Fromm has been playing without left tackle Andrew Thomas the past 1 1/2 games, and one of those three sacks could be attributed to a protection breakdown from true freshman left tackle Cade Mays.

The good news for Bulldogs fans is Georgia rarely finds itself in long down-and-distance situations because of a dominating offensive line and brilliant play-calling from offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.

Other numbers

An argument could be made that Fromm should be No. 1 among quarterbacks in the SEC over the past two seasons when one considers his historic achievements in 2017.

Fromm was the quarterback picked for the FWAA Freshman All-American team after leading the Bulldogs to the SEC championship and near victory in the College Football Playoff title game against Alabama.

Even if the rankings are based on this season alone, Fromm has completed an eye-opening 80.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception.

But the deep dive inside the third down efficiency numbers explained Smart demanding improvement in the vertical passing game, and Rodgers’ issue with Fromm last week.

Moving forward

Smart has confidence in Fromm, but he has also said there’s room for improvement at most every position on the Georgia team from week to week.

Smart said he was pleased with Fromm’s 65-yard completion to Jeremiah Holloman against Middle Tennessee — the ball traveled 55 yards in the air and was perfectly thrown.

Fromm also threw a perfect strike to Riley Ridley in the end zone, putting just the right touch on a 12-yard fade pass to Ridley.

“We talked about vertical passing game and being able to improve that,” Smart said after the 49-7 win over the Blue Raiders.

“That ball by Fromm was a really good ball. It was on time, it wasn’t the primary read, it may have been the second, third or fourth, he went through all the way through them and made a good  throw, so it was good for us to get some work in the vertical passing game and Riley’s ball was the same way.”

While Georgia fans monitor the Bulldogs quarterback situation weekly, with Fields growing in experience, Rodgers will continue his weekly rankings.

Both, it seems, are fluid and sure to draw plenty of opinions.

UGA News

NextThoughts on Georgia-Missouri: ‘Hit Stick,’ Bacarri Rambo, virtual …
Leave a Comment