ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t ready to make any declarative statements about the quarterback position, other than that it’s business as usual for his team during the off week.
The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs are coming off a 41-24 loss at Alabama that saw the Tide shut out Georgia in the second half, scoring 21 points off quarterback Stetson Bennett’s three interceptions in the game.
The next UGA game is at Kentucky at noon on Oct. 31. The game was postponed from this coming Saturday on account of the SEC adjusting the league schedule to accommodate COVID-19 issues at other schools.
The Bulldogs have now failed to score touchdowns in three of the eight halves of football they have played this season, leading some to wonder if USC transfer JT Daniels or opening game starter D’Wan Mathis might get game-time opportunities.
“This week, we’ll get a lot of guys reps, JT will get reps, D’Wan will get reps, and Stetson will continue to get reps,” Smart said on his Tuesday Zoom call. “We try to develop our roster. It doesn’t change, it gives us a chance to give more guys work and see where they are in their progress, and that’s true at every position including quarterback.”
Smart explained that in a typical game week, it’s hard for a quarterback to make much progress up the depth chart.
“During a game week, we get Ones 70-to-80 percent of the reps, Twos, 20-30 percent of the reps, but then our Threes get a lot of reps during the week because they go against the other units,” Smart said.
“The toughest thing is getting enough reps, once you’re down the road, of being able to get guys prepared for games,” Smart said. “You can’t prepare three or four quarterbacks to play in a game, you just don’t get enough time to do that.
“But we do get a lot of time this week to compete, have reps, (and) that’s every position.”
Smart was asked the different between being medically cleared and being healthy enough to play in a game, a hypothetical that obviously applies to Daniels, who wasn’t cleared until after the opening game at Arkansas.
“Medically cleared is saying he can get out and get tackled and play football,” Smart said. “It’s unique to that position because quarterback doesn’t go live, maybe in fall camp some, but he doesn’t go live until real game time.
“Then everything else revolves around who we think gives us the best chance to win, that’s ultimately the decision you have.”
Smart was asked point blank if Bennett was still the starter, and he said, “Like I’ve talked about before, I feel great about Stetson, I think he’s done a good job managing the situations we put him in.”
Smart said Bennett threw some passes that he shouldn’t have against Alabama.