On The Beat with Mike Griffith: Georgia football QB plan, genius in the simplicity
ATHENS — Georgia football is six days away from the 2018 season-opening game and there has not been official depth chart released
Sometimes the genius is in the simplicity.
Kirby Smart has been “keeping the main thing the main thing” and that means open competition at positions, and focus on making the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs better every day.
Smart knows it’s a long haul, potentially a 15-game season, and he’s taking it day-by-day, especially at quarterback.
“I think we’re going to wait and see how things go; you don’t really have a plan going in,” Smart said, asked if Georgia plans to play two quarterbacks in the 3:30 p.m. opening game against Austin Peay at Sanford Stadium on Saturday.
The plan, no plan
“Your plan is to say, ‘All right, I want the best guy to play, and if a guy brings something to the table that another guy doesn’t, and we feel like it’s advantageous for us, whether we have a package or we do something with him.
“But I won’t sit here and say there’s a plan for anything.”
Smart revealed last week what most had assumed, that sophomore Jake Fromm has worked most with the first team.
It seems a safe bet Fromm will start the opener after leading Georgia to the SEC Championship Game and a College Football Playoff runner-up finish last season.
But Smart learned the importance of having two quarterbacks ready last season when incumbent Jacob Eason was injured and Fromm had to take control of the team.
“We learned last year that we don’t know what the future holds at quarterback,” Smart said, “so we have to have guys ready to play.”
Fields a talent
Incoming freshman Justin Fields has received a great deal of reps, and while he lacks the invaluable experience Fromm possesses, he has exceptional mobility along with a live arm.
Smart said both quarterbacks have been working in the same offense this offseason.
It’s an indication that, in the early portion of the season, Fromm will continue to get the majority of the reps with Fields getting work when opportunities present themselves.
The possibility for a Fields’ package down the road exists, as offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said at the start of fall camp, “you don’t rule anything out.”
For now, Smart is making sure he has two quarterbacks capable of operating Georgia’s base offense.
Reps in base offense
“Right now our plan is to get both those guys ready to play, [and] how do we get them ready to play? We give them reps,” Smart said. “We let them see fastball. We let them run plays. They run a lot of the same plays during the day.
“It’s not like, ‘Oh, there’s this Justin Fields offense and there’s this Jake Fromm offense. We’re not doing that. That’s not fair to Justin. Justin’s a good quarterback. So we’re letting both those guys grow and develop.”
Smart indicated freshman Matthew Downing is the Bulldogs’ third-team quarterback, and “we’ve just invested just as many reps in our third guy because he’s got to be ready to play.”