Kirby Smart updates JT Daniels’ injury, Georgia QB situation, decision to start Stetson Bennett
ATHENS — Kirby Smart indicated the Georgia quarterback situation will remain in a state of flux entering the week of preparation leading up to next Saturday’s SEC opener against South Carolina.
The Bulldogs played three quarterbacks in a 56-7 win over UAB on Saturday with incumbent JT Daniels sidelined by an upper-body core injury, starter Stetson Bennett stealing the show with a 10-of-12, 288-yard, 5-touchdown passing performance.
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Redshirt freshman Carson Beck saw the first significant action of his career, 5-of-11 passing for 97 yards with a touchdown and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. True freshman Brock Vandagriff entered the game late and did not attempt a pass.
Smart indicated if Daniels was healthy enough he would get the start against the Gamecocks.
“It’s evaluated day-to-day, and that’s what percentage of health is JT at, how does Carson practice, and how does Stetson deal with success,” Smart said Saturday night. “It will be evaluated day-to-day, I don’t have any hypotheticals.”
RECAP: Breaking down scoring and injuries of 56-7 win, video clips of TD plays
Smart seemed to suggest Daniels’ injury came as a bit of a surprise after he played throughout the 10-3 win over Clemson and was sacked only once.
“JT was got better as the week went on, really didn’t know anything was wrong with him on Monday, he took most reps, and then as the week went on Tuesday, it was bothering him a little more,” Smart said. “And today he was better than he was earlier in the week, and actually felt good.
“Today was the first time he was actually able to throw some balls down the field in warmups so we hope he continues to improve.”
But Smart made it clear that, while Daniels was better on Saturday, he was not well enough to play.
“He wasn’t 100 percent., (but) he did improve as the week went on,” Smart said. “He was 100 percent better than what he was on Monday or Tuesday, but he was not 100 percent, and we felt like going with the other guys, because the other guys got to practice more.”
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Smart explained how he told Bennett and Beck his plan for the UAB game on Thursday.
“The plan was to play both of them, and we went 2-1, 2-1 exactly like what planned on to get those guys reps,” Smart said, sharing how Bennett got the first two offensive series, then Beck got one, and then two and one again.
“The decision to go with Stetson, we’re really young offensively, we have a lot of guys who are injured and out,” Smart said, proceeding to rattle off the names of injured pass catchers Kearis Jackson, George Pickens and Darnell Washington.
“We just have a lot of young players we’re trying to grow up, and we thought it would give us a calming effect to have him in with his experience and his ability to play in games, and he played really well.”
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