Where the Georgia quarterback situation has been concerned, Kirby Smart once famously said, “The plan is there is no plan.”
Smart was talking about Jake Fromm and Justin Fields in the 2018 preseason at the time, but his philosophy on quarterbacks remains decidedly fluid.
Smart makes it a point to have a plan for most every situation, but he was intentionally vague on how he will manage the quarterbacks for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs against Kent State at noon on Saturday.
So, exactly how does Smart know when it’s time to pull a quarterback out of a game and use another?
“You have to win the football game, so the number one thing is what do we have to do to win the football game?” Smart said. “The number two thing is what do we have to do to stay healthy, what do we have to do to keep the confidence and keep rhythm in our offense?
“There’s a lot of things that go into that in terms of the experience of the two. There’s no perfect way to answer that question because every game is going to be different based on who we play the next week, how did we play that game, where are we, who’s playing around them, what other linemen are in? There’s not an exact answer to that question.”
So the plan is there is no plan, and yet Georgia wants to keep backups Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton happy and in the program.
Smart acknowledges all of those quarterbacks chose the Bulldogs to become the starter.
But more importantly, they want to be the best they can be and get prepared to play at the next level.
“You’re not selling come here and sit on the bench — you’re selling an opportunity to develop,” Smart said. “I think we have a proven track record (Todd) Monken has, our offense has of developing quarterbacks, of giving guys an opportunity to play in a system that they can watch play on Sundays is pretty important.
“There are developmental positions in recruiting. Offensive linemen are probably the least played position as a true freshman, right along with quarterbacks. A lot of those positions are developmental positions and you have to grow and get better. I think that’s part of recruiting, is telling them the truth when it comes to that.”
Smart is sensitive to his players’ needs, but they all understand the Georgia football mindset.
“I’m here to protect the University of Georgia,” Smart said. I promised to develop them. That’s what we promised them to do along with Coach Monken and our staff. There are not a lot of places you can go to play for an offensive coordinator that coached quarterbacks and receivers in the NFL.
“Every kid wants to go to the NFL. Never has a scout come and asked me how many reps or plays he got his freshman, sophomore, or junior year. They want to know what the finished product is. The end game is the goal. If guys want to stay and be a part of that, that’s great.”