ATHENS – Over the weekend, it looked like Jacob Eason was the favorite to win Georgia’s starting quarterback job. But head coach Kirby Smart declined to name a starter on Monday, and the picture was muddled even further a few hours later.
Greyson Lambert appeared to be first in the pecking order at Monday’s practice, at least during the media viewing period.
During a passing drill, where quarterbacks threw to receivers, Lambert was clearly first, followed by Eason. Brice Ramsey was interspersed for a few throws, but it was mostly Lambert and Eason, in that order.
The feeling from those around the team lately has been that Eason was the clear leader. He received the majority of the first-team snaps in Saturday’s scrimmage in the Georgia Dome, according to someone who was there. But neither Eason or Lambert have been told anything, multiple people close to the program said. The team hasn’t been told anything officially either.
There was also a feeling around the team that Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney could turn back to Lambert if they ultimately aren’t ready to start a freshman in his first game, especially against a Power 5 conference opponent.
All that Smart would acknowledge on Monday was that the competition had been pared down to Lambert and Eason. That offers Smart and Chaney a choice between a fifth-year senior who started all but one game last year (Lambert), or a highly-touted freshman with major upside (Eason).
Smart has been part of a big quarterback decision before, but that was as a defensive coordinator. He was asked Monday how he was handling it differently now that he’s a head coach.
“I think the biggest difference is just watching the offense from the perspective of the offense instead of from the perspective of the defense,” he said. “So everything we watch, every decision the quarterback makes I’m analyzing what quarterback is making what decision, what broke down, why did it go wrong; did it go wrong because of the decision he made? Did it go wrong because of communication or did it go wrong because the receiver or the O lineman or the tight end messed up or the running back didn’t block right?
“So, you have to make subjective decisions when you watch that, but you have to be objective about the whole process. I think that’s the hardest part being head coach is analyzing every play — did the guy do what he was supposed to do to give us a chance to have a successful play? And that’s not normal for me; that’s not where I’ve been before, so now that you delve in that area, you sit there and you try to make the best decision for the team, and that’s ultimately what these things come down to.”