ATHENS — The clock is ticking on the Georgia football offseason, arguably the best time of year for quarterbacks and receivers to get in sync.
Greg McElroy and Eric Zeier, two of the more successful SEC quarterbacks in the modern era of college football, agree there’s plenty of time left for the Bulldogs to get their passing game settled.
“The best time to develop chemistry with your corps is the summer, when you’re not limited by time,” McElroy, who led Alabama to the 2009 national championship and has been with ESPN and the SEC Network since 2014.
“Jake Fromm knows what its supposed to look like, so it’s huge to have a veteran guy.”
Zeier, who set 67 Georgia records and was the SEC’s all-time leading passer at the conclusion of his UGA career in 1994, believes Fromm has time to get the receiving group adequately prepared for the start of fall drills.
“In terms of being ready to go from the first practice, they will be ready to go,” Zeier told DawgNation. “As you come up there are so many 7-on-7 camps, and the level of sophistication at the high school level has changed dramatically, so they are ready to go sooner when they get on campus and they will be ready to gel.”
That said, Zeier also believes there’s nothing like doing it in on a Saturday afternoon in front of a full stadium.
Georgia opens the season on the road at Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 31.
“Buy” games with Murray State and Arkansas State the following two weeks should allow new OC James Coley to tweak the pass game before the Sept. 21 home showdown with Notre Dame.
“It doesn’t take long to develop that rhythm, the big question is you have to do it in the game,” said Zeier, who provides color analysis for the Georgia Bulldogs radio network.
“Everyone reacts a little differently under the lights. But the work they are doing in the offseason, they are developing that relationship and getting on the same page.”
Indeed, former UGA tight end Isaac Nauta was the first to point out that the summer was when lots of work would be done, and that too much shouldn’t be made of Fromm’s sub-par spring game.
“The reality is it’s still early in the offseason and there’s a whole summer to get better and get guys on the same page,” Nauta said after Fromm was 14-of-29 passing for 116 yards, a TD and a Pick-6 in the G-Day Game. “It’s way too early for people to freak out.”
Concerns about Fromm’s spring game have eased in the offseason, but the recent dismissal of leading returning receiver Jeremiah “J.J.” Holloman has put a transitioning receiving corps under the microscope.
Senior Tyler Simmons, who had 9 catches for 138 yards, is now the leading returning receiver.
The Bulldogs could shift more emphasis on passing to the backs and tight ends in addition to looking to transfer receivers Lawrence Cager and Demetris Robertson to produce more.
Georgia’s 2017 SEC Championship team entered the College Football Playoff with Javon Wims as its leading receiver with just 38 catches for 631 yards at that time.
Wims’ stats represent the fewest yards for a CFP team’s leading receiver among the 20 teams that participated in the playoffs since their origination five seasons ago.