ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm calls the huddles on the football fields and makes the phone calls off them to set up the voluntary workouts.
Now, more than ever, Fromm will need to forego his offseason hunting and fishing trips to get the pass game up to snuff with the top five pass catchers from a season ago no longer with the team.
The Bulldogs couldn’t ask for anyone better to be making those connections, according to former All-SEC and NFL receiver turned SEC Network analyst Chris Doering.
“I don’t think there’s a better person that they could have to break in those receivers than a guy like Jake Fromm,” Doering told DawgNation. “This being Jake’s third year, he has a comfort level with his role as a leader and the things his receivers need to work on.”
ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit was on the same page this spring when asked about Georgia football.
“It starts with Jake Fromm, and I know they lost some key pieces,” Herbstreit told DawgNation. “In my mind with his leadership, and with the way they’ve recruited in the last three years, there’s no question or no concern for me to wonder whether this is going to be an offense that will be productive.”
Doering said Georgia’s receiving corps was going to be under the microscope this season even before leading returning receiver Jeremiah “J.J. Holloman was suspended last week on account of an alleged domestic assault.
“There has to be a sense of urgency among those receivers to fill the void that was left,” Doering said. “Those workouts are not something the coaches can organize, but it’s something that should be worked on every day.
“The quarterback typically is the guy that spearheads what time these things are going down, where it’s going down, and what they are going to work on.”
UGA coach Kirby Smart said he saw Fromm take even more steps forward as a leader this spring.
“I think leadership was the biggest thing (Fromm) took a step forward in, and asserting his personality on the receivers and on the O-Line,” Smart said at the conclusion of spring drills. “Not being timid to step up and say things to guys when things needed to be said.
“Not that he’s every been afraid to do it, but I think he has asserted himself more.”
Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency last season, and he’s the only one of the four permanent team captains from 2018 that’s returning to the team.
Fromm was part of the Georgia leadership team that recently traveled to Florida, and he was among the most popular players to volunteer his time at Camp Sunshine last week.
But it’s what Fromm does on the field that gets the most attention, and in addition to the Georgia fan base the NFL scouts will be watching.
Doering, who was with eight teams in the NFL during his 11 years of professional football, said the best quarterbacks are sometimes the most demanding.
“I’ve been with quarterbacks before where they don’t have a personal comfort with a play, and they want to rep it again and again,” Doering said. “Or, they see something with a receiver that they want to correct based on film study from the spring, or something they’ve seen in workouts.”
As much as anything, Fromm has to find his rhythm with the new receivers. The leading returning wide receiver is senior Tyler Simmons, who had just 9 catches last season.
“Obviously, you want to have guys that the quarterback can be confident in knowing where they will be, and also have some consistency catching the football,” Doering said. “There are nuances to how the guys are running the routes, so I think it’s something that is up to the quarterback to get comfortable with.
“This time of year, it’s all about the quarterback organizing activities, whether it’s one-on-one with the receivers, or 7 on 7s with the defense.”
That that’s where the pressure is on Fromm to come through this offseason, something Herbstreit is confident he will do.
“You look around the entire county, he’s one of those leaders beyond his Xs and Os and what he can do when he starts throwing the ball,” said Herbstreit, once a quarterback himself at Ohio State.
“Fromm is like a dad that’s on the team, the younger players are like his kids, and I just have a lot of confidence that between his experience and leadership he’ll get the offense in the right spot.”