Kirby Smart defends Georgia QB Jake Fromm: ‘All the struggles weren’t his’ at LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart knows how it might look from the outside, but there was a lot more to the Bulldogs’ struggles on offense than quarterback play.
“Obviously we didn’t play our best football game today,” Smart said. “That responsibility starts and falls with me. LSU did a helluva job.”
The No. 13-ranked Tigers pulled off a 36-16 upset of No. 2 Georgia, scoring 13 points off four Bulldogs’ turnovers and pulling away in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs quarterback Fromm dropped to 18-3 as the starting quarterback, completing 16 of 34 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss.
Fromm – coming off his best game of the season in last week’s 41-13 win over Vanderbilt – was also sacked three times, and he ran twice for 2 yards.
“All the struggles weren’t his, he made some third down throws I thought were really good,” Smart said, “And a couple times he ends up getting sacked, and he’s got to make a decision to get rid of the ball, but we don’t run the right route on one of them.
“He’s looking for a route, and they don’t run that route, there’s a miscommunication.”
Smart said LSU’s pressure had something to do with Fromm’s issues at quarterback, as well.
“There’s a lot of pressures they run that are hard to pick up,” Smart said, “and I was very concerned with that coming into the game.”
The Georgia offensive line was rated No. 1 nationally by Pro Football Focus entering the game, and left tackle Andrew Thomas graded out higher than anyone at his position through the first six games.
But Smart said Saturday that “Andrew gave up one [sack], and he got beat in a one-on-one block.”
Fromm, meanwhile, had trouble finding the check-down receivers that had led to him having such a proficient start to the season, bringing a gaudy 72.8 percent completion rate into Saturday’s action.
“There were some times where he was looking for the check-down and it wasn’t there, [and] two times we had a miscommunication on a route, where’s he looking for a certain route and it breaks down. He’s either got to get rid of it, or he’s got to run it and take off,” Smart said.
“Some of those you’ve got to escape and get rid of the ball,” Smart said. “I didn’t think it was the protection as much as it was making decisions quicker, getting rid of the ball quicker. And at the end of the day, don’t be in third-and-long.”
Georgia was 5-of-14 on third downs — but 1-of-5 on third-and-9 or longer, including an interception in Bulldogs’ territory that led directly to an LSU field goal.
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