ATHENS — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels will take the field in South Carolina amid high expectations after his 401-yard passing debut.
The No. 9-ranked Bulldogs (5-2) play the Gamecocks (2-6) at 7:30 p.m. looking to build off last Saturday’s 31-24 win over Mississippi State.
Receivers Jermaine Burton and George Pickens had 8-catch efforts against the Maroon Bulldogs and established themselves as early go-to targets.
But Daniels, a pro style-quarterback transfer from USC, will be asked to “take what the defense gives” per head coach Kirby Smart.
That could mean a lot of handoffs, depending on how South Carolina chooses to align its defense.
“We have certain plays that are called checks, certain things if you get this look check to this,” Daniels explained. “Coach (Todd) Monken gives all of us a lot of freedom to put us in the right play. He’s all about having quarterbacks enhance the play.”
Smart said on his WSB coaches’ show that he’s confident in Daniels’ ability to manage the offense.
“He’s very composed, he understands the game, he understands the offense, he knows what’s happening,” Smart said. “That’s one thing you love about the guy, he can always tell you what the defense did. He’s looking at the right things, he’s not rattled.”
Indeed, Daniels recorded three 300-yard passing games as only the second-ever true freshman to start at quarterback at USC, and he did so after leaving high school following his junior year.
Smart said that season with the Trojans has translated into the Bulldogs’ complex offense, orchestrated by Monken, a former NFL offensive coordinator.
“That comes with experience, he’s seen a lot of defenses,” Smart said. “He got a lot of work at USC when he was there, and he got a lot of growing pains and growing experiences his freshman year to put himself in the position he’s in now.”
Former Bulldogs quarterback DJ Shockley indicated it will be up to Daniels to continue to earn the trust and confidence of his coaches.
“I just want to see more consistency,” Shockley said on the Bulldogs GameDay Show. “I thought he played really well in his first ballgame, but you want to see him stack those together one game after another, one series after another, and continue to play at a high level week-in and week-out.”
Georgia-South Carolina Game Week