ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has managed the Bulldogs’ quarterback situation well, and he’s confident Jake Fromm and Justin Fields are doing the same.
The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs have made sure to provide appropriate opportunities for growth and playing time for Fromm and Fields in opening the season 5-0.
Smart kept the competition open throughout the offseason and even after the start of the regular season, ensuring both get plenty of repetitions in practice to be prepared for game-time opportunities.
Smart made it clear he’s not concerned about the potential for discord or division that can occur when two players are competing at a position where Fromm and Fields are concerned.
“I think when you talk about Jake Fromm and Justin Fields, you’re talking about two huge Georgia fans that love Georgia and love the University of Georgia,” Smart said. “They love their teammates. They want what’s best for the team, and they’re both competitors.”
Smart explained that good competitors want to win, and that means doing what’s best for the team, and “when you’re in a team format, sometimes doing well may mean the combination of those two guys, and Jake continues to improve and do good things, and so does Justin.”
The Bulldogs players continue to speak glowingly of both quarterbacks and haven’t shown any signs of favoring one over the other.
In fact, they seem to like the idea of a two-quarterback offense.
“I think that when they both get in, they both showed they are really good, and that helps us, because they both have different skill sets,” tailback Elijah Holyfield said. “I couldn’t imagine having to prepare for both of those guys.”
Receiver Terry Godwin said having two quarterbacks makes Georgia a more dangerous team, and tight end Isaac Nuata said Fields and Fromm compliment one another well.
Indeed, Fields sparked the first sustained touchdown drive for the Bulldogs in the second quarter against Tennessee before Fromm finished it off. In the third quarter Fields finished off a touchdown drive that Fromm began.
“That was just kind of the flow of the game,” Fromm said. “That’s up to Coach Smart. You just get the play and you go out and try to execute it.”
It appears the Bulldogs will have a two-headed monster under center for the foreseeable future based on Smart’s most recent update on the position.
“You have to understand that, ‘the plan is there is no plan’ means that we don’t have a plan going into the game,” Smart said, explaining the fluid process of determining which QB is in the game. “You can’t have a plan, because we don’t know how the game is going to go …. we don’t know how they’re going to play us, what front they’re going to play us in, what pressures they’re going to run.”
Georgia plays host to Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: SEC Network, Radio: WSB 750 AM, 95.5 FM).
Fromm has said he doesn’t spend much time concerning himself thinking about the quarterback rotation, and he has been supportive of Fields throughout the offseason.
“He’s a great player, and a great person too,” Fromm said earlier this season. “We’ve had a lot of fun in the quarterback meeting room, and it is definitely fun to go out there and compete with him. He is a great competitor, and can make great plays and throws. He puts you on the edge so you always want to one-up him and make a better throw.”
Georgia’s policy is that freshmen aren’t allowed to talk to the media, but there’s no reason to believe the respect between the quarterbacks isn’t mutual.
There’s also no reason to believe that the concept Smart laid out six days before the season-opening game has changed
“Your plan is to say, ‘All right, I want the best guy to play,” Smart said, “and if a guy brings something to the table that another guy doesn’t, and we feel like it’s advantageous for us, (it’s) whether we have a package or we do something with him.”
As offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said in August, “You don’t rule anything out.”