BUFORD –One of Georgia’s most famous former football players would rather not wait to see the most famous current one.
Hines Ward, the retired NFL receiver, was attending a satellite camp here on Thursday when he asked his thoughts on Jacob Eason, and whether the five-star quarterback recruit should play right away or be brought along slowly.
Ward didn’t dance around it.
“I say play him,” he said. “Playing him is the best experience you can get. Just don’t overwhelm him and give him too much. But by being on the field you definitely learn a lot more than sitting on the sidelines. Because you don’t really get that experience sitting on the sideline, not being in the fire.”
Ward hasn’t met Eason, but he said he saw Eason play a few times on ESPN, presumably including his big G-Day performance. (“Big arm,” Ward observed.) Ward also puts a lot of stock in what he hears from his friend and former teammate Mike Bobo, who recruited Eason.
“Bobo recruited him, and told me a lot about him. So that excitement, I think he’s bringing that excitement back to Georgia,” Ward said. “I’m really looking forward to Eason. I’m looking for big things out of him.”
But a bit of a cautionary note was also offered up by … Bobo.
The second-year Colorado State head coach, who was also at Thursday’s satellite camp (co-hosted with Georgia Southern, CSU and Georgia), was inevitably asked about Eason, who committed to Georgia when Bobo was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
Speaking in general terms, Bobo said it was important that you don’t break the confidence of a young quarterback.
“College football, especially in the SEC, it’s a brutal league,” Bobo said. “They’ve got very good defenses. Quarterbacks, sometimes, when you put them out there when they’re not ready sometimes you can lose that confidence that they’ve gained. So you want to give them a chance to be successful.
“Because you’ve gotta realize he’s not the savior. Everybody thinks he’s the savior. Well no one person is the savior. He’s gotta grow and develop, and hopefully at a pace where he can play sooner rather than later. But you’ve gotta make sure they’re ready before you play them.”
Bobo watched Georgia’s spring game, and said he’s also “kept tabs” on Eason.
“I called him a couple times and told him he might as well come to Colorado State,” Bobo said, smiling. “No, he’s from a great family and he’s a great kid and he’s going to have a chance to be successful. Like any young guy you’re going to have to learn from the mistakes you make, and gain confidence. He’s got confidence because he’s got a strong arm, but he’s still got a lot to learn.”