Questions about Georgia quarterback JT Daniels expected, injury updates after Alabama
ATHENS — It’s a given Georgia coach Kirby Smart will get questions this week about what is going on with JT Daniels’ status in the wake of Saturday night’s 41-24 loss at Alabama.
The talented transfer from USC has yet to see game action despite getting promising reviews and a projected high ceiling.
Smart shared on Sept. 29 that Daniels does indeed still possess the sort of traits that made him a 5-star prospect and projected future first-round NFL draft pick according to CBS sports.
“He gets the ball out really quick, he’s got a quick release and great arm-talent,” Smart said the week leading up to Auburn.
“He’s doing a good job. He’s out there working. For us, it’s not really different than it was before. He was practicing before. He’s just practicing more now.”
Daniels, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in USC’s 2019 season-opening game and underwent a procedure in January to clean up scar tissue, transferred to UGA in May.
“He can factor in as soon as he gets cleared, and I think he has confidence as well,” Smart said back on Sept. 26, asked about Daniels after he traveled to Arkansas but was not cleared to play until the following Monday.
Daniels removed his knee brace last week and was dressed out on the sideline in Tuscaloosa.
Smart has refused to reveal the sort of reps Daniels has been getting in season.
Daniels was splitting first-team reps with Jamie Newman at the start of fall drills in August.
Newman, the graduate transfer from Wake Forest, opted out this season after the first fall scrimmage.
Smart said he expected Daniels to be cleared for the opening game, but when that didn’t happen, he went with D’Wan Mathis to start at Arkansas.
Mathis was unable to generate any points on the Bulldogs’ first six offensive series, so Smart brought in Stetson Bennett, who proceeded to spark a 37-10 victory.
Is Smart eager to see Daniels get a chance to play in a game?
“I get to see him every day,” Smart said on Oct. 7, asked that very question. “I’ve seen him since he’s been here, he does a good job in practice and he’s practiced the whole time.
“He’s been no different than anyone else in terms of our quarterbacks because we haven’t gone live. I feel good about Carson [Beck], D’Wan [Mathis] and JT all the way through.”
Smart’s stance has been that just because Daniels is cleared doesn’t mean he’s ready to play.
Smart said Bennett has continued to show improvement after wins over ranked opponents Auburn and Tennessee.
Smart indicated after the loss to Alabama he expects Bennett to improve after throwing three interceptions in the loss to the Tide.
“The experience in the game tonight will be invaluable for him throughout the rest of the run on the road,” said Smart, whose team is playing its designated home game with Florida in Jacksonville and doesn’t play another game in Athens until Nov. 21.
“(Bennett) is a work in progress just like our team is. He’s going to grow and develop.”
The Bulldogs will use this off week to work on themselves and prepare for an Oct. 31 game at Kentucky.
Smart will likely get pressed for more information on Daniels this week, but if history is any indicator, he won’t reveal much if anything.
Georgia does not have a game next Saturday, so Smart will not hold his normal Monday press conference.
Georgia was missing two offensive pieces in the game against the Tide.
Receiver Matt Landers also did not play after suffering what appeared to be a wrist/hand injury in the 44-21 win over Tennessee on Oct. 10.
Offensive lineman Owen Condon was also missing from the participation report. Smart said during last week they hoped to have Condon ready to play.
Receiver Demetris Robertson was listed in the participation report, but he was not targeted by Stetson Bennett.