ATHENS — Georgia’s quarterback race finally appears to be down to two. And Jacob Eason is squarely in it.
Head coach Kirby Smart didn’t divulge much during a brief TV appearance on Friday. But during the media viewing period of practice, a 7-on-7 drill was a bit revealing. And it backed up what indications have been coming out of the entire preseason.
Eason was the first quarterback to go into the drill, running several plays. Then Greyson Lambert entered for several plays. Both threw to basically the same group of receivers and tight ends.
When Lambert was done, Eason went back in. The media viewing period ended at that point. Brice Ramsey was on the sideline during all this, making motions as if he was signaling in plays.
The Bulldogs hold their final scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday. If Eason performs well, that could sow up the job for him, several people who have watched camp opined on Friday night. His ability has never been in question, it’s just his ability to handle a gameplan.
Lambert, who started 12 games last year, would be ready to start if the staff doesn’t think Eason is quite ready to face North Carolina next Saturday.
“We’re still working through some things,” Smart said during a taped appearance on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show. “We’re trying to figure out which guy’s going to give us the best opportunity to win this game, and each guy is working really hard, and we’re continuing to get those guys reps.
“We’re trying to make the decision as soon as we possibly can. But we’re not ready to make that call just yet.”
Smart hasn’t committed to any timetable for naming a starter. It’s been trending in Eason’s direction for awhile now, as he took most of the first-team snaps in the lead-up to last week’s second scrimmage, which Smart said was an effort to catch him up to the veterans in practice reps. But Eason has continued to take first-team reps this week, with Lambert also getting a first-team look.
“I think experience has value,” Smart said. “So when you’ve got guys coming back, most of the time when you have a declared starter you don’t have that issue. But when you don’t, and there’s a battle, it’s really so close, and it’s not a clear-cut deal, that this is what happens: You wait to make the best decision, and sometimes that decision you make is not final.”
Both Eason and Lambert were throwing to receivers that figure to be in the rotation. They included Isaiah McKenzie, Michael Chigbu, Jayson Stanley, Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley, Tyler Simmons, Javon Wims and Reggie Davis.