ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart revealed on Wednesday that quarterback JT Daniels has a different injury than he has been dealing with as the Top 10 showdown with Arkansas approaches.
Daniels missed the Week Two game with UAB on account of a strained oblique muscle and Smart has rotated backup Stetson Bennett into the first half of the past two contests.
“His oblique is fine; he’s been having a little bit of a lat issue,” Smart said on the SEC teleconference. “It bothered him some last week, and it bothered him some this week.”
Smart’s disclosure helps explain why Daniels was pulled after just one quarter in the 62-0 win over Vanderbilt after a sizzling 9-of-10 passing start.
Georgia had built a 35-0 lead, but Daniels’ game reps with the receiving corps is still relatively limited, as he primarily threw to George Pickens -- currently sidelined by an ACL -- after taking over as UGA’s quarterback the final four games of last season.
Bennett was allowed to operate the full offensive package the entire second quarter and half of the third quarter, as Smart clearly aimed to keep him prepared for future bullpen action.
Bennett, who was dealing with a strained back earlier this season, was 11-of-15 passing for 151 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Commodores last Saturday.
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Daniels has likely continued to be at least somewhat limited at practice as he looks to be at full strength by Saturday.
“But he’s done a good job, he’s sharp, watches all his tape, gets his reps and he does a good job,” Smart said. “So we’re hoping he can stay that way.”
Daniels’ lat issue is likely related to the muscle overcompensating for the strained oblique. His performance has seemingly not dropped off in the past two contests, as his throws and execution have been sharp.
Daniels met with the media last Wednesday and discussed his upper-body injury issues, which originated in fall drills.
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“It’s getting better every day,” Daniels said. “It’s something that’s been hurt since fall camp and it never really goes away. You play Clemson, there was a little dip, so we focused on rehabbing more that week.
“Last week we rehabbed as much as we could, (and) It’s just gonna keep getting better and better,” Daniels said. “The more you are throwing it, the worst you will get if you’re not combating that with rehab, which we are doing a great job with right now.”
Daniels ranks eighth in the nation with an 87.6 QB rating this season.
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ENTERING 2021 season, returning player receptions with Daniels at QB in 2020:
(Daniels played in four games)
Jermaine Burton 17-274
Kearis Jackson 9-118
Kenny McIntosh 6-60
Arian Smith 2-86
John FitzPatrick 5-49
James Cook 3-35
Zamir White 2-11
Kendall Milton 1-22
George Pickens 23-373 has not played this season
Darnell Washington 5-107 has not played this season