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Greg McElroy explains why Georgia shouldn’t turn to Justin Fields just yet
A lot of Georgia fans want to see Justin Fields play more. Part of that is due to sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm struggling on Saturday against LSU, as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and tossed two interceptions. But another reason why some fans want to see Fields takeover is because of the promise he potentially offers.
Related: Kirby Smart facing tough questions about his QBs
Clemson and Alabama both turned their offenses over to younger quarterbacks despite having an established winner on the roster. As of right now, Alabama and Clemson seem to be better with Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawerence at quarterback. But just because it has worked for those two programs doesn’t mean a switch would be in the best interest for Georgia. And if Georgia fans are being honest, Fromm was a better passer than both Jalen Hurts and Kelly Bryant. One bad game shouldn’t undo all that Fromm has accomplished.
Former Alabama quarterback and ESPN analyst Greg McElroy still happens to think that Fromm is the guy who gives Georgia the best chance to win, as he explained on the Paul Finebaum show on Monday.
“I’ve watched Jake Fromm for two years now and I’ve been very impressed by everything that he’s done,” McElroy said. “And I still feel quite strongly that he gives them the best chance to be successful.”
But McElroy didn’t just say he was picking Fromm because of what he’s done. He gave some pretty strong analysis on why Fields, so far, hasn’t proven that he’s a better option for the Georgia offense than Fromm.
“I went back and I watched Justin Fields and I watched him go through his progressions. And he’s just a step late on just about every throw,” McElroy said. “It takes him just a half second too long before he cuts it loose. Now he’s very accurate when he does throw the ball but he’s not quite ready for primetime just yet.
“He’s a great athlete and he will have an opportunity whether it be this season or in the spring and show that he’s capable of handling that job,” McElroy said of Fields. “But based on the seven game sample size that we have so and all the plays and throws and the decisions that he’s made, he is not yet capable of running this team as efficiently as Jake Fromm has.”
In the first seven games of the season, Fields completed 18 of his 25 pass attempts for 200 yards and thrown two touchdowns. But almost none of those attempts have come in competitive games. In SEC play, he’s completed just 5 of his 9 pass attempts. The freshman quarterback obviously brings more to the table as runner than Fromm—Fields has averaged 7.36 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns on the ground—and more of that element could open up holes for Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. But if Fields is going to be given a chance, as many Georgia fans want to see, he’ll need to show that he’s competent, or at least better than what Fromm was on Saturday if he’s going to earn the full time job.
Prior to the LSU game, Georgia scored 38 points in every game with Fromm at the helm. The sophomore quarterback has shown that he’s a very good quarterback. To McElroy’s point, Fields would need to show that he’s a great quarterback against great teams to beat out Fromm. And that seems like a high order for any freshman quarterback, even one as gifted as Fields.
Related: LSU defensive wizard outschemed Georgia’s multifaceted offense
Top Dawg Todd
For the second week in a row, Todd Gurley was the no-brainer Top Dawg of the Week, which we give to the best former Bulldog in the NFL. We’ll expound more on Gurley in a little bit, but first let’s look at some of the other Bulldogs who had big weeks.
A pair of former Georgia linebackers had strong performances, as Roquan Smith led the Bears in tackles with 13 while Thomas Davis had six tackles and two pass breakups for the Carolina Panthers. This was Davis’ first game of the season, as he was suspended for the first four games.