ATHENS — Recruiting experts call having more than one elite quarterback on the roster a “good problem,” while fans refer to it as more of a “quarterback controversy.”
But for Georgia coach Kirby Smart, it has become just another day at his Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall office, albeit one that creates countless storylines.
Such was the case with quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Justin Fields in 2018, to the extent that Smart continues to get asked about it nearly three years later.
“I don’t like to get back into it because I respect Justin and the job he did, and I love his family,” Smart told Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell on a video interview on Wednesday. “His sister (Jaiden) is here (UGA) playing softball. They are a tremendous family.
“It was a tough situation that, given the opportunity to sign Justin, I would do it 10 out of 10 times just because of how talented he is.”
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Indeed, Fields is expected to be among the top picks in the 2021 NFL Draft after leading Ohio State to College Football Playoff appearances in 2019 and 2020.
Smart revealed in December for the first time that Trevor Lawrence’s early success at Clemson added pressure to the situation UGA had with Jake Fromm and Justin Fields sharing the same QB room in 2018.
RELATED: Fields-Fromm, how it really was minus the revisionist history
Georgia signed 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff in this 2021 Class, and already has a firm commitment from 2022 in-state 5-star quarterback Gunner Stockton.
RELATED: Brock Vandagriff, big talent from small school another UGA 5-star
Already, some UGA fans have expressed concern another Fromm-Fields situation could play out.
RELATED: Gunner Stockton commit brings program confidence, not controversy
But Smart indicated having too much talent is a situation that head coaches have to welcome in discussing Fromm-Fields on Wednesday in the Rivals video.
“You’ve got to take that problem, and you’ve got to do a good job of managing it with your staff and your team and everyone in the organization,” Smart said, discussing having multiple star talents at quarterback on the same team.
“I thought we handled that the right way and don’t fault Justin for the decision he’s made, because he’s had a really successful career.”
Smart explained on Wednesday, as he did during the 2018 season, that it came down to playing the quarterback he and former offensive coordinator Jim Chaney gave the Bulldogs the best opportunity to repeat as SEC Champions in 2018.
RELATED: Jim Chaney says he ‘did right’ with Justin Fields at UGA
“At the time we felt like we were playing the guy that gave us the best opportunity to win right then,” Smart said. “And the guy (Fromm) took Alabama in the SEC Championship (Game) to the wire, and he played well enough to win.”
Fromm, who finished the 2018 regular season No. 5 in the nation in pass efficiency, was 25-of-39 passing for 301 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions in the 35-28 loss to the Crimson Tide.
“We probably didn’t play well enough defensively to win that game,” Smart said.
For that reason, Smart said there’s no second-guessing playing Fromm over Fields.
RELATED: NFL coach Bruce Arians shares insight into 2018 Georgia QB room
“You don’t second-guess that, you second guess what other ways could we have created a role for Justin to stay, and know that he was going to get the opportunity,” Smart said. “So it was a tough situation, obviously.
“But I respect Justin and the decision he made, and the decision we made as coaches to play Jake while he was playing, while he was here in his second year.”
The Georgia football program and Smart have moved on from the Fromm-Fields discussion, but as evidenced by Wednesday’s Rivals interview, others have not.
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