When speaking about now-departed quarterback Jamie Newman, Kirby Smart kept his answers brief on Saturday.
The first question he was asked following Saturday’s scrimmage pertained to Newman and how the Georgia head coach learned about Newman’s decision and how the process played out.
“He came and let me know Tuesday. It was a nonpractice day for us,” Smart said. “It was actually the day we went over to the Hunter-Holmes Academic Center. He let me know and then he announced it on Wednesday.”
Smart also reiterated, as he did in his statement that was put out on Wednesday, he respected and supported Newman’s decision.
“We’re moving forward. We respect Jamie, I respect Jamie,” Smart said. “He’s done a tremendous job. I respect any kid that chooses to opt-out.”
Related: How Jamie Newman went from offseason Heisman Trophy candidate to opt out
Many had Newman pegged as the Week 1 starter for the Bulldogs given his time at Wake Forest as well as the fact that he arrived before fellow transfer quarterback JT Daniels. Newman was expected to be a key part in Georgia’s revamped offense, with some even touting him as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a possible first-round draft pick.
But on Wednesday, Newman made the decision that he would not be playing for Georgia this season and would instead prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
That decision now leaves Georgia with just three weeks to figure out who that starting quarterback will be, as Daniels, D’Wan Mathis, Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett battle for the job.
Had Georgia kept its original 2020 schedule, the Bulldogs would’ve played their first game on Monday against Virginia. And while three weeks still isn’t an ideal timeline to solve a quarterback conundrum, it beats what the possible alternative could’ve been.
“Yeah, it would be really tough if our timeline was different if it were closer to the game,” Smart said. “It would’ve been really tough.”
As for the rest of the quarterbacks still competing for the starting job, Smart provided an update on them following the second scrimmage. After the first scrimmage Smart made it clear that no one, including Newman, had separated themselves.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, that is still the case, though Smart did add the quarterbacks did practice well on Saturday.
“It’s a work in progress.,” Smart said. “It almost feels like you really want the guys to assume the lead, take the lead and that hasn’t happened yet.
“Nobody has really just taken charge and taken over.”
One aspect to note with the quarterback battle is that Daniels has still not been fully cleared following the knee injury he suffered in August of 2019. Daniels is practicing and scrimmage on Saturday and Smart did add he’s hopeful that Daniels will be cleared in the coming weeks. But that’s ultimately something he doesn’t control.
The Bulldogs will continue to prepare for the season-opener against Arkansas, which is set for Sept. 26. The Bulldogs are about halfway through with their 25 preseason practices allowed by the NCAA.
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