Kirby Smart on Georgia quarterbacks: Still rotating, ‘game-time decision’
ATHENS — Kirby Smart said the Georgia quarterback starter “will probably be a game-time decision” at Arkansas on Sept. 26.
“It’s getting to be a norm here,” Smart said, referring to a 2018 preseason competition between Jake Fromm and Justin Fields that continued throughout that season. “We’ve had it before, so it’s not cause for concern among our staff, or our organization or our kids.
“We talk about it a lot with our players and make sure they understand where we are.”
The Georgia head coach said the Bulldogs have been rotating their quarterbacks.
Redshirt sophomore JT Daniels is considered the favorite to win the job provided he gets cleared to play.
Daniels, a former 5-star recruit who has two years of collegiate experience in an offense similar to UGA’s scheme, had ACL surgery last September and a follow-up procedure in January.
“If we didn’t think he was going to be cleared, then we wouldn’t be practicing him,” said Smart, who also said last week he anticipated Daniels being cleared for the opening game.
“But he’s continuing to practice, so is D’Wan (Mathis), Carson (Beck) and Stetson (Bennett).
Smart was asked about Mathis getting the majority of reps with the first team in the most recent scrimmage last Saturday.
“It was part of the rotation, as far as each day, it just so happened they (boosters) were there that day,” Smart said. “Each day we’ve rotated guys that have gone with the ones, and that’s the day that his fell on.
“So for the most part, we’ve done a really good job for 16 practices, today being 17, that we’ve rolled. That doesn’t mean that we’ve got a different guy every day, but we’ve got a rotation, and that was just part of the rotation.”
Smart said this year’s quarterback competition is different than in past years because he has a new offensive coordinator (Todd Monken), and a different quarterbacks room.
“This year, it’s been a lot more calculated in terms of reps and a lot more calculated in what we do with each guy, and how we develop each guy,” Smart said.
“They’re all in different stages of their careers, and they’re all getting better. I would argue that we have a talented quarterback room in terms of depth. The important thing is getting the right one to lead this group.”
Daniels is most familiar operating the multi-faceted aspects of the Air Raid, comfortable getting through the reads and distributing the ball quickly.
The 6-foot-6 Mathis possesses a big arm, great agility and 10.8-second speed in the 100 meters.
Onlookers at Scrimmage 3 discussed Mathis’ effectiveness running the read option and on downfield throws.
Beck, a true freshman, also has good mobility and a live arm. Beck drew heavy praise from All-Time SEC Passing Leader Aaron Murray, who said Beck was the most impressive of the three in the most recent scrimmage.
Smart made it clear he and Monken are still processing the competition.
“You learn what each one wants, what each one commands, and you try to figure out what gives you the best chance to win and the best chance to score points,” Smart said. “There are some similarities between all of them, all the competitions and the decision-making process.
“I certainly like having a proven guy, as well.”
Kirby Smart, 9-15-20
Georgia football preseason