ATHENS — Jacob Eason was the main curiosity of Georgia fans before G-Day. That day, he became the fan favorite. And in five days, they’ll get another look at the freshman quarterback, when the Bulldogs hold an open practice at Sanford Stadium.
Depending on how that goes, it could only intensity the clamor for Eason to be named the starter. But head coach Kirby Smart will only continue not to care. Or so he claims.
“Do the fans impact my decision?” Smart said, repeating the question. “Absolutely not. They can go out there in the spring and cheer for him, but I’ve got to make the best decision for this team. Ultimately, the fans, who their fan favorite is, that’s going to be the guy that wins the game, I promise.
“If Eason loses the game, they won’t like him either. They won’t like me either.”
Georgia opens against North Carolina on Sept. 3 in the Georgia Dome. At some point before then, Georgia will announce how it will handle the quarterback situation: Eason and senior Greyson Lambert, last year’s starter in all but one game, are likely the favorites heading into the preseason, with junior Brice Ramsey still having an outside shot.
There will be two scrimmages and a practice game to impact the coaching staff’s decision. But Smart indicated that Saturday’s open practice might also figure into it: Fans and media may keep track of which quarterback gets the most type with which units, but the coaches will be watching more how they perform.
“They can have people up there put a tick mark by every rep that every guy gets with the ones and twos, like you guys do, and that’ll be fine too. But that’s not what I’m looking for,” Smart said. “I’m looking to see how guys respond when they’re out there with people in the stands.”