ATHENS — What can we draw from last week’s quarterback rotation between Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Justin Fields?
Pretty much nothing.
So says Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who indicated at his weekly news conference on Monday only that Fromm will play quarterback against South Carolina when the No. 3 Bulldogs visit Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday (CBS, AM-750). It will be the 16th start in a row for the sophomore from Warner Robins.
“It’s just a situation where there’s no plan,” Smart said. “We’ll go with how things go and how the flow of the game goes.”
Fromm started the season opener against Austin Peay and Fields came into the game on the Bulldogs’ fourth offensive series. Fields also played the fifth series and pretty much traded possessions with Fromm until both quarterbacks took a seat for the day with the outcome well in hand late in the third quarter.
Smart didn’t technically announce Fromm as the starter on Monday — he has been clear on his opinion about depth charts. He merely answered a reporter’s question about the two quarterbacks might be deployed.
“Is there a plan, per se, for Fields or will Fromm start and then the game will dictate what you do after that?” Smart was asked.
“The later, for sure,” Smart said, calmly.
Both players played well against Georgia’s FCS visitor this past Saturday. Fromm had 157 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing and did not have a rushing attempt. Fields went 7-of-8 for 63 yards passing with a 12-yard TD pass to tight end Isaac Nauta. He also added 33 yards on three carries, none of them designed runs.
“I thought (Fields) did a good job Saturday in the game, handled things well,” Smart said Monday. “But I don’t know what this game is going to dictate, what this game is going to bring. We’ll see.”
Obviously the competition level will step up considerably this weekend. The Gamecocks (1-0), who defeated Coastal Carolina 49-15 this past Saturday, are a consensus preseason pick to finish second to Georgia in the SEC’s Eastern Division.
Fields (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) was the No. 1-ranked recruit in America when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Harrison High and entered UGA as an early enrollee in January. Fromm started 14 of 15 games for Georgia as a freshman last season, completing 62 percent of his passes for 2,715 yards and 24 touchdowns with 7 interceptions. His performance helped the Bulldogs secure their first SEC championship in 12 years.
Traditionally, South Carolina has played Georgia very well in Columbia, especially when the game is played as the SEC opener early in the season. The Bulldogs won 28-14 in their last trip there in 2016, Smart’s first season, but they lost in the previous three trips and barely won 14-7 when they last visited for an SEC opener in 2008. That team opened the season ranked No. 1 and was No. 3 by the time it came to Williams-Brice that year.
Whichever team loses on Saturday will need the other one to lose twice to gain back any impending tie-breaker as SEC race continues.