Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (18) is back to working in team drills after missing the past three games with a strained lat. Daniels led UGA to a 10-3 win over then-No. 3 Clemson in the season-opening Duke’s Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (photo by Rob Davis)
Rob Davis

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels back in team drills, ‘a little rust there’

Kirby Smart has made his living stopping quarterbacks, but on Wednesday the talk was about those who could potently start in the upcoming Georgia-Florida football game.

Smart updated the status of Bulldogs’ quarterback JT Daniels, who has missed the past three games on account of a strained lat muscle. The sixth-year Georgia head coach also shared his takeaways on Gators’ QBs Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson, on the SEC coaches’ teleconference.

Smart shared that Daniels was back to business again with No. 1-ranked Georgia in practice, which has a bye this week before it travels to Florida to play the Gators in Jacksonville at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 30.

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“He took more reps with the groups yesterday than he has in the past, and I thought he did a good job with those reps,” Smart said. “He’d be the first to tell you there was a little rust there from not having taken as many 11-on-11 reps or good on good reps.

“We’ll see how he responds today, and see if he has any soreness, what his pitch count will be, and how many reps he’s able to get.”

Georgia redshirt senior Stetson Bennett has started in place of the injured Daniels and led the Bulldogs to wins over three opponents that were ranked at the time UGA played them: (Then-No. 8 Arkansas 37-0, then-No. 18 Auburn 34-10 and then-No. 11-ranked Kentucky 30-13).

Bennett is also expected to continue to work with the first team, as Smart has said he will evaluate the quarterback position like he does others.

RELATED: Kirby shares part of plan for JT Daniels during bye week

Smart said Daniels was throwing up to 45 yards pain-free on Monday, an indication he might soon be completely cleared from the debilitating football injury that has forced him to the sidelines and left him frustrated.

Florida fans have some frustration of their own after watching the Gators fall to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC with last Saturday’s upset loss at LSU.

Florida scored seven touchdowns in the 49-42 loss despite quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson throwing two interceptions each.

Gators coach Dan Mullen said both quarterbacks would play against Georgia, but he said he has yet to determine who will start.

Smart said the Bulldogs had not yet gotten into the deep prep for the game with Florida, but he does have familiarity with both of them.

“They have some similarities, obviously,” Smart said. “We’ve seen both of those guys, we recruited Anthony and know a lot about the guys that have played there.

“Emory is from our state and we’ve seen him play,” Smart said. “I have a lot of respect for both of those quarterbacks. We’ll have to have a plan for both.”

Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 224-pound quarterback from Gainesville who signed in the 2020 class — the same year Georgia signed Carson Beck out of Mandarin High School Jacksonville.

Richardson was the higher-ranked of the two quarterbacks, No. 209 in the nation and No. 30 in the state, while Beck was No. 250 and No. 39 in Florida.

Jones is from Heard County High School in Franklin, Ga., and was rated the No 85 overall player in the nation and No. 11 player in Georgia in the 2018 class.

Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia also offered Jones, with former Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator Jim Chaney the primary UGA recruiter.

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