100221 ATHENS: Georgia quarterback JT Daniels watches backup quarterback Stetson Bennett play Arkansas in a top-10 showdown in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Athens. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

3 things: Kirby Smart’s plan for JT Daniels, why Stetson Bennett almost left,

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels remains “day to day” with a strained lat muscle according to coach Kirby Smart, who explained that the second-year transfer from USC will not throw in Monday’s workout.

“He’ll be out there practicing; he’s doing everything but throwing, and then we will see how it goes day to day,” Smart said at his Monday press conference. “The biggest thing is he has to rest, recover and try to heal. We are very hopeful that he will be able to go Tuesday-Wednesday and be able to throw like last week.

“(But) there is a lot more to quarterback than just throwing the ball. He does a lot of that stuff well and he will do all of those things today.”

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The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0 SEC) travel to play at No. 18 Auburn (4-1, 1-0) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium (TV: CBS).

Daniels, who has played nine of 20 quarters for Georgia this season, has an 87.6 QB Rating that would rank fourth in the nation if he played enough to qualify.

Smart explained Daniels’ injury, while similar to the one Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott suffered in the preseason, is not as severe.

“Dak’s was much more extreme than what JT is going through,” Smart said. “We did some more scans on JT just to confirm what we thought it was … we did scans even after Vanderbilt.

“I think it’s going to be a time thing. Number one, pain tolerance, number two, can he get it to heal so it’s not a nagging, reoccurring long-term injury. It’s unfortunate because it’s a tough injury.”

Fifth-year senior Stetson Bennett led the Bulldogs to the 37-0 win over Arkansas last Saturday and quarterbacked the 56-7 win over UAB in Week Two.

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Why Bennett nearly left

Redshirt freshman Carson Beck was the darling of spring drills after appearing to take the No. 2 quarterback position away from veteran Stetson Bennett.

RELATED: Steady Stetson Bennett leads Georgia over Arkansas

Smart said the second week of the season that Beck was still the No. 2 quarterback, but what he didn’t say at the time was that Bennett — not Daniels — was the No. 1. Fans didn’t learn until DawgNation reported on Saturday morning that Bennett would start against UAB in place of the injured Daniels.

Bennett, now 5-2 as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, revealed he nearly left after last season.

Smart explained his side of the story when told of Bennett’s disclosure on Monday.

“He was more frustrated with his reps and volume of reps,” Smart said. “For him, it was more about competition getting an opportunity.

“It wasn’t necessarily about the one (starting team) reps, it was about him getting the two’s reps because he wasn’t getting a lot of those,” Smart said. “The way we practice, he wasn’t able to get work in. Probably not as much as he likes.”

Daniels is considered the most elite quarterback on the team with his cerebral game management and tremendous arm talent, but Bennett brings great mobility and unquestionable moxie that teammates and coaches appreciate.

Receiver concerns

Georgia’s lack of depth in the receiver corps will be magnified this week when the Bulldogs play an Auburn team featuring Demetris Robertson.

The Bulldogs are are missing injured receivers George Pickens (ACL), Dominick Blaylock (hamstring), Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (ankle) and Arian Smith (shin).

This in addition to UGA having five receivers leave via the NCAA transfer portal, including Robertson, who exited after spring drills.

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“The one thing that worries you and is beyond anyone’s control is depth at wideout,” Smart said. “I’ve never had six, maybe seven, healthy receivers when you’re playing three receivers down.

“The situation we’re in now is because some guys decided to leave. That’s why we’re so thin along with injuries.”