ATHENS — If the Bulldogs are closer to making a decision on a starting quarterback, Brian Schottenheimer wasn’t offering any hints on Monday.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since preseason camp opened Aug. 4, Georgia’s first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach said all three candidates — Brice Ramsey, Greyson Lambert and Faton Bauta — are still getting the exact same number of snaps with the No. 1 offense each practice and scrimmage. And while there are less than three weeks left before the Sept. 5 opener against Louisiana-Monroe, Schottenheimer expressed no urgency about making a decision any time soon.
“We’ll make the decision when we feel like it’s the right time to make the decision.,” Schottenheimer said after Monday’s full-contact practice concluded. “Whenever that time is, whether it’s before the first game or whenever it is, when we’re ready we’ll make that decision. What we’re trying to emphasize to these guys is to make the most of their opportunities. They’re all getting equal reps. They’re all getting reps with the ones, twos and three. We’re rolling them through. They have a big part of this decision with their performance.”
On Monday, Ramsey was taking the first-team reps, followed by Lambert, then Bauta. Ramsey, a redshirt sophomore, was the No. 2 quarterback behind Hutson Mason last season. Lambert, a junior, transferred to Georgia from Virginia in mid-July and has shown steady improvement in camp. Bauta is a redshirt junior who was third-string last season.
The Bulldogs will hold their second scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday. At that point, they will be about two-thirds of the way through preseason. Soon thereafter they’ll have to start concentrating on implementing a game plan and deciding on rotations.
But Schottenheimer stopped short of saying Saturday’s performance will be a referendum on who is going to win the job.
“Obviously it’s going to be important,” he said. “It’s part of the measuring tools, but so are the practices moving forward. We’re not going to make this decision based off of one scrimmage, one practice. It’s going to be a total comprehensive picture of these guys since we’ve had them. But, again, I think it’s important to perform well and execute cleanly.”
As for what exactly he’s looking for in his starter, being able to push the ball downfield seemed to be high on Schottenheimer’s list.
“I hate the term ‘game manager,'” he said. “We’re not looking for that. We’re looking for a guy who can go out there and make plays as well. Certainly there’s going to be a lot of vertical elements to what we do. At the end of the day they’ve got to move the team and score points.”
Last week, head coach Mark Richt indicated the Bulldogs might consider playing more than one quarterback per game, especially in the early going. Schottenheimer said his only exposure to that was when he played quarterback for Steve Spurrier at Florida. Otherwise, the only time he played more than one in game during his NFL career was due to injuries.
“I’ve played three in a game due to injuries in St. Louis,” Schottenheimer said. “I was around it in college, obviously, playing for the Ol’ Ball Coach.”
Schottenheimer did indicate that once they make a decision on a signal-caller, he probably wouldn’t have as quick a hook as his college coach did.
“You can’t ask a quarterback to play perfect,” he said. “You’ve got to let those guys play. … Whoever who’s up at quarterback for us will certainly have my trust.”
Here’s the rest of what Schottenheimer had to say about the quarterback competition:
What he’s looking for in a starter …
“You want to see a guy that can move the team. Obviously we feel very good that we’re going to be able to run the football. We want guys that can throw completions. But when the opportunity presents itself, we want them to push it and go make plays. We have good skill players, so certainly they don’t have to make the perfect throw every time. But, again, what I’m used to is consistent play at quarterback. And that’s certainly what they’ve had here, a guy who takes care of the football.
“The big thing for the whole offense, and that includes the quarterbacks, is consistency. We can’t make a great play and then take a step back. We need to have multiple good practices, multiple good periods together. That’s when you know you’re becoming a good offense.”
On whether he wanted someone to earn the job by now …
“We figured it’d probably take some time and is going to take some time. We’ll make the decision when we feel really good about the decision. I think we’re a little ways away. Every opportunity, every snap is important. It’s certainly long from over.”
On how the competition is being communicated to the QBs …
“We’ve been up front with them. Obviously they have a good relationship and they all want the job and that’s great to see. They’re all competitive but they’re also communicating and helping. … The relationship part of it is important and they’ve developed that. We spend enough time together in the meeting room and on the field that there’s a bond developing. But they all want to compete and win the job.”
On whether they’re going to be a huddle offense or quick-tempo team …
“We do a little bit of both. We’ve got some tempo packages that we like. When we go tempo we go pretty fast. … It’s fast as I’ve ever been around. These guys are obviously used to it. It’s impressive to tell you the truth. I’m very please with it. They’re used to it; I’m the one that’s new. The tempo’s been very good.
On Lambert’s progress coming in so late …
“Greyson did a great job picking up the system. That’s a credit to him, a testament to him and how hard he worked. He’s getting plenty of opportunities. WE get a lot of work in out there. There’s a lot of reps to go around and all the reps are equal. These guys have to earn more reps.”