ATHENS — Quarterback Brice Ramsey was pulled aside by his new head coach before Tuesday’s practice. Kirby Smart wanted to talk about Ramsey’s demeanor.
“I think you’re too casual,” Smart said he told Ramsey. “I think you relax too much. I need you to be more assertive, take more of a leadership role. Show me that it means something to you. Show me that you want it. He’s been trying to do a better job with that.”
Smart isn’t the first person to make note of Ramsey’s laid-back attitude. It may have been one of the reasons that he didn’t win the starting quarterback job last year, when he went in as the favorite.
This year, much of the perception is that it’s a two-man race between Greyson Lambert, who started all but one game last year, and five-star recruit Jacob Eason. But Ramsey can’t be ruled out; he still has the strong right arm, and indications have been that Ramsey has looked good so far in offseason workouts and the first week of spring practice.
Smart basically confirmed that after Tuesday’s practice.
“You know, I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Smart said of Ramsey.
So Ramsey got some first-team reps on Tuesday, splitting with Lambert. That’s basically how it’s been the first four practices, with Eason working primarily with the third unit as he learns the offense.
“I wouldn’t want to speculate who did better today because I’ve gotta watch the tape. About 50 percent of the time I’m watching the defense and I don’t know who made the throw,” Smart said. “But we thought enough of what (Ramsey has) been doing.”
Smart has seen Ramsey play in person: In last year’s Alabama win at Georgia, Ramsey replaced Lambert at halftime, and ended up throwing two interceptions before Lambert went back in.
But Smart is also close with former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who recruited Ramsey to Georgia and probably had good things to say about him. Ramsey’s decision-making and comfort with the playbook have also been cited as reasons he didn’t see more action last year. Both of those could also be connected to what Smart was talking to him about on Tuesday.
Ramsey has still been getting work at punter, and has been the best at it thus far, per Smart. (The team has signed punter Marshall Long, who doesn’t arrive until the summer.)
“But today he would be the punter,” Smart said of Ramsey.
As for making a run at the quarterback job, Smart is making clear what he wants to see.