091121 Athens: Georgia quarterback Carson Beck prepares during pregame against UAB in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept 11, 2021, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

What to make of Carson Beck’s Georgia football debut

ATHENS — Late in the week, it seemed like Carson Beck was poised to take on a big role in the Georgia offense. JT Daniels had been battling an oblique injury and the redshirt freshman quarterback was working with the first-team offense.

While Beck didn’t end up starting, he did play in the first half for Georgia as he led two drives. He then played most of the second half as well, thanks to the excellence from Stetson Bennett.

Beck and Bennett found out the plan on Thursday morning after Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken made their decision.

“I don’t spend a lot of time in there (the Georgia quarterback room), believe it or not,” Smart said. “Coach Monken does a tremendous job with the offense and those quarterbacks. We had a discussion and decided which direction we were headed.”

Related: Kirby Smart updates JT Daniels’ injury, Georgia QB situation, decision to start Stetson Bennett

As for the deciding factor as to going with Bennett over Beck, Smart added the calming effect Bennett had on the offense helped his chances.

“We’re really young offensively,” Smart said. “We had a lot of guys that were injured and out. We just had a lot of young players that we’re trying to grow up.”

With no Kearis Jackson, Dominick Blaylock, George Pickens, Tate Ratledge and Darnell Washington, it would’ve been a big ask for Beck to lead an offense when he had not yet thrown a collegiate pass.

Beck threw two passes in the first half, with both being incomplete. He had Arian Smith open, but Beck underthrew him and the redshirt freshman receiver was unable to bring in the pass after having to adjust. Smith also was injured on the play.

Beck will have a chance to put the second half behind him with another strong week of practice. As the offense gets healthier, Bennett’s experience may not carry as much weight. Beck also now has some of his own in that regard. Playing South Carolina and Vanderbilt in the next two weeks could give Georgia an excellent opportunity to get Beck more reps, as the Bulldogs will be heavy favorites against both.

As Bennett himself proved on Saturday with his 5-touchdown performance, there’s plenty of talent in the Georgia quarterback room. That includes Beck, who showed at times why Smart and Monken both named him the back-up quarterback. But the redshirt freshman also showed why Bennett was the correct call to start on Saturday.

“I think everybody has confidence with everybody in our quarterback room,” Bennett said. “We’re all good friends and we all prepare the same way.”

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