HOOVER, Ala. — Kirby Smart didn’t get much into who will be his quarterback in the season opener. The head coach did, however, claim what will not go into the decision-making process. Or at least not that much.
The uncertain status of star tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel would seem to have a major impact: If they’re not available, or limited, would it lead to veteran Greyson Lambert returning as the starter, to provide a steady and experienced hand? Or would it lead to the team going with the upside of freshman Jacob Eason, or even junior Brice Ramsey?
Smart downplayed whether the two situations will be connected, at least as far as who gets the starting nod against North Carolina on Sept. 3.
“I think that’s going to play a small part,” Smart said Tuesday at SEC media days. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to play the guy that gives us the best chance to win. Well you say if we don’t have either back – which I certainly hope isn’t the case – does it become a situation where you’ve got to go throw the ball better. We’ve got to look at the long-term, not just the first game. There’s more to the season than the first game.
“We’re not putting all our eggs in the first-game basket. We’ve got to make the best long-term decision, we’ve got to figure out who’s going to be our best leader, who’s going to give us the best chance to win, and I don’t think that’s dictated by who the back is.”
During his filibuster of an opening statement, Smart mentioned the quarterback situation, none by name, just making the point that it’s still an open competition.
“It’s very important that everyone in this room knows that we will pick the young man that gives us the best chance to win football games,” Smart said, adding: “We are devoted to giving each guy the right reps.”