ATHENS — Jake Fromm has looked pretty good overall in Georgia’s first three games. The completion percentage is better than Jacob Eason’s last year. He has managed the offense well. The team is unbeaten.
There’s been just one blemish: Three turnovers, two of them fumbles. And as Kirby Smart spoke on Wednesday, it seems one play was probably fresh in his mind: When Fromm fumbled away the ball after scrambling last Saturday against Samford, rather than sliding or throwing the ball away.
“We’ve talked to him about decision-making, and we keep making it about that,” Smart said during his appearance on the SEC teleconference. “I don’t like to talk about outcomes and wins and losses and those things. You just try to make it more about the decision-making. When you’ve got an opportunity for him to make a play, we want him to be confident to do that. When you’re not sure, or you’re unsure, throw it away and play for another down. When you scramble, get rid of the ball or slide, don’t turn the ball over.
“The mistakes he’s made have been those kinds of things as opposed to just making good decisions. We continue to encourage him to make better decisions.”
When Georgia hosts Mississippi State on Saturday, Fromm will start his third straight game in place of the injured Jacob Eason, who sprained a knee ligament in the first quarter of Georgia’s season-opener. Fromm has led the team to easy wins against Appalachian State and Samford, allowing him to sit the fourth quarter, while he got through an up-and-down personal performance at Notre Dame – an interception and a fumble on a muffed handoff – to lead the team to a 20-19 win.
As for the other starting quarterback in Saturday’s game, Nick Fitzgerald, who torched LSU through his arm and legs, Smart called him “one of the premier” quarterbacks in the SEC and the country. And his size and mobility continues to be an emphasis for Georgia this week.
“He’s big, and he’s elusive,” Smart said.” So it’s not just about how you hit him, where you hit him. We’ve got to get him on the ground, and affect him. And we’ve got to try to wear him down.”
But he’s also not all that Mississippi State has. Tailback Aeris Williams also rushed for more than 100 yards against LSU. Williams has the ability to run between and outside the tackles, observed Smart.
Smart said Williams reminded him of Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back LeVeon Bell.
“He’s really physical,” Smart said. “I think the quarterback running the ball obviously complements him. Because when you’re putting extra defenders to defend Nick, you’ve got less defenders for Aeris. So they complement each other really well. It’s really tough to defend when you’ve got a guy who’s as big as Nick and is as fast as Nick, and is able to run the ball. There are certain coverages, and certain defenses you can’t play. So you end up being a little more limited and a little more predictable, because you’ve got to have people in the box to stop them.”