ATHENS – Not going to lie: I did hear the name “Wally Pipp” mentioned at halftime in a stadium once graced by a different Wally, meaning Butts.
For late tuners-in, Wally Pipp was the first baseman who reported for duty at Yankee Stadium and asked the trainer for two aspirin. (He had a headache, legend holds.) Manager Miller Huggins told Pipp to take the day off. The guy who started in his stead – Lou Gehrig – started every game for the next 14 years.
We don’t yet know the extent of Jacob Eason’s knee injury. (Georgia coach Kirby Smart said at halftime it was a sprain, as opposed to a tear.) We don’t know how many games he’ll miss, if any. But the vibe at Sanford Stadium on Saturday was that Bulldogs fans wouldn’t be averse to seeing what Jake Fromm, the freshman from Warner Robins and Houston County High, can do.
Pressed into service midway through the first quarter, Fromm led Georgia to a 31-10 victory over Appalachian State. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards. He wasn’t sacked. He didn’t commit a turnover. He appeared up to the task. (Eason completed 1 of 3 passes, the completion for 4 yards. Small sample size, I know.)
When Eason arrived in January 2016, the belief was that he’d be Georgia’s starter for the next three seasons. Eason did wind up starting as a freshman, and he was OK. But the Bulldogs went 8-5, and some close to the program have held that Fromm might actually be the better quarterback. One game into the 2017 season, we know this for sure: He’s the healthier quarterback.
Georgia’s next game will be staged in Notre Dame Stadium. If Fromm leads the Bulldogs to victory there and keeps winning … well, who’s the No. 1 quarterback?