ATHENS — The tendency is to read a lot into everything Georgia showed with its quarterbacks Saturday. For fans, maybe it’s hope.
In any case, Jacob Eason, the Bulldogs’ ballyhooed freshman quarterback, got a lot of work with the first-team offense as Georgia conducted an open practice at Sanford Stadium. In fact, he took most of the snaps with that unit.
But that has to be tempered with the reality that Georgia’s three quarterbacks have been rotating going first with the first unit on a daily basis going back to spring practice and on the regular since the start of this camp less than a week ago. Coach Kirby Smart touched on that Saturday morning before the Bulldogs took the field.
“We’ve been rotating those guys and we’ve been spinning them, all three, kind of where they all three get to go with each group,” Smart said. “We’re kind of taking it day-by-day, where one guy gets to go with the ones, a guy gets to go with the twos, a guy gets to go with the threes, and they all rotate. So that rotation will continue today, with today being the sixth practice. So if you do your math, as you kind of go through, this will be the end of the second rotation”
Which means the first rotation, which would have been conducted during Friday’s closed, full-contact practice, was manned by Ramsey. Monday, it will be Lambert with the ones.
Regardless, Eason’s presence got the smattering of fans who took advantage of Saturday’s rare access excited as usual.
Like when Eason connected with freshman Tyler Simmons for a 35-yard touchdown against cornerback Malkom Parrish during pass-skeleton work. That brought a huge ovation.
Almost simultaneously, on the other end of the field, Lambert hit Shakenneth Williams on an almost identical pattern, which solicited what should be described as golf applause.
Likewise, earlier in the practice, Eason lasered a TD pass to Jayson Stanley just over the heads and outstretched arms of several defensive backs, drawing a raucous cheer. Meanwhile, Lambert appeared to have had an very productive day himself, delivering most of his passes on-target during the lead-up to scrimmage work.
In 11-on-11 work, Eason had a beautiful 42-yard would-be TD pass to Reggie Davis ruled out of bounds. But then he had a pass picked off by Dominik Sanders after he threw into double coverage.
So it was pretty much more of the same from the 6-foot-6, 242-freshman, a few “Wows” followed by a couple of “whoas.”
Same for Lambert. The 6-5, 234-pound senior had fewer highlight moments but also no obvious major mistakes. He also didn’t get as much work with the mostly-No. 1 unit.
Ramsey did not appear to have very good day. He threw at least three interceptions in competitive drills or scrimmage sessions. But he also unleashed a couple of nice scoring throws.
All-in-all, it was difficult to imagine that much depth-chart movement will result from the performances that were on display Saturday at Sanford Stadium. As ever, the three quarterbacks will be judged on the whole of their work during preseason camp.
But with the season opener against North Carolina just four weeks away, the Bulldogs will have to make a determination in the next two to three weeks for sure.
“You quantify as much as you can; this quarterback is on target this much, he’s making this many good decisions,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. “I can put all the numbers on everything they do. But, at the end of the day, it will get down to Coach Smart, making that decision, who he’s wanting to go with, with some of my influence on that one way or the other, and it’s not always about the math. Sometimes it’s about a gut feeling what you’re going to do. So at the end of the day, let them compete, it will sort out when it sorts out. There’s no timetable on this, and we’ll figure out where it goes from there.”
No matter what happens at the quarterback position, it appears you’ll see Eason on the field this fall. Once again Saturday, he was the No. 1 holder for place-kicking.