ATHENS — Jake Fromm said Monday he’s “not a big stats guy.” Maybe he should be, though.
There are a lot out there for Fromm to like.
There are surface ones that everyone spouts, then those that dig a little deeper. Georgia’s sophomore quarterback is looking good on both counts this season.
Start with completion percentage. Fromm is completing 72.5 percent of his passes on the year. That puts him on pace to shatter the school record of 67.9 percent established by Hutson Mason in 2014 and in position to break the SEC record set by Tim Couch at Kentucky in 1998.
What’s more, that’s after Fromm had a season-high 10 incompletions this past Saturday against Missouri. Fromm was 13 of 23 passing for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 43-29 win over the Tigers, but that didn’t tell the whole story of his day’s work in Columbia, Mo.
According to Pro Football Focus, it was Fromm’s best day as Georgia’s quarterback. That’s because he attempted 10 passes of more than 10 yards and completed five of them. Fromm’s average completion was 20 yards. Grading on a pro scale, that gave him an overall rating of 77.7.
Fromm’s rating went up to 89.2 against the blitz, according to PFF. He was 7-for-11 for 146 yards and two touchdowns when Missouri came after him. Georgia’s offensive line deserves some credit for that as well. He was “under pressure” on only five of his 23 drop-backs on the afternoon and they gave up statistical hurry only twice.
But these statistical observations weren’t telling Georgia coach Kirby Smart anything he didn’t already know about how Fromm is playing.
“I think he’s able to make quicker, smarter decisions,” Smart said at Monday’s weekly news conference. “He’s processing information really quick; he understands what defenses are trying to do; he’s in his second year in our system; he’s got more experience with the wideouts. He had good wideouts last year, but the kids this year give him a bigger body to work with. They’ve made some plays for him, too. They’re catching the ball better now.”
Add it all together and Fromm is completing passes at a rate 10 percent greater than he did last year when he earned freshman All-America honors. A week after leading the nation in completion percentage (80), Fromm is seventh.
“I don’t think he was less accurate last year,” Smart said. “I think he understands where the check-down is and how to use the tools that are around him.”
Fromm wasn’t interested in honking his own horn Monday, but he did second Smart’s assertion that he is benefiting from a deep and skilled receiver corps.
“That room is very talented,” Fromm said. “You can go in there and see it just from the physical stature of the guys in there. Guys in there can run really fast and are really tall and can make a lot of plays, so it speaks to the depth of the room and how tough that room really is.”
Georgia’s receiving corps has been dealing with injuries all year, but hasn’t missed a beat. Terry Godwin, the leading returning pass-catcher from last year, has been dealing with leg injuries since preseason camp and is just beginning to get back to full speed. No sooner did freshman Kearis Jackson come back from a hamstring injury, than Tyler Simmons went out this past Saturday with a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are still waiting to see what all the fuss was about regarding Demetris Robertson. The Cal transfers and former 5-star still hasn’t caught a pass at Georgia. He is playing on the kick coverage team and getting in on offense at the back of 10-man the rotation.
Georgia also has lost two starting offensive linemen to injuries. Left tackle Andrew Thomas missed the last two games with a sprained ankle and right guard Ben Cleveland suffered a broken leg this past Saturday and will be out multiple games.
Still, as a team, Georgia is averaging 44.5 points a game — nearly 10 more than last season (35.4) — and 477.5 yards overall.
“For the whole team, it’s a next-man-up mentality,” Fromm said. “That’s just a mentality we have as a team with the depth we have. It really doesn’t matter who’s out, it’s the next guy up.”
But Fromm was not happy with a lot that went on in the Missouri game and feels like there is much to improve on before Tennessee and it’s Jeremy Pruitt-led defense comes to town this weekend.
“I didn’t think we were very good at executing situational things during the game,” Fromm said of Missouri. “That’s something we can get better at. It’s something we practice every week. As we progress we’ll get better at it and we’ll get another chance this week.”
As long as the Bulldogs have Fromm at the controls, his teammates feel like they will continue to improve.
“He’s being Jake, and that’s what we need him to be,” senior center Lamont Gaillard said. “He hasn’t missed a beat since last year. He’s just kept it rolling.”