SAVANNAH — Kirby Smart had wrapped up a 10-minute media session here on Monday, and as he walked off, Mark Fox, walking in for his own session, had an observation.
“You didn’t announce the quarterback,” Fox said.
“They didn’t ask!” Smart said, also smiling.
An opportunity missed. Oh well.
But Smart did get a question about Greyson Lambert, who was somewhat of a local, having grown up about an hour away in Jesup.
“Greyson’s a bright kid,” Smart said. “Greyson’s a kid that I recruited, actually, at Bama, from down in Wayne County, and got to go down and see him. He’s from Wayne County, and I’ve known him a long time, and he’s grown up a lot. He’s had a lot of experiences, from ACC to SEC. So he is definitely a tenured quarterback.”
That was the fairly obvious stuff. Then Smart, who is developing a knack for saying more than the obvious stuff, got into a bit of a critique, tying it to the big question: Will Lambert hold on to the starting job?
“It’s definitely not about the competition right now. He’s worried about himself,” Smart said. “He’s got to get better, and more mobile, and he knows that. And he’s got to continue to improve in order to be our starter.”
Since early this spring, the thinking among many insiders, including this reporter, has been that ultimately Lambert would be the starter against North Carolina. As for wunderkind Jacob Eason, the question was whether he would get in that game, or get a chance to take over later in the season.
But lately there have been whispers from people around the program that the Eason talk is legit, that he has a real chance to start the opener. (Not Smart, who is wisely being careful with his public comments.) You can temper the G-day performance all you want by pointing out it was against the second team – and, well, it was – but what you haven’t heard is people behind the scenes saying Eason wasn’t that good in the closed scrimmages or practices. You hear the opposite. He is that good.
The question is just whether he can pick up the playbook, and manage the offense as well as everyone knows Lambert can manage it.
Let’s also not forget about Brice Ramsey. It’s always useful to remember that Ramsey was recruited and then groomed by Mike Bobo, who is Smart’s good friend, and Smart trusts Bobo’s judgment. The two people that didn’t start Ramsey last year (Mark Richt and Brian Schottenheimer) aren’t here anymore, and the arrival of Smart – who also recruited Ramsey – could resuscitate Ramsey’s career at Georgia.
But for now, when it comes to handicapping the competition, Ramsey is (unfairly or not) an afterthought, with the seeming decision being between the veteran starter and the five-star recruit.
It’s harder than ever to make any predictions about how it would go. Prior to G-Day, betting on Lambert as the starter against North Carolina seemed fairly safe. Then came G-Day, which just put a public display on what was already happening behind the scenes. Ramsey didn’t hurt his cause in that game either. As for Lambert, his G-Day was the weakest of the three, but he also faced the first team, and he has experience.
Here’s what we do know: Last year at this time the previous staff was recruiting another candidate, Lambert, after not being comfortable with what they saw in the spring. It’s not even occurring to anybody this year to do that.
So there’s some progress for you.