ATHENS — Carson Beck shined against Florida, but SEC Network analyst Jordan Rodgers isn’t convinced he’s a national championship caliber QB quite yet.
“I think Carson is a heck of a player,” Rodgers said on the Snaps podcast hosted by former LSU lineman T-Bob Hebert.
“But I’m going to say ‘no,’ just yet, because I think the last little piece I need to see from Carson is some consistency in the deep ball.”
Beck and No. 1-ranked Georgia (8-0. 5-0 SEC) will take their shots against No. 12 Missouri (7-1, 3-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
It’s a game that could determine the SEC Championship Game representative from the East Division, and Beck’s level of play will go a long way toward determining the outcome.
Rodgers, who once quarterbacked Vanderbilt into the Top 25 and was named one of the best 100 players in program history, pointed out Beck was “second to last in the SEC in balls over 25 yards.”
“A few more of those,” Rodgers said, “and I think this team is there, and he’s there.”
The deep ball issue is valid, though there has been some discussion of how much of the misses have been on Beck, and how much has been on receivers who have either dropped passes or not completed their routes correctly.
Still, outside of mobility and deep ball metrics, Rodgers is bullish on most every other aspect of Beck’s game and how the Georgia offense under Mike Bobo compares to last season.
“From a pure passing standpoint, I think he’s one of the best pure progression intermediate passers in college football right now,” Rodgers said. “He has his ability to go one, two and then in rhythm hit that comeback (route), backside, or a deep cross, whatever it is, with accuracy and on time.”
The receivers have been reliable outside of the deep ball to the point Rodgers likes UGA’s offense better this season than last season.
“The weapons they have this year and how Bobo is using them is scary,” he said. “When you watch him throw the ball to Ladd McConkey, it’s different; when you watch the velocity and the timing, he doesn’t blink he doesn’t hesitate. Ladd is such a great route runner.”
Rodgers said he’d like to see Georgia utilize tight end Oscar Delp more in the pass game with All-American Brock Bowers sidelined indefinitely after undergoing ankle surgery.
“That offense is better than last year in a lot of areas,” Rodgers said. “I got so much (backlash) last year because I was like, I didn’t think the receivers are very good outside of Ladd.
“Arian (Smith) is just a dude that you can throw in every now and then and see if he can win a post , AD (Mitchell) was not really healthy and not a shadow of who he is now, Kearis Jackson and Dominick Blaylock were just guys,” he said.
“Right now their guys their third and fourth guys are Dominic Lovett and Rara Thomas, who are dudes who can make plays.”
Rodgers, who has traveled around the league with the SEC Nation crew, also suggested Georgia will have to do more than just get ahead early to finish off Missouri.
“(Missouri) was on the road, down 14 early in the game and it looked like Kentucky was gonna steamroll them,” Rodgers said, “and to fight back on the road down that much early and to win it by more than two scores, that tells you a lot about the maturity and what happens in adversity.
“That’s why I worry about this game if Georgia starts fast and Missouri starts slow; traditionally, you’re like, ‘that’s over,’ but I think this is a different Missouri team from that standpoint.”