Kirby Smart tips hand on Georgia quarterback position: mobility a priority
LOS ANGELES — The Georgia QB situation sounds as uncertain in the aftermath of the Bulldogs 65-7 win over TCU as it did a year ago.
Coach Kirby Smart said earlier this week “it will take its course,” adding that “we’ve got a lot of time to prepare for that,” an indicator things remain up in the air.
But Smart might have dropped a hint on Tuesday morning, when asked how Stetson Bennett’s evolution at the position might have changed how he analyzes the position.
WATCH: Stetson Bennett, ‘It has gotten easier’ being No. 1
Bennett, of course, ended the sixth and final year of his collegiate career on a high note, tying Joe Burrow’s CFP Championship Game record by accounting for six touchdowns at SoFi Stadium.
“I definitely put a heavier weight on mobility because of Stetson,” Smart said at the CFP championship press conference at the LAX Airport Marriott.
“I don’t know if it changes the criteria, it definitely puts more weight on mobility, and that’s a really important factor.”
Carson Beck was the No. 2 quarterback this season, followed by Brock Vandagriff and freshman Gunner Stockton.
WATCH: Carson Beck shares thoughts on competition and future at Georgia
Beck flashed the “prototypical NFL” arm talent former UGA quarterback Jake Fromm described him as having.
Beck, a third-year quarterback from Jacksonville and one-time Alabama commit, finished his season 26-of-35 passing for 310 yards with 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
WATCH: Jake Fromm breaks down Georgia quarterbacks entering 2022 season
Vandagriff and Stockton — second- and first-year players from within state of Georgia — are more likely to add a dual-threat with their legs.
“I mean, like a scale of 1 to 10, if Stetson is an 8 in mobility, you probably can’t win without a 6 or a 7,” Smart said, delving deeper into his quarterback mobility theory.
“You’ve got to have somebody who can step out of the way and avoid things with athleticism.”
Smart aims high at the position, and equity means little, as Bennett discovered last year when Georgia pursued Caleb Williams in the transfer portal.
Bennett said the day after last year’s CFP Championship Game that he wasn’t sure if he would return to Georgia.
Bennett, appearing on Good Morning America, said it would depend on whether or not he could “trust the decisions made” by the UGA staff.
It’s likely Bennett knew that Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken were pursuing Williams in the transfer portal — a player they once recruited out of high school, with Bennett serving as his campus host, no less.
Beck shrugged off the possibility of Georgia adding another quarterback to compete in the room this offseason.
“We have a lot of great guys on our team in every single position room,” Beck told DawgNation.
“I think all of us thrive on competition, and at the end of the day, it will only make you better.”
Smart said last month there would always be quarterbacks available in the transfer portal, but he seemed to indicate on Tuesday the competition might be determined by the three current scholarship quarterbacks.
“We’ve got some good quarterbacks in there; we got one that took a black (non-contact) jersey off and took hits all week so he could be Max (Duggan),” Smart said. “Gunner Stockton said, ‘Coach, take my shirt off. I’ll take the hits.’
“And Brock Vandagriff is down there learning all year, Carson Beck got a lot of play time and has a lot of composure to come back and be able to play,” he said. “So those three guys will get to battle it out. And they’ll learn a lot.”