In the postgame press conference I was able to ask Kirby Smart about how impressed he was with Stetson Bennett’s ability to go through progressions with in only his second game as a starter in the SEC. The question was one that Smart used as a vehicle to compliment his quarterback. In fact Smart seemed delighted to pontificate on how Bennett IV is growing and performing in this new Georgia offensive system.
“He (Bennett IV) understands coverage and he can work it across. Very similar to Jake (Fromm). He got to watch Jake do that. Jake was really elite at that. So, those things, he is advanced at that. I think the little things of checking the protection, looking at what play… somebody disguising the coverage well, he’s growing in regards to the way he handles that. You know, he can’t hold the ball for a long time. When we are in certain protections he can’t hold the ball. He held the ball kind of early on one of the 3rd downs, I think we took a sack on it. But, he’s got to protect the ball. That’s a big part for him is giving our defense a chance by going out there to play by protecting it. I am proud of his growth, I’m proud of his execution, his ability to get us lined up, and distribute the ball. That’s one thing he’s done is spray it around a little bit.”Kirby Smart on Stetson Bennett IV’s ability to read coverages and go through progressions in Georgia’s offense.
If you watch the touchdown in the 3rd quarter to Kearis Jackson, you’ll see a quarterback that is calm in the pocket and going through his reads. Smart indicated in the postgame press conference that many teams give Georgia a split safety, or 2-high, look to help take away Pickens with a safety over top of him. When they do, that leave the middle of the field open. On the play, in the video below, you see Bennett work a fade/out combination to his left and then reset his feet when he doesn’t like it and deliver a strike between the safeties to Kearis Jackson.
The way Kirby Smart spoke about Bennett IV and the way the former walk-on quarterback is able to execute the offense at this type of level, it certainly seems like “the mailman” is more than a stop gap for UGA in 2020. Georgia will need more of the same from Bennett IV as they head into a mammoth matchup in Tuscaloosa next week.