As a true freshman, Jake Fromm led Georgia to its first SEC championship in 12 years. He led the team to its first-ever College Football playoff appearance and its first national championship game in over 30 years. However, after a lackluster performance at the 2018 G-Day game, some believe he won’t be the starter this fall. Despite what most think, Fromm appears to have secured his starting position with his performance.
Fromm went 19-38 for 200 yards 1 touchdown and two interceptions completing 50 percent of his passes. He threw crisp, clean throws throughout the game and showed a lot of promise with his check-downs. However, his receivers didn’t help him out a whole lot during the game. Riley Ridley dropped a touchdown pass. Jayson Stanley let one float through his fingertips that could have potentially led to a touchdown. Elijah Holyfield dropped a critical pass that could have allowed the red team to make a move towards the end of the game. The passes mentioned above were some of the most accurate throws of the day. Overall, Fromm put together a solid performance despite losing the game to the Black squad.
Georgia’s Defense is no joke
Another thing to note is despite losing Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, Dominick Sanders, Malcolm Parrish and plenty others, Georgia’s defense will be one of the best by the end of 2018. Fromm had to make plays against some of the best defenders in the country, and he still completed 50 percent of his passes. The defense sacked him four times. However, that’s a hard thing to scale when its two-hand touch on the quarterbacks. Head coach Kirby Smart made it a point to call out the defense, and they answered, especially the secondary. The defense came out guns blazing, and the secondary proved it wouldn’t be the weak link.
Missing Two Key Components
By the headline, its probably assumed this is about Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. However, it’s not. Fromm didn’t have two of his top receivers on Saturday. Javon Wims of course graduated, but Terry Godwin had limitations due to a minor knee injury. The duo caught the majority of the passes Fromm threw last year, and not having either of them forced the other wide receivers to step up. Unfortunately, the chemistry isn’t there yet between them and Fromm.
Two Interceptions? More like Kudos to the Defense
Now, I’m not saying the two interceptions aren’t Fromm’s fault, because they are, he threw them. However, on the first one, when Deandre Baker took it in for six, he made an impressive read on Fromm. Baker saw the look and saw what Fromm attempted to do, and he took advantage of it. Granted Fromm threw the ball, made the wrong call, but in light of things; Baker showed just how good he is.
Then look at the almost interception by Richard LeCounte. The intended receiver was Charlie Woerner who came across the middle and LeCounte tried to grab it. However, Woerner appeared to pull up when he saw LeCounte coming and seemed to end his route early. This mistake by Woerner caused LeCounte to be in the correct position to pick off the ball. However, Woerner made sure it didn’t happen. Fromm might have thrown that ball, but Woerner is at fault for not finishing his route. And the other interception was an impressive play by William Poole. So yes, Fromm threw two interceptions, well almost three, but it was these various elements that ultimately caused the miscues.
Fields Appears to have Window of Opportunity
Justin Fields went 18-33 for 207 yards 1 touchdown and one interception. He completed 54 percent of his passes on Saturday which impressed many. Fields natural ability to make plays shined on Saturday. Given the fact he came to Georgia four months ago, he showed that his football IQ is up there with Fromm. In fact, he hasn’t thrown with any of the receivers on Georgia’s roster with the current playbook until spring camp.
His performance looked good on paper, but the quarterback has plenty of room to grow.
For starters, Fields went up against a much less experienced defense. Out of the 11 starters for the red team defense, only four contributed last season. The secondary he threw against, Ameer Speed was the only player to have playing time last season. So he had an advantage with his receivers to expose the secondary especially with second-year wideouts, Matt Landers, Jeremiah Holloman and Ahkil Crumpton. Now, the red team secondary made some plays, but its hard to say the red and black secondaries were of equal caliber. The front seven forced Fields to make quick decisions and applied pressure. In fact, the red defense “sacked” Fields seven times.
However, Fields showed that if Fromm’s not careful he could surpass him. He has the instincts, the intellectual ability to run a team, but where Fromm exceeds him is in experience. Fields exploited the lack of depth Georgia currently has in their secondary. By being able to abuse the secondary, he showed just how many playmakers Georgia has at wide receiver. The connection Fields has with Landers and Crumpton sparked touchdown drives during the game. He understood how mismatches could benefit them with the Landers touchdown.
Once he can comfortably mesh the intellectual and instinctual aspects of the game together, it’ll be hard to keep him off the field.
Fromm Seems to have Secure Job because of WHO he is
Despite what most consider a lackluster performance by Fromm, I think he secured his spot as the starter. For starters, his football IQ is almost unmatched. He’s starting to see things before they happen. Fromm’s ability to read a defense showed on Saturday when he linked up with Ridley at the end of the game. He saw what he had and made the play happen. Fromm commanded his team throughout the game on Saturday. He controlled the offense, and they listened. Despite making mistakes, Fromm kept his composure and a level head. When a receiver dropped the ball or an offensive lineman made a mistake, he encouraged them to continue. When he threw those interceptions, he owned up to the poor decision and appeared to hold himself accountable once he got to the sideline.
Whatever adversity came his way on Saturday, he handled it with confidence and maturity.
Fromm appears to have secured his job on Saturday with these various things, but ultimately with his maturity. With a full year under his belt, it’s hard to take this job away from him. It’s even harder to take it away from him when he put together a performance like he did at G-Day. To most, it seemed lackluster, but in actuality, it should show the fans that the team’s in good hands. A lot of things didn’t go his way, but he took it in stride and continued to grow as the game went on. Fromm has Fields hot on his tail, but as of now, he stays the starter until Fields proves otherwise.