Kirby’s Quarterback Quandary

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Kirby’s Quarterback Quandary

(left) No.12 Brice Ramsey, (middle) Jacob Eason, (right) No.11 Greyson Lambert (2016 UGA quarterbacks edit by Bob Miller)
(left) No.12 Brice Ramsey, (middle) Jacob Eason, (right) No.11 Greyson Lambert
(2016 UGA quarterbacks edit by Bob Miller)

POOF! You are now head football coach at the University of Georgia. Your biggest decision before your first game is to solve your quarterback quandary.
Football coaches, like all of us, make decisions based on their self-interest. It is in Kirby Smart’s self-interest to win as many football games as possible, however, winning SEC rival games is even more important – just ask Mark Richt. When Coach Smart says he will start the quarterback that gives his team the best chance to win, he is expressing an entirely logical desire to serve his own self-interest with his decision. But how will he determine the guy who will provide that “best chance”?
The optimum solution for Smart is for one of the three contenders to establish a gap between himself and his rivals. However, we have been told since spring practice that the competition is close. If Brice Ramsey is graded 5 percent better than Greyson Lambert, and 7 percent better than Jacob Eason, does Ramsey present the best option for winning game one? How does one factor Lambert’s SEC game experience? When practice performance differences ae narrow, does a coach think past the first game?
Most fans and pundits believe that Jacob Eason will be Georgia’s starting quarterback before the 2016 season ends. If Georgia’s offensive coaches also think Eason will take over as the starter during the season, it must be because they see more potential for wins. When non-quantifiable line items (like potential) enter the decision-making process, things get messy. In other words, is it better in terms of conference wins to have a freshman quarterback with three games experience on September 24 against Ole Miss, or that same player with, perhaps, a few series under his belt? This is the type of decision that comes with the multi-million dollar salary – get it wrong and you are a coordinator again.
Maybe one of the three quarterbacks will solve Kirby’s quarterback quandary for him before September 3rd.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.

24 responses on “Kirby’s Quarterback Quandary

  1. GirdersRBending

    DawgZilla  I guess that’s just the way I remember it.  We were very easy to gameplan.  Our Offensive productivity was not so hot against UA, Mizzou, UF, AU, GA Southern, and GA Tech.  Our stats were a bit inflated against our 1st 4 opponents.  I take nothing away from our running backs.  Wouldn’t trade them for anyone but they cannot do it all season without a vertical threat.

  2. DawgZilla

    GirdersRBending  It’s true our opponents didn’t fear our vertical passing game last year, because it was obvious to everyone that Lambert could not hurt them deep.  But to say our opponents took away our running game because of it, is, in the words of CKS, “a misnomer”.  Michel rushed for over 1100 yards after Chubb’s injury, and everyone knew he was gonna get the ball.  However, the most telling evidence of all was the fact that Chubb had almost 750 yards rushing in five games.  Nobody really stopped us from running the football last year. And… just in case you didn’t know… if Chubb doesn’t get injured on the first play of the game in Knoxville last year, Tennessee doesn’t win that game. Dang those misnomers!   


  3. countryboy439

    GirdersRBending Your right about the lack of respect for the passing game. As far as Lambert is concerned, he did lose the starting QB job at Virginia. That tells you all need to know about that. And Lambert beat out Ramsey here. That’s all you need to know about that. Eason can and will be QB1 sooner rather than later.

  4. GirdersRBending

    Opposing defenses did not respect our passing game last year.  That meant they could crowd the box and take away our only real threat (Chubb, Michel).  If we do not have a vertical threat, UT and UF (possibly UNC) are losses.  Maybe with better coaching and game planning Lambert is a much better QB than he was last year.  If not, Eason and/or Ramsey will have to be our main guys by the UT game.

  5. Bulldawg Bob2

    Good points and aye. Ready for the season to start and see the guys in red and black take it to the opposition.

  6. DawgZilla

    Bulldawg Bob2  I’ll buy that, BB2.  However, I have always advocated for Eason to be eased into the process.  While I would not be at all surprised to see the kid start against UNC.  Barring that, I won’t be too upset with the game plan if he at least plays some meaningful snaps in the game.  I then would expect him to get quite of few snaps against NSU the next week, and a few more against Mizzou.  I think we’ll all have a pretty good idea who the job will belong to full-time by then.  He’s too talented not to play.  Stafford’s confidence wasn’t shaken his freshman year, and he took some tough losses.  I surmise Eason’s confidence won’t fare any worse. It is true that most freshman QB’s may not be ready for SEC football game starts, but most don’t rate 5 stars or rank # 1 or 2 in the country at their position, either.  I guess we’ll see.  Go Dawgs!

  7. Bulldawg Bob2

    Trust in the coaching staff and the process.
    Most true freshmen QBs are not ready to start for a division 1 FBS football team regardless of size, arm strength and talent.
    If Eason starts versus UNC, great, but if he doesn’t, I still trust in the new coaching staff.

  8. DawgZilla

    I just read where it’s believed by the folks at Dawgnation that Lambert and Ramsey, at least during the first days of fall camp, will be getting the majority of the snaps.  Really? If that’s true, then I need to rethink some things about CKS’s coaching acumen and decision making with regards to his staff.  I think there was also reference to some type of quarterback quandary.  Quandary? What quandary?
    Inexperience be damned. With all due respect to the other young men vying for the starting QB spot…none of them even compares to the freshman in size, strength, talent or ability.
    Need I say more?

  9. wet willie

    If I were a bookie, I’d put the most likely odds on Lambert to not only start in the opening game, but for most of the season. Kirby will settle on the seasoned steady QB to get the Dawgs off and running this season. Lambert is a smart and capable player who will benefit greatly from our new staff.

  10. Reddawg13

    I will stand firm that I believe Eason wins the battle and is the starter game one!

  11. Reddawg13

    @CEPH CEPH we come on here to talk, speculate and enjoy. And a lot of these articles are openers for us to do just that! If you don’t care to do that I invite you to the AJC where your type of BS is not only welcomed but encouraged!

  12. Vance_Leavy

    Just like I said this time last year (when we were in a similar QB debate), I hope our head man will use the first 2 games to decide who the ultimate starter is. Play all 3 versus UNC and Nicholls State. But when the team plane lifts off for Mizzou, the guy under center needs to be decided for the rest of 2016.

  13. CEPH

    Greg Poole I need to apologize, of course it isn’t the dumbest article I have ever read.  God that would eliminate  a lot of articles wouldn’t it?  But Kirby keeps saying he is going to play the QB who gives them the best chance to win unlike Richt who played the next man in line ala Cox and Tereshinski. Of course I think all of us want it to be Eason.

  14. Bulldawg Bob2

    Welcome to Bulldawg Illustrated Ceph. Not sure how his is the dumbest article you have read because I don’t think you’ve read my articles and there is the AJC…..

  15. Bulldawg Bob2

    Good article Greg.
    I still think Eason’s situation in 2016 as an EE true freshman is similar to Stafford in 2006 and Zeier in 1991.
    Both Zeier and Stafford eventually became the go to starters during their freshman seasons, but it wasn’t till about the midpoint of the season.
    Glad I don’t have to make the decision, that is for sure, but that is why the coaches make the big bucks.

  16. PTCDawg

    Avon Barksdale I concur 100% with your prediction, Avon. I think it is likely that GL starts the UNC game but it would not be surprising if he didnt. Eason gets a lot of snaps and becomes the starter just as soon as he shows he is as good a choice as either of the others at bringing home the W. May be game 1, may be game 10, seems most likely closer to 1 than 10.

  17. Avon Barksdale

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Eason may not be the guy who gives us the best chance to win games 1, 2, and 3. However if he gets that valuable early playing time early, he may be the guy who gives you the best chance to win those later games. I’m not sure if you can take the whole “play him just enough to give him experience while minimizing freshman mistakes until he is over those freshman mistakes” approach. I kind of think he can only get to where he needs to be by making those mistakes and learning from them.
    I do think we need to narrow it down to 2 guys by game one. Three can make things messy (one guy looks best one week, another the next week, and the other guy the week after that).
    All that said, my PREDICTION is we start Lambert against UNC, Eason gets 30-40% of the snaps. Based on how he looks he either starts game two or gets 60%+ of the snaps and hopefully plays well enough to merit starting game 3. That would make Tennessee either his 3rd or 4th start of the season.
    But we’ll just have to see what happens!

  18. countryboy439

    The starting QB decision has longer term ramifications than first meets the eye. The message it sends to players will be perceived one of two ways, or a combination of both.

    1. Message to recruits, you can earn a starting spot with dedication to hard work, team building, teachability applied to skills. Or

    2. You can earn a starting spot based on what you accomplished in your recent past
    KS knows nothing can be gained naming a starter now, Eason executing (or not) the plays called is the only thing that will stop him from starting, snap 1 of first game. Lamberts ceiling has maxed out, Ramsey hasn’t played enough QB in the last two years to stay engrossed at position.

  19. CEPH

    This is one of the dumbest articles that I have ever read, “Why is it a quandary” he has already said what he is going to do, he is going to play the QB who gives who gives him the best chance to WIN.  Do you not get that?  Every position has to be evaluated as to who is going to play to give them the best chance to win.

  20. AtomicDawg

    I personally don’t think CKS can get it wrong by starting Eason if indeed he is the one that shows the best evaluation in the fall camp process. Even if we were to lose the UNC game with Eason starting, it would still benefit us more in the long run for the reasons you (Greg) mentioned in the article. Game experience is something that can never be coached. If he looks ready, then give the young man the keys…all you can do is sit on the Lazy-Z-Boy and worry until he pulls it back into the driveway. The end result has no baring on whether we worry, discuss and predict what will happen. 

    Great conversation starter BTW…

    Go Dawgs!!!