The decision may rest with Jim Chaney rather than Kirby Smart, but who gets the nod to open at quarterback in 2016 for UGA may not be as clear cut as many fans tend to believe.
There is no doubt that true freshman Jacob Eason is the fan’s choice to jump into the battleground that is SEC football directly from his high school in Washington. However, two former Georgia greats expressed words of caution about an immediate takeover by the incoming freshman to Tony Barnhart:
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“I just wasn’t ready,” said David Greene, who redshirted as a true freshman in 2000, then was a four-year starter. “There are so many changes that are taking place in your life when you are a freshman. There is dorm life, school, a new playbook to learn. You have to learn to get into a rhythm with play-calling. You just can’t do those things in the first game.”
“The speed of the game is what jumps out at you,” said Zeier, who now is the analyst on the Georgia Football Radio Network. “The defensive linemen are faster. The cornerbacks are a lot faster, and the windows you have to throw into close very quickly. The defenses are so complex because they know how to disguise coverages. It’s a lot on your plate when you are young.”
“The point is I really wasn’t ready until that game with Clemson,” Zeier said. “Before then, Coach McDuffie made me stay within the system and run exactly what was called. He gave me safe throws. I couldn’t change any plays. If I did, I would have been running gassers at dawn. That is what you have to do with a young quarterback.”
Of course, Eason has already enrolled and will fully participate in conditioning and spring practice, in addition to summer workouts, prior to the beginning of fall camp next August. Will he be ready in 2016 or will he be the man, ready or not?