After Georgia held an open practice during their first scrimmage on the sixth day of Fall Camp on Saturday afternoon, that allowed both fans and media to get a look at the team, there were some observations that Jacob Eason struggled and Jake Fromm out performed the sophomore quarterback. That coupled with what was stated in the morning press conference by Head Coach Kirby Smart and Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney would leave one to think that perhaps there is a quarterback controversy brewing in Athens, GA for the Bulldogs.
But that might be a premature assumption.
All three scholarship quarterbacks – Eason, Fromm, and Brice Ramsey – along with preferred walk-on freshman Stetson Bennett and walk-ons freshman John Seter and junior Sam Vaughn saw action in Saturday’s scrimmage. All the quarterbacks made good decisions and good throws and then also made some bad decisions and bad throws.
Eason went up against the No. 1 defense most of the afternoon, and while he did struggle with his accuracy at times, mainly in the 11-on-11, at others he was spot on. For example, No. 10 put the ball on a rope to senior receiver Javon Wims during 7-on-7 over junior DB D’Andre Baker and behind the defense. That play drew a bunch of cheers from the crowd, but on another play, he over threw a receiver on a corner route. Eason did play better during the 7-on-7 when compared to the 11-on-11 but some of the receivers did not help out his cause in that regard and the 1st-team defense played well.
Fromm went up against the No. 2 defense most of the afternoon. While No. 11 did impress with his accuracy, on one play he fit the ball to sophomore Mecole Hardman in front of a safety, at other times, he made some… well, freshman mistakes that led to at least three interceptions – on by sophomore DB Tyrique McGhee, another by junior LB Keyon Brown, and the third by Eric Stokes on a ball that Fromm held too long and threw late. The gunslinger out of Houston County could have thrown a fourth INT if freshman DB Ameer Speed could have held onto the ball. However, when Fromm did make good decisions, he was on, throwing touchdowns to WRs Mecole Hardman, Matt Landers, and Jayson Stanley
Like Eason and Fromm, even the senior Ramsey had an up and down day going against the No. 2 and No. 3 defensive groups. No. 12 did have some very nice throws. He threw a beautiful back-shoulder fade to freshman Matt Landers who was covered by another freshman, CB Eric Stokes, for a big chunk of yards on one play. Ramsey also had a nice play to freshman receiver Trey Blount despite blanket coverage from Tyreke McGhee.
Eason didn’t do anything to lose his anticipated start against Appalachian State on September 2nd, and Fromm didn’t play well enough to unseat him. And keep in mind, this is just practice number six of Fall Camp and the first scrimmage. That being said, fans should feel good that Ramsey decided to return as if the both Eason and Fromm could not go, he looks ready to take the reigns and manage the offense.
But what about the statements made by Coaches Smart and Chaney in the presser before practice that morning? Did either coach say anything that even remotely alludes to Fromm possibly overtaking a healthy Eason as of right now? No. But what they did say is that there is still a lot of fierce competition and the staff is doing everything they can to get Fromm ready to play just in case Eason cannot go, which was answered by Kirby when he was asked if Jake Fromm would be redshirted this season (at approximately the 8:00 minute mark in the video below):
“I don’t know that you even think about that right now. You have to let things happen as they happen. It is not a conversation where you go in and say, ‘ok, what do we have to do to let Jake Fromm redshirt; what do we have to do to make Jake Fromm play?’ That is not the consideration,” said Samrt. “The consideration is we have to develop Jake Fromm as fast as possible because, as of today, he is one play away from playing. We don’t think like that. We don’t think ‘oh, we are going to redshirt this guy.’ I don’t think that is the way to really look at it. I think it is a lot more of can Jake continue to grow at the rate he is growing? Can he make the throws and make the decisions we want him to make? Can he run the offense, can he execute the offense, can he lead the offense the right way? If he continues to do those things, he is competing for everything, if not just for who is the backup, who is the third, are we redshirting him? We don’t really get into that analyzation. We look at it as what’s going to give us the best to have him ready to play… first game.”
The key here is two lines from Coach Smart on whether or not Fromm will redshirt – “he is one play away from playing” and “We look at it as what’s going to give us the best to have him ready to play… first game.” While that doesn’t tell us whether or not Fromm will be redshirted, that does tell me that they want him ready to play and go in if he is needed, especially if Eason goes down with an injury.
And Chaney had this to say on Georgia’s quarterback depth.
“Brice is good because he gives us added depth as someone who understands once again the offense. As far as depth charts, I’ll leave that to Kirby and your own assumptions on where that all plays in. Jake’s doing good too. That quarterback room is a lot of fun right now. I’m tickled Brice [Ramsey] came back. Personally, I like him a lot. I think he brings a lot of football savvy, and I think he helps the young kids. He’s a comforting role in there, because he wants to be there right now. That’s fun for us. I’m tickled to death in that quarterback room. Jake Fromm is a competitive kid, as you all well know. We’ve all watched him compete and go out there and compete every day. With all the competition we have, we are all going to get better, including me. So that’s a good thing about this room. I like it. It’s competitive. Our job and I think Georgia’s job and everyone’s job is to make sure that room stays as competitive as it can for a long time. You want to have a good solid football program? Keep that room really nice.”
So what assumptions can we make on the Bulldogs’ quarterback depth just one week into Fall Camp?
Not much has changed since the spring. Right now, Jacob Eason is still the man and it looks like Jake Fromm is the next man up with Brice Ramsey holding down the third spot on the depth chart. But that doesn’t mean that Eason can get comfortable either. His job is not guaranteed or safe. Afterall, I’ll go back to what Coach Smart said on Fromm: “… he is competing for everything, if not just for who is the backup, who is the third, are we redshirting him?” Whoever opens the season as the starter for the Bulldogs at quarterback on September 2nd is going to do so because they earned it.
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