When Jake Fromm walked out of Notre Dame Stadium last week, there was plenty of positive talk about how the true freshman managed the game in his first career start.
Georgia pulled out a 20-19 victory in South Bend, Indiana, and Fromm finished with 141 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception on a pass intended for Isaac Nauta — who was blanketed by Drue Tranquill.
Like the miscue on the muffed exchange or a couple of overthrown passes, Fromm showed he has some learning and growing to do. But if a few dropped passes by his receivers went in Fromm’s favor, Georgia would’ve flown home with a two- or three-score victory, and the narrative would be different about the Houston County product.
Two of the most-noticeable drops came on passes that would’ve resulted in touchdowns. Javon Wims had an opportunity inside the 5-yard line and dropped a pass that appeared to be a result of Notre Dame defensive back Nick Watkins deflecting the pass, but that wasn’t the case.
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In addition, Mecole Hardman narrowly missed an opportunity for a score on a pass from Fromm that was slightly overthrown.
“There were a lot of plays to be made, including myself dropping the touchdown catch,” Wims said. “I just misplayed it; I should’ve caught it.”
The early days of Fromm’s career have brought plenty of expectations. Entering the program as a five-star recruit, the anticipation focused on how much playing time he would get behind starting quarterback Jacob Eason. An injury in the season opener against Appalachian State provided Fromm the chance to display his talents.
After hed passed the test against Appalachian State, many players praised Fromm’s confidence and demeanor. A road test later and with a number of conference games lying ahead, the challenges haven’t seemed to be too difficult.
“He has had pressure but has been confident at the same time,” Georgia sophomore tight end Charlie Woerner said. “He knows he has good players around him.”
While having some key drops, Georgia’s receiver unit has been successful in making some above-average catches to help Fromm’s cause. Wims did so in his season debut by catching a jump ball and lunging forward for a touchdown, and Terry Godwin followed that up with a one-handed snag against the Fighting Irish for a touchdown.
Fromm’s time in the starting lineup will likely continue for a couple of games as Eason rehabs from a sprained knee injury, which he suffered against Appalachian State. Fromm has taken early control of the offense by making checks and reads at the line of scrimmage, which has been beneficial to Georgia’s offensive flow. But while dealing with some miscues, the receivers believe some responsibility falls on them.
“We have to make every play for him when a ball is in the air,” Wims said. “It may not be perfect — or it may be perfect — but we just have to catch it. Especially for a freshman, it boosts his confidence.”
That feeling can be seen throughout the entire offense.
“If we play the best we can, he can feel like he doesn’t have to do more than he has to do,” Woerner said.