Somehow, someway, the great young quarterback from Houston County is going to step on the field in South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday as the starter for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Jake Fromm might have dreamed this would happen, but he likely believed he would simply beat out Jacob Eason for the starting job. Instead, Fromm’s roommate is out with a knee injury, opening the door for the freshman.
Many of us saw Fromm play for Houston County. We knew he was a special talent even before he stepped onto campus in Athens. We saw the great passes, the tremendous plays that helped make Fromm one of the best quarterback prospects in the country.
Georgia saw a freshman start at quarterback in week two last year, but this will be for a different reason. Yet the same confidence the fans had in Eason taking over for Greyson Lambert is in play this time as well. Fans can’t wait to see what Fromm can do against Notre Dame.
Let’s be realistic, however. Let’s calm down and remember this kid was playing against Veterans a year ago this Saturday. Granted, Fromm led Houston County to a 58-point performance, but his opponent and the situation will be quite different this time around.
There’s no reason to discount what Fromm might do this week. Talented players can do great things on the football field, regardless of their age. And we’ve heard over and over how Fromm has the “it factor,” that intangible called makeup that can make young players just as special as the ones with experience.
We just need to be careful about expecting too much from Fromm. Sure, if he does well Saturday, Georgia will have a great chance to win. But expect Georgia to put the pressure on the running backs. The Bulldogs have one of the best groups in the country, so why wouldn’t they let those players do the work on offense?
Nick Chubb looked great against Appalachian State, and Sony Michel is as good a backup running back as you’ll ever see. We saw D’Andre Swift make an impact, and Brian Herrien is still a factor. If you were the coach at Georgia, wouldn’t you let the running backs take the pressure off Fromm in this game?
Fromm’s offensive line must play better. The line looked last week like what it is — an inexperienced group that will be better in November than in September.
Another question will be how offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will pattern the offense for Fromm’s strengths. While it’s still is smart to let the running backs run wild, Fromm offers a somewhat different skill set than Eason. Will Chaney let Fromm run a bit?
This game Saturday is probably a bit more special for the Georgia fans than the Georgia players. Not that the players wearing the uniform won’t be wowed by stepping onto that field Saturday. They know the history of Notre Dame, but because of a certain game that happened 36-plus years ago, the fans will likely make this out to be more than it really is for the season.
It’s a non-conference road game, but it’s against the team Georgia beat for the national championship in January 1981. And for some reason, even though Georgia won, the Bulldogs’ fans seem to despise Notre Dame. So, they’ll really want to win this one.
It’ll just have a little different story line than we expected, with a freshman pushed into action to lead the offense. Fromm doesn’t seem phased by much, but let’s not put this all on him. Georgia will need everyone to play well, not just Fromm, to win this Saturday. It’ll just be quite the story if the freshman from Houston County can lead the Bulldogs to a victory.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.