Bulldogs Beat

Georgia’s quarterback race still wide open

ATHENS -- An abnormally large crowd of media formed around the Georgia locker room after the Bulldogs’ spring game Saturday.

Each media member had turned in their interview requests, and most included three names: Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park. But as the players exited their confines, three black jerseys stood out in the mob of red and white uniforms.

Reporters looked at each other with confusion, and one even tried to stop Bauta because he thought the quarterback had made a mistake by leaving. There was no explanation from the Bulldogs or their communications staff about the players not participating, but instead, their teammates were peppered with questions about the competition.

The consensus?

“Man, that thing is as tight as ever,” Jordan Jenkins said. “That might be the closest battle between all other positions.”

It was a tight competition heading into Saturday’s G-Day game, and it left the same way. None of the quarterbacks really did anything to separate themselves from the pack, and the battle will continue into the summer and fall.

There were some good plays and there were some bad plays, but nobody went out and wowed any spectators.

“(I don’t question) their capabilities,” Richt said. “It’s just, ‘Has anybody mastered their craft yet?’ No. But that’s not expected right now, really.”

From the stat sheet, one might think that Bauta had the best day. The junior finished 16-for-25 with 171 yards and a touchdown, showing some nice touch on a couple of balls to the outside.

Most of Bauta’s completions were to check-down receivers, but his longest completion was a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Davis. Bauta started the game with the second-team offense, but he split time with Ramsey at No. 1 as the game went on.

Ramsey ended the day going 5-for-9 for 174 yards and touchdown, and he showcased his big arm on a 72-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie.

His numbers might not be as impressive as Bauta’s, but the potential to stretch the field under Ramsey is evident.

“I think he has done a very good job of studying what to do,” Richt said of Ramsey. “Getting us in the right protections, the right hot and side adjustment situations. He has been very accurate in the spring football practices up to this point.”

Park, like Ramsey, is noted for his strong arm and completed 10-of-15 passes for 92 yards and an interception. After sitting out the first quarter, Park came in and completed his first five passes, but he overthrew tight end Jackson Harris on his sixth pass, which ended up as an interception.

The redshirt freshman did not see any time with the first-team offense, and it seems as if the battle is between Ramsey and Bauta, but Richt assured the media it’s a three-man race.

“You can see his ability,” Richt said about Park. “I think this summer is going to be crucial and important with him. But the more he gets comfortable with the system, the better he will compete. I think it’s still a race.”

Richt said that the last time he had to deal with a quarterback battle was in his first season, when David Greene and Cory Phillips were in competition with each other. Both played series in the first game, but Greene eventually beat out Phillips.

The head coach said that he hopes to name a starter before the first game, but he doesn’t think it will come earlier than the fall.

As for who it will be? Everybody is still guessing.

“You saw it (Saturday). It’s not far apart,” Malcolm Mitchell said. “It’s all about preference. That’s for the coaches to decide.”