ATHENS -- Brian Schottenheimer is taking a patient approach when it comes to selecting Georgia’s starting quarterback.
With three quarterbacks vying for one spot, it’s not a decision Schottenheimer and head coach Mark Richt are making lightly. A lot of evaluation has gone into the process of determining whether Brice Ramsey, Greyson Lambert or Faton Bauta will receive the nod.
But two weeks in, it doesn’t appear the Bulldogs are any further along than they were when preseason practice opened.
“We figured it would probably take some time,” Schottenheimer said. “We think it’s going to take some time. The hope was a little earlier. We’ll make the decision when we feel good about a decision. Again, I think we’re still a little ways away. Those guys know every opportunity, every snap is important.”
Schottnheimer spent his previous nine years as an NFL offensive coordinator -- six with the New York Jets and three with the St. Louis Rams. During his time with the Rams, Schottenheimer ran into some injury issues at quarterback, specifically with former first-overall pick Sam Bradford dealing with a torn ACL in the same knee in consecutive years.
In one game with the Rams, Schottenheimer recalled, he was forced to go through three quarterbacks. He endured situations when he was forced to be patient in a league that often doesn’t allow time for patience.
Schottenheimer’s approach has gone over well with the quarterbacks since he was hired to replace Mike Bobo, who became Colorado State’s head coach this past offseason.
“I feel like Schotty has trust in all of us competing for the job,” Ramsey said. “It was a fairly quick transition. He gets along well with all of us. He’s a players’ coach. He really just makes us feel comfortable out there. He doesn’t put us in bad situations. He makes it easier on all of us.”
But Georgia’s season-opener against Louisiana-Monroe is only 19 days away, and three quarterbacks are still splitting first-team reps. That could be concerning since the first-team offense isn’t receiving the maximum amount of practice plays with a quarterback who will be on the field for the majority of the upcoming season.
Georgia will hold its second scrimmage Saturday, which should give Schottenheimer a better look at how each quarterback has progressed.
“It’s going to be important. It’s part of the measuring tool,” Schottenheimer said. “So are the practices (Tuesday) and moving forward. We’re not going to make this decision based off of one scrimmage, one practice. It’s going to be a total comprehensive picture of these guys since we’ve had them.”
One thing Schottenheimer isn’t looking for in a quarterback is a game manager. Hating that particular term, Schottenheimer said the chosen quarterback will be asked to throw the ball down the field when it’s necessary.
The starting quarterback also will have room to grow into the position. Mistakes, especially early in the season, will happen, and Schottenheimer won’t lose faith in the player Georgia picks the instant something goes awry.
“You gotta let those guys play,” Schottenheimer said. “You have to let them know you believe in them, trust them.”
Georgia’s running game should help the starting quarterback, but Schottenheimer acknowledged the need to have someone who can make plays through the air when a game gets tight down the stretch. While Nick Chubb returns to the team after running for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns, he won’t be able to do everything on offense.
It seems Schottenheimer has an idea of what he wants in a quarterback. It’s just a matter of how close Ramsey, Lambert and Bauta can get to fit that mold.
“All three guys are flashing at times,” Schottenheimer said. “We’ll make a decision when we feel it’s the right time to make a decision, whether it’s before the first game or whenever it is. When we’re ready, we’ll make that decision. What we’re trying to emphasize to these guys is to make the most of your opportunity. All are getting equal reps.”
As for a timetable?
“It’s certainly long from over,” Schottenheimer said.