UGA Football

Georgia ready to call on Fromm’s arm if needed

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm throws a pass against Florida.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm throws a pass against Florida. AP

Not too often does a team have the kind of success Georgia has enjoyed with a true freshman quarterback.

In fact, only once in NCAA history has a true freshman quarterback won the national championship. That came in 1985, when Jamelle Holieway led Oklahoma to a title with a win over Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

Last season, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts almost became the second. But his team fell in a thriller to Clemson in the title game.

There is still plenty of time before Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm enters that sort of conversation. But it is of note that Fromm has been the quarterback for a program that is off to an 8-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in the College Football Playoff poll.

Fromm has done everything asked of him well. He has displayed great accuracy throughout the year, evidenced by a 61.7 completion percentage. He has limited mistakes with only four interceptions. But with Georgia’s run game churning out yards at an exceptional clip, Fromm hasn’t had to do too much. Only twice has he attempted more than 15 passes.

It does seem inevitable, however, that Georgia will endure a full four-quarter game over the final stretch of the 2017 season. And if so, Fromm will likely need to make some plays through the air. While Fromm has only attempted 128 passes (which is the 12th most in the SEC) this season, he has the full confidence of his teammates that he will be able to get the job done if he’s needed to.

“I’m very impressed,” running back Nick Chubb said. “He’s a very mature kid and he’s handled every situation very well. He (prepares) like he’s a vet and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Fromm attempted 29 passes against Notre Dame and 26 against Missouri. The Missouri game was the best example of a team doing what it could to take away Georgia’s strong rushing attack, which is averaging 284 yards on the ground per game. The Tigers sold out against the run, which forced offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to turn his play-calling to Fromm.

Fromm went to work and completed 18 of 26 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

“We have a lot of confidence in Jake,” receiver Terry Godwin said. “We know he’s going to make the right checks, make the right reads and put us in the right position to make the right play.”

It’s plausible South Carolina’s run defense, which ranks 40th nationally at 137.6 yards per game, loads the box to take away Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift. If so, Fromm could find single coverage with his receivers.

And in that scenario, South Carolina’s secondary, which just allowed Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur to throw for 333 yards and four touchdowns, will then be tasked with stopping Fromm and Georgia’s receivers with its 92nd-ranked pass defense (244.9 yards per game).

Head coach Kirby Smart knows the Bulldogs will need to execute its passing attack at some point over the next month.

“Ultimately, you are going to run up on somebody that is stout enough that you can’t block them,” Smart said. “That could come any week and we have to be able to throw the ball. You have to be able to throw the ball with accuracy and high-percentage throws.”