Jake Fromm found himself in a favorable position as a passer.
Facing South Carolina Saturday, the Gamecocks repeatedly showed and executed single-high coverage with a cornerback guarding each of Georgia’s outside receivers.
The philosophy was to limit Georgia’s high-powered rushing attack. By trying to take that part of Georgia’s offense away, it became Fromm’s job to recognize what the defense was giving him.
With the run-pass options given to him by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, Fromm took to the air more often than he has in most games. And he did so efficiently.
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Fromm finished Georgia’s 24-10 win over South Carolina 16-of-22 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought he made good decisions with the ball,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “He understands where he wants to go. He understands what defenses are trying to take away. He continues to get better. He’s got to continue to do that.”
Early last week, South Carolina defensive back Chris Lammons commented that Georgia’s run game was more important to stop because, “They can’t pass.”
Fromm isn’t available to speak with reporters, per head coach Kirby Smart’s rules, so it is unknown how he personally felt about the trash talk.
After Saturday’s win, receivers Javon Wims and Mecole Hardman said it is obvious to them that Fromm can throw the ball around. Georgia simply chooses not to air it out when the run game is clicking.
“Jake can definitely throw,” Hardman said. “We know what Jake is capable of doing. We know exactly what he can do. I think everybody knows what he can do. That’s more about opinions. Everybody has their opinions and they’re entitled to them.”
Wims noted that the Bulldogs pass as much as they run throughout the week of practice to prepare for games where Fromm’s arm will be needed.
That happened against South Carolina as Fromm threw over 20 passing attempts in a game for only the third time this season.
One of Fromm’s strong suits has been to identify a defensive coverage and figure out where best the ball should go — whether that is through a run play or taking the option to throw the ball.
As a true freshman quarterback, that is often seen as a rare quality to possess.
“He’s very smart,” Wims said. “I think he’s way ahead of his class.”
With Georgia facing Auburn next week, it is likely Fromm is asked to throw the ball at a similar clip. The Tigers rank 24th nationally in run defense by holding opponents to only 126.4 rushing yards per game.
But Auburn also ranks 20th nationally in pass defense (180.8 yards per game), which will likely force Fromm into some tough decisions.
Smart will look for Fromm to keep up the sound decision making at Auburn next Saturday.
“He missed a couple things (Saturday) that we thought he could have got – motions and different adjustments,” Smart said. “But we put a lot on the kid’s plate and he’s done a good job of managing that.”