UGA Football

Ideally, Smart would like to know starting QB before UNC game

Kirby Smart details the difficulty of starting a freshman quarterback

Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks about how difficult it would be to start a freshman quarterback, who would be Jacob Eason, in the SEC.
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Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks about how difficult it would be to start a freshman quarterback, who would be Jacob Eason, in the SEC.

Kirby Smart would love to know who he’ll start at quarterback when the week of the season opener against North Carolina rolls around.

Given the situation Georgia is in, too many variables exist for Smart to know for certain if his coaching staff will be able to make that determination by the end of August. With Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey rotating at first-team quarterback throughout the spring, and with Jacob Eason impressing in both practice and at the G-Day spring game, the Bulldogs are in line for even reps when the team reconvenes.

“It’ll be so much mix-and-match that I think everybody’s going to be equitable through at least the first scrimmage and then try to make some decisions after that,” Smart said. “We’re trying to get those reps at around 33 percent for each guy and get as much balance as we can.”

This is certainly a familiar situation for both Lambert and Ramsey, who were in a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job a year ago. Lambert eventually won it, with former head coach Mark Richt announcing the decision the Monday before the 2015 regular season started.

While Lambert started 12 of Georgia’s 13 games a season ago, he’s not expected to hold a lead entering preseason practice. While Lambert did start each spring practice with the first team, as well as at G-Day, it appears the quarterbacks will have the reps split up as evenly as possible.

But if one player stands out more than another, the initial plan can change. Smart said he doesn’t want to be locked into one specific routine.

“That can change after one day. That can change before day one,” Smart said. “We’re not putting anything in stone so there’s no set or exact number of reps each guy gets. It’s going to be about how each guy is progressing, what they need, what the receivers need, where the quarterbacks need to rotate to. It’s not something that’s going to determine the outcome. That’s going to be determined by how they perform in a scrimmage-like situation.”

Smart said he got good reports on all three quarterbacks during the summer, when the players organized most of the on-field workouts without the presence of the coaching staff. Being able to see them in practice next week will be a good gauge in their offseason development, Smart noted.

“We’re going to be able to go out there now and work with them as far as the actual on-the-field workouts,” Smart said. “Hopefully, they’re establishing more mobility by stamina, quickness — all three of them can work on that. We’ve challenged all three of them to be more mobile. That’s the only thing we can tell right now.”

A lot can happen from now through the next few weeks, which will once again make this quarterback competition an interesting one to watch. Lambert will hope to stay the starter, while Ramsey and Eason look to unseat him.

“Obviously, when we get to the week of the first game, we would like to know who that is and we would like the reps to be balanced that way,” Smart said. “But to say that is unjust because I don’t know what’s going to happen until then.”