ATHENS, Ga.—If you believe what you read on the Internet, certain so-called “people in the know” have already figured out Georgia’s “quarterback thing,” as head coach Mark Richt has described it. By observing fall camp, it has been said that it’s “clear,” as one beat writer determined, who will be the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.
As for this beat writer, while observing juniors Greyson Lambert and Faton Bauta, sophomore Brice Ramsey, and freshmen Sam Vaughn and Nick Robinson, taking snaps under center during the summer, although I can definitely distinguish two, maybe three of the five quarterbacks who will not be Georgia’s starter, as far as who will be, I have absolutely no idea.
Richt appears maybe as uncertain as I am, which indicates to me that no one is “clear” on who’ll be the Bulldogs’ starting signal caller—at least, not at this very moment.
“Walking away from practice, I feel like I know less about what to do than going in,” the head coach said following today’s scrimmage regarding the quarterback competition. “Who knows how it’s going to end?”
For the third time in less than two weeks, Richt mentioned today there’s “a chance” more than one quarterback will be taking reps to start the season, although he would rather not have any sort of dual-system in place.
The only other time Richt has been in a similar situation at Georgia was entering his first season in 2001, when David Greene and Cory Phillips were competing for the starting quarterback position. In the season opener against Arkansas State, both quarterbacks played significantly, each passing for over 100 yards, but Greene was exceptional, solidifying his place as the starter. Phillips played sparingly the rest of the season, and hardly the following year.
For the next three seasons from 2002 to 2004, Richt utilized both Greene and dual-threat D.J. Shockley by making an effort to play the No. 2 quarterback for at least one, sometimes as many as four series per game. However, in time, Richt has questioned this type of strategy in alternating quarterbacks.
“Does [alternating quarterbacks] ruin the rhythm of the starter; does it ruin the rhythm of the game?” Richt asked aloud when discussing two quarterbacks taking reps. “I have found in this league, it’s a different world—one series can be the difference in winning or losing a game, and one game can be the difference between winning and losing the Eastern Division title. So, I just haven’t [rotated quarterbacks] as much as when I first got here.”
Whoever wins Georgia’s starting job, there’s a good chance he likely will have done so via an on-field competition during game one against Louisiana-Monroe, perhaps spilling over into the second game at Vanderbilt, but probably no further. And, you can also assume, once the starting signal caller is established, he won’t be splitting time, or alternating, with anyone else.