Clues to the new: reading the first day of practice tea leaves

I am not going to insult your intelligence by telling you that there were any definitive answers yesterday to the quarterback competition.  That would be like G-Day trolling on steroids.

However, I will tell you that Seth Emerson had one observation from yesterday that indicates where the coaches would like things to go:

When Brice Ramsey sets his feet and releases a pass down the middle of the field, he unleashes by far the best looking ball.

I honestly think the job is Ramsey’s to lose.  But I mean that literally.  If he can’t give the coaches want they want to see from him over the next month, they’ll go with whomever they perceive to be the most competent game manager of the three.

And when I say “what they want to see”, believe it or not, I think that’s consistent mechanics first and foremost.  I suspect they can live with a few turnovers as the price to pay for a quarterback who can challenge secondaries deep.  But if Ramsey can’t get a handle on his footwork, he won’t mount enough of a threat to make it worth putting up with the downside of a more aggressive passing game.

Really, this reminds me so much of Aaron Murray’s beginnings… and it took Murray a while to get his mechanics in order.  Ramsey’s problem is that, unlike Murray’s first couple of seasons, his coaches have the luxury of a dominant rushing game to fall back on, can afford to look at a safer, less aggressive option at quarterback and not play him through a learning curve.

Sure is gonna make for an interesting August.  And maybe even opening game.

55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

55 responses to “Clues to the new: reading the first day of practice tea leaves

  1. Lrgk9

    Richt subscribes to the old coaching maxim that “it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football” – you turn the ball over, you ride the bench.

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    • Really? How did that work out for Joe Cox?

      Stafford threw INTs and started. So did Murray.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Or Nick Chubb, or Sony Michel?

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      • Senator, I believe if Murray had been fully healthy as a true freshman, he would have challenged Cox for the job. If I remember correctly, he had some arm problems as a freshman.

        The difference between Cox and Stafford/Murray was that Cox was a 5th year senior, and there was really no one behind him ready to challenge for the job.

        Regarding interceptions, I think the ones that drive CMR crazy are the ones like Stafford threw off the goal line that turned into pick 6s, the Coxian type of plays of what the hell was he thinking, or the Murray picks where he would stare down the pre-snap read. The interceptions where a guy makes a play or on a deep ball that is essentially the equivalent of a punt are worth the risk if the QB makes the proper throw.

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        • And that’s the point. I don’t think Richt is as wedded to the idea of turnover avoidance as he is to having a legitimate deep passing threat. After all, the bread and butter play in Georgia’s offense is play action.

          Last year was the anomaly. Which is not to say that Richt won’t repeat the experience in 2015 if he thinks that’s his only viable option.

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          • I think you’re spot on, Senator. Murray and Stafford were both mad bombers because they were more than happy to throw it over your head if you peeked into the backfield as a safety. Greene threw a beautiful deep ball even with not great arm strength. Shockley made some deep throws (I think of the one against FSU in the Sugar Bowl) that were just jaw dropping. Mason never seemed to trust the deep throw unless it was wide open like the throw to Conley in the bowl game.

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            • SRQDawgs15

              Mason never seemed to trust any throw unless it was wide open. As bad as he looked under pressure (the awful I.G. penalties) he was worse when he had time and his 1st option wasn’t wide open. Can’t think of any specific examples but I remember yelling these things at the TV very clearly last year so it must be true. And, for the record, I’m no Hutson hater, he was fine for UGA just not a game changer at QB.

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      • Otto

        Stafford didn’t just throw INTs, he threw double digit INTs every season. CMR gets a man crush on that arm and release.

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  2. 30 more days gentlemen…30 days.

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  3. JRod1229

    If thats the case I think we have to go with Brice. The upsides for this year and next (allowing Eason to not have to start day one) are immeasurable. While it’s easy to rest on the idea of playing ball control and letting our running game win for us, the combination of both would be potentially deadly.

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    • Macallanlover

      I take the opposite approach. If Ramsey isn’t the most accurate, it doesn’t matter about the bomb. We need short and medium depth accuracy to click with this offense. Most long passing plays are moderate depth throws anyway, and all of these guys can throw it fifty+. If a receiver gets separation on a deep route, all of these guys can hit it. The only edge I see with Ramsey is a Hail Mary effort, and long, across the field throws that only a Stafford type QB can make. To me, that isn’t enough of an advantage to choose Ramsey….give me the accuracy on passes up to thirty-five yards downfield. I do think we have enough speed at WR and slot to keep defenses honest.

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      • AthensHomerDawg

        Yep. We aren’t giving enough consideration to YAC.

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      • JRod1229

        The bread and butter of Murray was the backsholder hitch throw. If you don’t have arm strength you limit yourself to the half of the field your hash is on, basically allowing the defenses to pack it in and prevent the slot receiver from even mattering.

        Arm strength isn’t just the deep ball, actually it rarely is, it’s the ability to hit those underneath and come back routes right out of the break. I think we both agree on this point, I just point out that Mason didn’t have that ability and if Lambert or Bauta don’t either then we have to go with the gunslinger.

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        • Cojones

          Agreed. And Mac has a point about letting the WRs keep them honest.

          Considering that practice is like the Spring Game whereas you can’t put much emphasis on QB separation just by performance in one entity, and speaking only of Brice and Faton, you both have hit upon the description of Bauta’s performance yesterday and the long throws didn’t matter because most were off-target or high, especially by Brice.

          It bothers me some that we are through a summer that had high QB practice and that Brice continues to be inconsistent. I say that because the description of his talents are always high by the coaches and yet, he seems to continue the inconsistencies. If these QBs have been throwing competitively as the summer hype indicated, I just expected better from Brice. Does anyone else think he has the heebie-jeebies?

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      • frankly

        I think you’re mistaken. Yes they call all throw the ball up thirty yards but can they do with accuracy and velocity. It doesn’t take much to be accurate on passes of 15 yards or less(Bauta’s bread and butter). Ramsey is the most physically talented guy period and its not close. He would have to make negative progress from last season to not be the starter.

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  4. C

    How can anyone use an “if” scenario as to why some one should start? Apply that anywhere and life would be a peach! Ramsey has no game experience. That little bit last year is an observation of the fact that he played 4-5 quarters if you add them up. But that is not what I would call game experience in the sense of he gets a “check mark” in the experience category. Lastly how can we expect the “mechanics” to be fixed over the next month when they haven’t been fixed over the last two seasons? What is new? What black magic has been found? The kid is a loose cannon with the ball. I don’t know him so this is not a character or personal attack

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    • If you don’t know him, then you don’t know what kind of offense he ran in high school. He’s basically had to rework his entire skill set since arriving in Athens. That’s the reason you can hope his mechanics are a work in progress.

      It’s not black magic. It’s coaching and being a willing study. We’ll find out soon if that’s working.

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    • Ramsey has no game experience? He played in multiple games last year and not just in mop-up duty. Everyone just remembers the first ball he threw in the bowl game. I’m convinced Lilly didn’t know Ramsey was going into the game for Mason when he made the call to take a deep shot right after we stopped the fake punt. He underthrows Mitchell(?) and the DB makes the play. I think it may have even been a one-man route.

      I don’t know if he has what it takes to be possibly the most recognized 20-something in the state of Georgia as the UGA starting quarterback, but he looks to be the most physically gifted of the three.

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  5. John elway, Brett Favre, Dan Marino each had an int. rate of 3% or higher. Hutson mason’s was 1.6%. Think about why the first three are nfl HOF’s and why the other is out of football. Once you’ve sorted this through your noodle (see what I did there?) you’ll see why our host is correct. The deep ball threat is worth some manageable risk because, unlike comp. % or a really low int. rate, it is the key to winning football.

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    • do you want a QB who goes on to be successful in the NFL bc he has arm strength, or do you want a QB who’s skill sets are used best by their coaches in college to get the job done (win championships) ? I mean, Stafford was nice and all but Tebow brought home a few championships. And the latter is “out of football”…

      I just don’t think the argument is as black and white as you present it – deep ball or bust. Nor do i understand why you’re talking about College QBs vs. NFL QBs.

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      • If you think Faton=Tebow then by all means play him. Not sure that he is. There is no question but that you can find superior athletes/competitors who don’t have traditional nfl skills who can win big at the college level: Charlie ward, Vince young, Tebow, cam newton, I could go on. If you have that sort of player then you may well go with him over a more traditional pocket passer in our offense. However, if you are choosing between a pocket passer with a cannon and someone whose athletic gifts are not of the “holy shit, did you see that!?!” varietal, then I say go with the cannon.

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        • I agree with that list, and there are several others that fit that mold. I would say hindsight is 20/20 though – how many of those types of QBs, before they played, did you know fit the “holy shit” category?

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          • Well presumably we pay coaches millions of dollars to sort that out don’t we? I mean I’d hate to think that Vince young v.2 rode the pine while mason played, but I suppose anything is possible. Put me down as trusting that the coaches haven’t observed that sort of ability in mr. Bauta to date.

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      • C

        Looks?
        Not a beauty contest sir. And yes, he has to check the “no box” when it comes time to be judged on or credited with past experience.

        Ran Winged T from Kingsland….FYI

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      • Will (The Other One)

        I hate to bring it up, but if you’re talking big college games, how’d Marino’s Pitt team do against one of the best UGA teams ever?

        And Urban’s UF offenses were largely scary because of Harvin, not Tebow (look at the massive decline in scoring Tebow’s senior year, when Percy was gone.)

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  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    No matter who winds up taking snaps in the first couple of games, I have a decent confidence level the offense will move the ball.

    All this ink spillage about the quarterbacks is fun, but the season rests on the quality of the defense and its ability to stop the run when the game is on the line…which is most of the time.

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  7. offense wins games, defense wins championships.
    I think I read that somewhere.

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  8. kckd

    Murray definitely was better his last two years than his first two. But I’d say he was about as ready as any RS freshman or sophomore could be. I’ll be extremely happy if any of these three could put up numbers similar to Murray’s first two years. Extremely. I’m not expecting that in the least.

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  9. Gravidy

    “Choates was reamed out by Jeremy Pruitt at one point. That’s actually somewhat of a hopeful sign for the lightly-recruited Choates, who received a late scholarship offer from Georgia. If Pruitt didn’t think Choates had a chance, he wouldn’t care enough to yell at him.”

    It’s these kinds of lines that make me roll my eyes. I don’t know whether to criticize the beat writers for acting like they know more than they do or if I should just be thankful that I don’t have to do that job. But even if you acknowledge the fact that Emerson often has to write stories with few facts to go on, I still have a hard time reading that he has decided that there would be a real possibility that Pruitt has already decided on the first effin’ day of practice that Choates doesn’t have a chance.

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  10. Dave

    There’s no sense trying to pigeonhole players or coaches as far as what they will/won’t do. If you must, then rest assured, Richt will not go with the guy who he thinks will turn it over the least. Nor will he give it to the guy who can stretch the field or open up the playbook the most. He’ll give it to the guy who he feels will give us the best chance to win. Let’s not forget that, regardless of why, we had, by far, the most prolific offense we’ve ever seen at Georgia last year w/ Hutson Mason at the helm. That’s not to say he necessarily deserves more or less credit, but he was obviously one of the 11 guys on the field for 95% of plays from scrimmage.

    The same will hold true this year. If Bauta gets the job, it will not be because he protects the ball the best. If Ramsey gets it, it won’t be because he throws the best intermediate and deep ball. If Lambert gets it, it won’t be because he has the most experience.

    There are just WAY too many things that can affect an offense’s…well…effectiveness.

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    • That’s too cute an answer, I’m afraid.

      Yes, a coach is always going to play the kid who gives him the best chance to win. But there are going to be underlying reasons why that particular kid does so.

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      • Dave

        Cliches stem from truths in most cases. The reason it’s apropos is because you’ve got so many people saying, “Whoever protects the ball the best will be the starter.” Well, that’s not necessarily true. I could go out there and not turn the ball over one single time. Problem is, we won’t move the ball, either.

        Further, when you talk about getting into the right plays, throwing an incomplete pass instead of taking a sack, etc. so on, and so forth, that’s what I mean when I say there’s just too much that goes into it.

        You’ve just got to weigh out all the positives and negatives for each and every one. If the crystal ball says one guy will throw 8 Int’s, and another will throw 12 in an equal number of pass attempts, does that automatically mean you go with the 8 Int guy? The answer is far from obvious, as you know.

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        • It still boils down to having a set of priorities and choosing the option that best fits. Which means those priorities matter.

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          • Dave

            Fair enough. I think the top priority is decision-making on the whole. Who has the best grasp of offensive concepts, who gets us in the right plays, who goes to the proper place with the ball (or eats it) even when things break down. I think the notion of being able to stretch the field and give you a few more options in your playbook is further down on the list, which is not what the average fan wants to accept. This is even more true if you expect our defense to be elite (don’t create easy scoring opportunities for the opposition).

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          • Senator nails it here.
            Dave makes a good point about each of the 3 QBs ‘perceived strengths’ (probably in a hypothetical fashion) – but we have no idea how Richt prioritizes those things. And all we’re doing on the message boards is either assuming how he does or spouting off how we think he should.

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      • AusDawg85

        I think Dave is just identifying the L word….Leadership. If one clearly breaks through in that category he’s the starter and his particular skill set will be emphasized.

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      • Olddawg 55

        If you’ve ever had to look at sixty to eighty players at any level and rate them, store that info in your head, and try to merge all those talents to form a cohesive, effective unit, then you have an inkling of what Mark Richt goes thru on a miniscule basis. He is constantly relying on some nine coaches for input, weighing their input with his personal judgement, and hopefully, making the right final decisions. Most of you just wing it based on the writing of beat writers or bloggers who are very selective in their subject matter. Sit back, relax and trust the judgment of those who get paid to make the (hopefully) right calls. GATA!!!

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  11. Uglydawg

    I can see CMR using two QB’s…As he did with Greene and Shockely with two differing primary skills. At least for a game or two. This gives you more flexability, and gives two guys experience in the event of an injury. And if their skill sets overlap enough, that becomes a strength…for instance, put Bauta in when the situation calls for a qb who can run..and then have him throw it deep. Or have BR take off and run it.
    This two QB thing isn’t really a problem…it’s an opportunity and a good situation to be in.
    While neither CMR or Schotty have called me yet to get my input, I’m standing by my phone.

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  12. Otter

    AM had a ton more passing experience in high school than Brice.

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  13. My gut says that it will be Ramsey because of the reasons you mentioned, however from what little I’ve read, Faton had the most accurate day yesterday–and in general (BUT there were not many deep balls thrown) There is a contingent in the media that points this out, and you also see the coaches talk ball security as top priority. So what you are saying is that the deep threat plays a bigger factor than the coaches let on? Or perhaps Ramsey’s potential is higher and that is a big factor as well?

    This will be an interesting competition. Oh and Pollock was running his mouth a little much, no way Lambert gets a sniff at the starter role this year. From all accounts, dude was drowning out there yesterday.

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  14. PansyTheDawg

    The grapevine told me that Ramsey spends too much time downtown instead of working on his footwork. I mean, I haven’t been told that he doesn’t work on his footwork, but a mutual friend told me that he is often downtown until the bars close, which worries me. That’s why I hope Bauta is able to win the job.

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    • JRod1229

      All of our QBs (maybe with the exception of Mason) LOVED the bars, and its true for most of the players as well, regardless of position. These guys have lives outside of football. I know that kills a lot of sidewalk fans, but it is just the facts of life and the amazing college experience UGA offers.

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      • Cojones

        Your point was well-made by Staff and Joe at Talladega (?) with the beer barrel. Other photos taken at parties show that wasn’t a one-time experience.

        It’s fitting for a quote that’s attributed by some to Lincoln concerning Grant that we all have heard, “Find out what he’s drinking and send a bottle to all my Generals.”. If Brice just sticks to beer and lets the magic hand from the crowd (the one that took on Gurley’s short work) take care of the rowdies looking for a rep, then we should be fine with his carousing

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        • JRod1229

          Or the pic of Aaron at spring break.. he’s a good guy, but like everyone else he liked to party.

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          • PansyTheDawg

            I’m aware of all the great experiences that my university has to offer, but a guy can worry about a QB who can’t cement himself as starter and is downtown until 3am more often than not.
            Remember the Liberty Bowl loss to UCF? The night before, a friend of mine bought players shots in downtown Memphis. Green and others were wasted, and the next day our football team showed it in one of the more frustrating UGA games I’ve seen.

            I’m aware of our players history of partying and drinking, and I’d also like to point out how many SEC championships those players you mentioned have won.

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            • Cojones

              Don’t get your pansies into an uproar about a friend mentioning how often he’s closed down a bar. Would imagine if your friend was there that often or has friends who are there that often that their remarks should be tempered by exaggeration. If that’s the case, I would think that grades would stop him before a hangover will.

              Let the big Dawg eat….and drink.

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        • In my time on campus (late 70’s, early 80’s), plenty of players liked to have a good time. It wasn’t just drinking, either, but can’t say they were doing anything worse/better (depending on how you look at it) than anyone else and were generally fun with a couple of “I’m all that” exceptions. Didn’t seem to hurt ’em too much (see championships, 80-83), though they didn’t have to worry about cameras in everybody’s pockets either. I never did see #34 out and about, though some folks swore they saw him tearing up the floor at one of the local discos.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      David Pollack spent a ton of weekends at Classic City Saloon. I think that worked out OK though.

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  15. Bulldog Joe

    It will be interesting to see if our QB strategy changes when we fall behind, which I believe will happen in each of our first two games. Monroe took A&M to the wire last year and Vanderbilt beat us on the last trip to Nashville.

    I anticipate the better passer will get the first opportunity to perform under these circumstances and our staff will get a measure of both the level of ability and poise.

    I am confident all will be coached well to handle it and the extended QB competition will give them opportunity to experience some of this pressure before the first game.

    For this reason, I will be one fan who will not be too disappointed to see us fall behind in the first two games.

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    • I have no desire to see us fall behind in a single game this season. I hope we go out and blow ULM out, then we go to Nashville to smash the Commodores, and we cruise in every single game up to and including the NC game.

      If we fall behind either of these teams 3-0, the 15%ers will be calling for McGarity and Morehead to go to the field and fire everybody immediately.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      Really?
      Vandy doesn’t have the same coaching staff (or talent) as two years ago, and lucky for us, we don’t have Grantham and a defense that was worse than the ’99 Cool Breeze team to take the trip either.
      TAMU was pulling a redshirt off a freshman QB a week after losing 59-0 to Bama. Check out ULM’s games against other SEC teams last year.

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