Is Kirby Smart protesting too much about Jacob Eason?

I realize it’s got to be hard handling the number of times he’s been grilled about Eason’s starting chances, but it seems like Smart spends more time talking about what his talented freshman brings to the table than he does about Eason’s upperclassmen rivals.

On “Russillo & Kanell,” Smart was asked by former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell how special Eason has to be to start week one against North Carolina.

“Well, he’s got to give us the best opportunity to win the game,” Smart said. “I just know he’s got a talented arm and he’s got to be smart enough and be a good decision-maker to play within the system and not think that it’s all on him in order to be that guy. Greyson has proven that he can play within the system and be disciplined, the system that he was in. Brice has got to prove that as well. All three will get that opportunity in fall camp. Jacob does a special arm talent, but Jacob has not been anointed or appointed that job.”

Of far more interest to me is Smart’s statement that he intends to follow a timetable in setting up the depth chart at the quarterback position.

Georgia will hold two scrimmages this preseason and Kirby Smart would like to narrow down the quarterback race after the second to name his No. 1 guy.

“Obviously, that’s guessing right now,” Smart said about the timetable Monday on ESPN’s “First Take.”

Sure, it may not work out if none of the three steps up, but I like what the coaches are trying to do here.  I’m not a big fan of spreading the reps out until the last minute in August, especially with yet another offensive system being installed.  Getting to an established pecking order with more time to spare before the opener will allow Chaney to manage the reps better.  As a bonus, it should help the three quarterback candidates maintain focus from the get-go.  Early on especially, this offense is going to need all the help it can get.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Is Kirby Smart protesting too much about Jacob Eason?

  1. When Eason starts is a big question, but the questions that will determine how this season goes are:

    1) When will Nick and/or Sony be fully healthy and ready to take 80%+ of the snaps at tailback?
    2) How much quality defensive line depth has Rocker had time to develop this summer?
    3) How much of a difference has Pittman made with the offensive line that underachieved with Sale?
    4) Can Zo Carter and Davin Bellamy replace the production of Jenkins and Floyd to create pressure from the edge?
    5) Have Kirby and his staff had enough time to create a team that will GATA for 60 minutes consistently?

    IMHO, if the answers to these questions are positive, we can win with a game manager at QB the way Alabama has. If not, it could be a long season of “Wait ’til next year.”

    • Macallanlover

      Good list, all of that is a part of the puzzle in making the QB decision. As for the QB portion of the equation, I agree with the Senator, make that call in time to give the starter enough reps over a week before the UNC game. Also concur with Ugly’s comments below, I wouldn’t dismiss Ramsey as the best option for the starting role. Probably shouldn’t rely too much on the Spring game but he seemed more comfortable under Cheney than he was under Schotty. We know he has a gun, and he has more time on campus as a QB than any of the other candidates.

      I don’t care which of the three the staff selects but Ramsey might be my fo be the “transition guy” over Lambert when the whistle blows on September 3rd. If he can hold onto the starting spot, at least through the first half of the season, it would mean we are playing pretty well. I am in no hurry to rush Eason into that role unless absolutely necessary because he can cross all the ts. If we are eliminated from Atlanta, then moving Eason up makes more sense, until then I am OK with getting him some game reps to grow from for next year.

  2. Uglydawg

    Of the three, Ramsey is the least most of us consider, but he may be the best situated to start the season. If he has made progress and is really working hard, he may have a shot. He certainly has the physical skills. Like a lot of great athletes, he may have always had so much skill and prowess that he never really had to work that hard to excel…and didn’t really grasp that college football would really require a lot, lot , lot of work. If CKS has or does (and it’s later than you think, BR) find a way to light a fire under him, he may be the best transition option until Eason is honed.

    • Otto

      Agreed on Ramsey, I just don’t see Lambert being a good starter. Ramsey seems to be more getting him in a position to break down the college game.

    • AceDawg

      Agreed. I think Lambert has legit arm strength even if Ramsey and Eason have better, but if his timid play was because of himself and not Schotty/Richt, then the race should instead fall to Ramsey vs. Eason. The Dawgs need to end the sub-200 passing game situation of the last two years. 250 yards passing, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs is in my opinion better than 150 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs for the UGA offense to thrive against good opponents.

  3. sUGArdaddy

    I’ll be shocked if Eason isn’t starting in Game 1. And i’ll be absolutely floored if he isn’t starting by week 3 at Mizzou. We’ve got the kid for 3 years. Coaches know that. Let’s ride the train as long as we can as long as it’s not a clear train wreck from the get go.

    Something tells me he’s got a little less gunslinger in him than Stafford, which is a good thing for a freshman. If Stafford had cut down on INTs, we had a chance to have a really good season in 2006.

  4. The other Doug

    Kirby prepared for and shut down Lambert last year, so he has to know what his issues are and if they are fixable. My guess is they are not fixable because it’s the same stuff he did at Virginia.

    As for Eason, does he need to be able to take snaps under center or can Chaney make that work? For the old coaching staff it would be a requirement, but I’m not so sure for Chaney.

  5. DawgPhan

    I agree about splitting the reps. I think that was one of the big mistakes from last season.

    If Kirby can start narrowing it down and getting the reps to the right guy then all the better.

    Splitting reps 3 ways heading into the season and even worse past game one be a bad sign that things are not going to go well.

  6. paul

    Kirby is quoted as saying “Greyson has proven that he can play within the system and be disciplined” while “Brice has got to prove that.” Smart has said over and over he will start the guy who gives us the best chance to win. Fourth year in Athens and Ramsey still hasn’t shown that he can play within the system and be disciplined means it’s Lambert until Eason is ready. Whenever that is. Hopefully, soon.

  7. Got Cowdog

    A highly recruited stud QB is the equivalent of the Senator’s new ride. We waited a long time to get one, and I don’t see any reason to leave ’em under the shed.

  8. Gravidy

    To me, the only reason not to start Eason is if he is clearly behind the others. If the coaches watch two scrimmages and still can’t decide, that would be reason enough to go with the kid with the largest upside in my book.

  9. Reinmart

    I think Smart talks about Eason so much because that’s the only QB he ever gets asked about. As Bobo alluded to, much of the fan base has anointed Eason as the savior and Smart is clearly trying to combat that for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Eason is an 18 yo true Freshman.