Whither the quarterbacks?

In the wake of Saturday’s scrimmage, there is a lot of scuttlebutt out there regarding Georgia’s quarterbacks that I would summarize as follows:

  1. Greyson Lambert has performed as the coaches expected, given his experience.
  2. Brice Ramsey has been the pleasant surprise of the three, and has legitimately inserted himself into the starting quarterback battle.
  3. Jacob Eason has the best arm of the three, but has not performed as well as the other two this month.

None of the three, let me add, has been what you might call a home run to this point, which is why Smart was still holding off on announcing that anyone had emerged sufficiently to deserve a greater share of practice reps after Saturday.

What I’m curious about isn’t who you think ought to start, but rather what you think the current status of the group says about both them as well as Smart and Chaney.  For example, that Eason remains in the pack despite a lesser showing to date might indicate that the coaches would prefer to go his way, all other things being equal, when the season starts.  (What that in turn says about Kirby’s expectations for 2016 is a line of inquiry for another post.)

I doubt Lambert as Mr. What You’d Expect is a surprise to anyone, but I wonder if his status is an indication of faith in Chaney’s ability to coax a competent performance out of previously inconsistent quarterbacks.  Whatever else you want to say about Chaney, he does enjoy a good track record in that regard.

And then there’s Ramsey, who, let’s be honest, was basically written off by a large portion of Dawgnation and the pundit class.  If Chaney has indeed turned him into a functional SEC quarterback who earns the starting gig — and, yes, we’re a long way from knowing that — what are the ramifications for Georgia’s chances this season, for what that says about Schottenheimer’s ability as a position coach and Eason’s future?

Let’s hear your answers and any other thoughts you might have on the subject in the comments.

94 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

94 responses to “Whither the quarterbacks?

  1. MLB2

    I think that the health and consistency of the running game will determine who starts. As long as the East is in play, Eason probably won’t see the field in close games.

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  2. If Ramsey starts and performs well, then I would think that is nothing but good news for Eason. This means his coaches are capable of coaxing a performance out of a kid that others could not. But it may be that Ramsey has just matured another year and has come back focused.

    Remember Schottenheimer was the OC behind a record breaking QB last year. So give him that I guess (even though many would say USCe was just THAT bad and Lambert was in the zone). Schotty found a rhythm and a comfort zone for Lambert, but was never able to adjust his QB once opponents shut down what Lambert was comfortable with. I hope our new OC, with his experience in doing more with less, can break through that barrier, no matter which QB we start. Hope springs eternal I guess.

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    • DawgByte

      What wasn’t reported by Blutarsky is that Ramsey threw 3 INTs in a previous scrimmage, so I wouldn’t characterize Ramsey as having a miraculous turnaround under the new regime.
      My guess is Lambert starts the UNC game and Eason gets a couple of series to see what he can do. However, that’s just a guess… nobody who doesn’t have daily access to the entire practices really knows how these QB’s are really playing, because Kirby is keeping the news close to his vest.

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  3. Timphd

    In my mind the best case is for Ramsey to step up and make the coaches have to start him over Lambert. We saw Lambert last year and seem to know his ceiling (not very high). Ramsey has always been talented, just couldn’t seem to get the confidence of the coaches that he knew the play book, worked hard enough, was a leader, etc. If he has overcome that, then that gives Eason a year to develop, learn to take snaps under center, learn the playbook, etc. I think Eason is the starter by the end of the year or next season at the latest but I like not giving away this season by starting a freshman on day 1. No matter how talented he is he is still a kid who is only 18 or 19 years old and the SEC tends to grind those kids up at QB. With the positives we are hearing about Chubb and with Sony bouncing back either QB will have the advantage of a strong run game but we need a guy that will protect the ball, but who can also get the 3rd and long pass completion. Maybe Ramsey is that guy for now, with Eason on his heels.

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    • Cojones

      Know Lambert’s ceiling? Of course we do and it was demonstrated to be the highest in CFB during the Tn game. Talent diff? Yep, that’s why Lambert started and won 10 games last year and Ramsey sat on the bench. Other than that,they both were 4* QBs out of HS as far as talent; you don’t have any idea of which you speak.

      You guys are hilarious when you mimic Trump.

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      • Lambert’s passer rating against Tennessee was lower than his season average.

        But, hey, Trump and all that…

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        • @gatriguy

          Lol. I was thinking that too. Clearly he meant SCU?

          That being said, Lambert did throw some good passes in the Tennessee game. That was the last time all year that I had any faith in him putting together a drive when it really counted.

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          • Cojones

            I am being consistent here by inserting Tn in place of SC. Catch the Trumpisms or nothing will ever be funny here. Ok. I missed by not typing 11 games to go along with it.

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      • Sanford222view

        I think what he meant was that it is pretty clear Ramsey has better natural arm talent than Lambert thus a higher ceiling.

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    • simpl_matter

      Let’s remember that Lambert transferred in last July, he had less than two months to learn the offense (or whatever you want to call that) and get acquainted with his teammates. I don’t think we have seen his ceiling. He’s no world-beater, but I’m willing to bet Chaney and a year with the team has him looking better than he did last year.

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      • Russ2

        Let’s remember that Lambert pissed his pants in more games than he didn’t last year .

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      • So this year Lambert won’t leave the pocket and throw the ball into the stands when no one was near him? If so the new OC will deserve Assistant coach of the year.

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        • simpl_matter

          Lambert (mostly) pissed his pants because he lost his checkdowns and didn’t know where to go with the football. He came into a system 2 months before the season started, and who can even say how developed that “system” was. Dude threw the ball right to defenders and looked completely shook at times, no shit. I’m not saying he’s capable of putting the team on his shoulders and winning it by himself. But, if he’s Hutson Mason-esqe with a better arm, maybe that’s all we need.

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  4. If Ramsey wins the job, it will be very interesting. Then you have the possibility of Eason sitting 2 years. I wonder how that will sit with him.

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    • dawgtired

      I’m thinking that if Ramsey wins the job, it is because he is JUST better than Lambert…not necessarily good enough to hold off Eason. Once Eason learns the system and gets acclimated to the SEC speed, he will surpass Ramsey…if not this year, next.

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    • … Then you have the possibility of Eason sitting 2 years. I wonder how that will sit with him.

      As well as the quarterbacks they’re hoping to stack up behind Eason…

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    • Doubt he will sit 2 years the HC that does that has moved on to the U.

      Ramsey steps up will be a pleasant surprise and can only help Eason ease into the starting role later in the season or next year.

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      • Sanford222view

        Right, because Richt did that with so many QB’s at UGA. Can you even name one besides Shockley (who sat behind the “winningest” QB in school history and NCAA history until his record was broken)?

        Let’s take one example (Knowshon) and apply it across the board for every position on the team. Never mind he never did that again with a running back either. Richt had faults but people act like he never did anything right.

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  5. Jared S.

    All of this is really making my head hurt.

    To your questions: What does this say about the QB group?
    Well, not surprised by either Lambert of Eason. The fact that Lambert has kept up his competence without any flashes of brilliance is no surprise. Neither is the fact that Eason is struggling to look as put together from a consistency stand-point. The surprise for me is that Ramsey seems to actually be competing for the starting job. But the prospect of our best punter a year ago turning into our savior this year seems like a huge stretch. I think we’re in for a loooooong season.

    Dear God, please let Nick play the whole season, healthy!

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  6. Juan

    It needs to be:

    Eason
    Ramsey
    Lambert

    I just don’t see how we would sacrifice any playmaking ability for a tentative no mistakes approach. Lambert holds on to the ball for a second too long on every throw. The Richt philosophy of don’t lose the game needs to be thrown out the window. Let’s go play aggressive football and BEAT our opponent.

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  7. Russ

    Eason or Ramsey for me. Lambert looks great holding a clipboard. With Ramsey, we can add the quick kick to our playbook.

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  8. Uglydawg

    I’m not sure the current status, as described and displayed by CKS, necessarily says that much. He may already know exactly what he plans to do…or maybe knows 75%….but is of the old school that competition is good for all. Not wanting to dis-spirit any of them, he lets them compete as long as possible, knowing also that one could go into full blossom and set himself apart…or one could wither on the vine. He’s being conservative.
    Yeah, it would be good to name a starter but it I ‘spect he will start Lambert out of respect to his age and graduate status, and shortly thereafter..possibly before halftime against North Carolina, we will see Ramsey. If either or both of them can manage and drive the offense, then Eason will wear a redshirt until one of the is injured or they both falter.
    Then again, I could be FOS.🙂

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Our nightmare of another 3 way QB battle all the way through camp seems to be coming alive. The good news is with Chubb & Michel. Having those 2 RBs back, along with playmakers like Imac and Godwin, will be huge. Also gives our young’uns like Nauta, Ridley, Holyfield, etc. time to acclimate.

    UNC is a big game – in our dome before a national TV audience. Part of me wouldn’t mind using that game and Nicholls as warm-ups/scrimmages for the sec schedule. Taking a loss to UNC would hurt. But if it means we work the bugs out and increase our chances for an sec east title, it may be a strategic good. If it’s a choice between the two (big UNC win or sec title shot), do you go with the vets for a win with UNC? Or go with the newbees and shoot for sec wins later?

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  10. Joel

    For all intents and purposes, it really doesn’t matter who starts at QB because if our OL isn’t protecting, we will take plenty of sacks. We already know how Lambert reacts after he gets hit.

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  11. Cosmic Dawg

    What is most encouraging is with Ramsey’s apparent improvement, Eason doesn’t have to be our true freshman #1 or #2 quarterback.

    I think the news suggests CBS and CMR got most of what was to be gotten from their quarterbacks last year – depending on whether Ramsey’s improvement is (a) marked and (b) due to Chaney’s tutoring or his own maturation.

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    • Cojones

      How can you state “apparent” improvement with Ramsey? Do you get this info from the encouragement-speak of the coaches or do you have access to the practices? Because if you have access to practices and haven’t revealed any QBRs to date, you are in deep do-do here.

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      • Cosmic Dawg

        All I know is what the Senator tells me:

        [scuttlebutt seems to be…]
        Brice Ramsey has been the pleasant surprise of the three, and has legitimately inserted himself into the starting quarterback battle.

        You sure are argumentative today.

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  12. Gotta believe CKS is much further along in deciding the pecking order than he says he is. I think he’s trying to keep the confidence level up for all three, which is probably quite a juggling act.

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    • Cojones

      You bet. He isn’t interested in a game of Holes. He just wants to keep it together until after the first game to just get Georgia through, unlike an iconic figure trying to retake Pennsylvania and who is losing Ga rapidly.

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  13. Skeptic Dawg

    I believe that after game planning and playing vs Lambert last season Smart knows what he has and does not have in Lambert as a QB. As far as the current status, I am surprised to see our starting punter still in the race. Has the lightbulb finally come on or he he being used as a “camp arm” and motivation tool by the coaches? As far as Smart and Chaney are concerned, I have to assume that the OL looks very strong for Eason to still be in the running given his lack of experience (none). However, least we forget that all 3 QB’s are learning a new system. From that standpoint all 3 enter on equal footing from day one. With a strong OL, a heathy Chubb (here I have to admit that I was 100% wrong and did not see this coming), and a somewhat healthy Sony the QB that makes the most sense would be Eason.

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    • Cojones

      When it comes to learning new systems, I think Lambert has already proven to learn new systems much better than other QBs. He also knows the tendency of the O players and can correct mistakes before they make them.

      I’m only repeating the obvious to correct some thinking, not trying to say who our permanent QB will be this year.

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      • Skeptic Dawg

        You are spot on about Lambert’s ability to pick up a new offense. I would certainly not knock the kids smarts considering that he graduated early from a great academic institution. However, that does not take away from the fact that all 3 enter the battle on the same footing…none of the 3 having any prior knowledge Chaney’s system.

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  14. Greg

    My guess is, all of this is about NOT giving away too much information to the opponent. Let Carolina get ready for all 3 rather than 1……pretty sure Kirby & crew have a good idea who it may be….nothing new, just part of it.

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  15. @gatriguy

    Ramsey seemingly finding a second life tells me that maybe this coaching staff isn’t quite as caught up in the QB looking and acting like a CPA to get the job. Almost immediately last year I got the feeling that Ramsey and Park basically had no shot bc Schotty/Richt didn’t like the cut of their jib with regards to how they looked/spoke. Granted, I could be way off base, but it just seems different.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      Well whatever talent Park has, it’s not enough to be the starter at Iowa State.

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      • @gatriguy

        No, and I get that. I meant more just the whispers I remember hearing last year about how “urban” Park was and how Richt had never had a QB at UGA that carried himself like that.

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        • Normaltown Mike

          Yeah, I heard he was a “thug” from a guy I know over there.

          Same guy told me he also wasn’t real bright though

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    • Got Cowdog

      There’s a link to an article concerning Park on the buffet. Not sure he was going to be the ticket anyway.
      I wouldn’t mind seeing Ramsey get untracked. The kid looks tough, and my gut feel is he didn’t get a fair shake from his last Coordinator. I think Eason will be special, but coming from A ball in Washington State to the SEC? That might take a little adjusting.

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  16. Go Dawgs!

    If Ramsey somehow steps up and becomes the quarterback that Mark Richt and Mike Bobo believed that he would be when they recruited him, I think that would be fantastic news for Georgia and for Jacob Eason. If Ramsey were to put a stranglehold on the quarterback job in 2016 I think it would allow Eason to take a redshirt year. Then, next year Ramsey could be a senior quarterback and Georgia could work Eason into the mix and get him experience. If he doesn’t take Ramsey’s job in 2017, then he comes in as an experienced redshirt sophomore in 2018, ready to wreak havoc for three seasons. And, from there, Georgia’s got a chance to build what Richt always wanted: a succession of quarterbacks who begin their starting careers with experience.

    Of course, all that is a lot more optimistic than what Kirby seems to be saying in public. But I’d love to see Ramsey do it. I can’t wait for the Eason era to start, but I also want him to be in the best possible position to succeed when he takes the keys to the car.

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    • Go Dawgs!

      Also, I think that there’s a great deal of evidence that Schottenheimer was lacking as a position coach and as an offensive coordinator for college football and if Ramsey is a new player this year it will just be further evidence.

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      • Normaltown Mike

        If you get the chance, you should ask people that work in college or pro football at any level and especially any that worked at Georgia in last 5 years about Shotty vs. Richt.

        I don’t think you’ll hear how dumb Schotty is.

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        • Go Dawgs!

          Sounds like a fascinating conversation to have. Who are your friends that work in college or pro football that I can contact to talk about Schottenheimer vs. Richt? Or perhaps you can just tell me what your connected sources say?

          Mark Richt built a winner at Georgia. He did not win consistently enough in the latter half of his tenure and he’s gone because of it. Georgia’s offense in 2015 was unimpressive compared to offenses coached by Richt and later by Mike Bobo. I’ve read a lot of NFL people complimenting Brian Schottenheimer as a quarterback coach. But if someone could point out a great quarterback product from his coaching or a great offense that he led, I’d like to see it.

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          • Normaltown Mike

            No snark, but you must not live in Athens. I say that b/c people around the program are everywhere. Old players are the best as they will drop into BM or go to practices a lot.

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    • Cojones

      I think you guys have forgotten about Fromm when you extend Eason’s time out beyond this season. And beyond that?

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    • ElectroM

      “If he doesn’t take Ramsey’s job in 2017, then he comes in as an experienced redshirt sophomore in 2018, ready to wreak havoc for three seasons”
      Sounds great, but if Eason is as good as we hope and expect him to be, he will likely go to the NFL after 2018, since he will be 3 years in college.

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      • ElectroM

        Remember Knowshon leaving after 3 years at Georgia and Richt lamenting red-shirting him for a year, so he only played 2 years.

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  17. paul

    Well last year we were all hopeful that the three being ‘equal’ was a good sign. Not so much. So this year, with a new staff and one new player but similar pronouncements coming out of BM, I’m really just hoping it turns out better than last time. Whatever that means. I’m nervous. Normally, this is the time of year I finally decide to drink the Kool-Aid and believe that ll things are possible. Not happening so far.

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  18. 86BONE

    Strock-Lambert
    I am a little surprised that the Gatorade National Player of the Year has not risen slightly above the other two by now. Realizing that coverages and zone blitzes are at a different level, it is time for “Showtime” to grab hold of the reins! Our coaches could be totally Kirbing their enthusiasm as to not show their cards……

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  19. DawgPhan

    So from the scrimmage we have the news that Lambert didnt play much and Ramsey was better than Eason.

    So the 10-2 returning starter has cemented his starting role and they dont need to see him any more. His ceiling might not be that high, but his floor is rock solid. Floors matter more to Defensive coaches with stud running backs and small WRs.

    Ramsey being better than a freshman also makes sense. He has been here a while and hopefully learned a thing or 2 about being a QB.

    I think the coaches have found their guy to start, but they really need a solid backup and they would love to see eason get some snaps this season and get ready because he isnt staying more than 3 years in athens regardless.

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  20. Otto

    I am not at all surprised to see Ramsey making strides. I have said for a while that Smart with the hire Schuman has made it a priority to teach a complex system in such a way a college player can digest. Further Schott did not have any or had very little experience tutoring a college player. I feel it is more likely a good college coach could teach Ramsey to read a defense that to coach Lambert out of making bad throws when pressured. However, if Borges can make Campbell a draftable QB, maybe this staff can improve Lambert.

    The question is, if Ramsey can be the QB Bobo and Richt thought he could be, does Eason get a red shirt and if so does he wait until Ramsey leaves the program?

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  21. ApalachDawg

    If Chubb is truly healthy and he is gaining his 8 yds per carry, all we need is some completions from Lambert – can he hit some TEs?… Ramsey can continue his punting prowess. Slowly bring Eason along with heavier reps in the Mizzou and Ole Miss games. Then maybe turn him loose against rocky top at home and see what he can do full time.

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  22. South FL Dawg

    I think that because Eason and Ramsey haven’t had as much seasoning that Smart and Chaney were planning all along to let the competition play out. The longer it goes, the more ground they can make up. I wouldn’t blame Lambert for looking over his shoulder.

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  23. Eason may have had a sub-par performance in the first scrimmage, but to say he has been the worst of the three since camp started, is just a bunch of crap. He has a lot that he has to learn to do besides learning the playbook. He must adapt to the significant differences in the speed of the game at this level, as well as the profound upgrade in the talent level of the athletes he faces and will face in this league. I imagine taking snaps from under center for the first time in his life is another obstacle as well.
    I’m not making excuses for the kid, he has to improve in some areas, no doubt. I just wanted to point out that he is a freshman and faces a lot of bumps in this road other than just being able to relax and play. I still maintain, that he will be the starter before the season is over because he is very intelligent and by far the most talented of the bunch. He will get better as his time in the huddle and behind center increases, and as he becomes more comfortable with the intricacies of the game. It is my humble opinion that Lambert is only going to improve to the level that his talent allows. He doesn’t seem to possess the inate ability to play at a level much higher than he has already shown. As far as Ramsey is concerned, his talent level is better than that of Lambert, but he just hasn’t exhibited good judgment in real game situations when he’s had the opportunity. And by now, he should shown marked improvement, but I don’t think he has. Eason is overall the better quarterback on this team. He has the most talent, and is the most gifted athletically.
    CKS and Coach Chaney have to know this, don’t they?
    All of the lights will come on for Eason very soon, and I am confident the coaching staff will make the best decision when that time comes.
    Go Dawgs!

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  24. CB

    Ramsey was just as bad in 2014 as he was in 2015, but of course this blog will continue to ignore the fact that Bobo recruited him and also failed to develop him.

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  25. Austen

    As a new coach, to me this shows that Smart has an open mind and wants to be sure he earns the respect of his team by giving everyone a chance. He doesn’t have any real history with the QBs, so he doesn’t have a clear preference. For Chaney, the open competition to me means that he is aware of the fact that each of the QBs has some advantages vs. the others, and he wants to continue developing the overall offensive identity of the team. He may not know if the identity will be defined by the quarterback or if the identity of the team overall leads to the QB that is selected. What the ongoing battle means for the team is that UGA has three capable QBs, and it is not easy to gauge which will respond best in a “real” game against UNC, so the battle must rage on. It would be a mistake to write off Eason as a true freshman just because he might be struggling some. The coaches probably expected him to struggle during many consecutive, intense practices. Eason could hit his low point soon, or has hit it, and the coaches are making sure he has a chance to rebound knowing he has such great QB tools to offer.

    For me, Ramsey should always have been in the competition. His leadership and focus may have been in question, but he wouldn’t be the first guy that needed more adversity before his light clicked on. He absolutely has to look more consistent than Eason to warrant consideration, but assuming he’s doing that, to me it is appealing to have a guy like him that splits the difference between Lambert’s knowledge and Eason’s, and Eason’s arm talent and Lambert’s. Ramsey and Eason are probably more interchangeable with one another than Lambert as well. Even if Eason has elite arm talent, Ramsey can sling it better than 90% of college QBs in terms of strength. By all means, however, I hope Lambert gets the nod if he is performing the best. 2016 can be a great year for UGA football. Smart should make all personnel choices based on winning today, not tomorrow – unless/until the Dawgs fall out of SEC East contention, which on paper we all think should not happen.

    Another key point to me is that Ramsey has two years of eligibility remaining. If he loses out to Eason right away, it would almost be a surprise if he didn’t transfer after this year. (It’d be interesting to see if Ramsey is on course to graduate during or after this season…) Lambert is going nowhere if he loses the competition, and I think he’d respond much better to coming off the bench than Ramsey.

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  26. AusDawg85

    I think Kirby doesn’t have an obvious Heisman winner at QB and thus doesn’t know what to do. Instead of enjoying the luxury of #2’s on the depth chart being as good as everyone else’s starters, he’s got #1’s that aren’t up to Bama quality. It’s not just the QB position he’s been lamenting. Fact is, other SEC coaches probably get more out of “theirs” than Saban/Smart had to, so it will be interesting to see if he can really “coach ’em up” or struggle with the frustrations of not having a wealth of talent to plug any hole at any time. Can CKS really get more out of lesser talent than others, or does he need great talent to make things work? If the former, we can have a really good season (10 wins again if not SEC East) but if the latter, he’ll need 2 – 3 years to see if his recruiting can fill the needs.

    To win the SEC, he’s eventually got to prove he can do both.

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