Although it sounds like he’s more worried about the media right now than North Carolina.
Smart suggested later when speaking to the Touchdown Club meeting that he may keep the starter under wraps in the lead up to the Sept. 3 opener against North Carolina the Georgia Dome in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.
“Here’s my question, just because we don’t announce one does that mean there’s not one?” said Smart, who prefaced his comments by saying that there was media in the audience, indicating he would tread carefully with what he said “My thing is I’m sitting here thinking what does North Carolina want to know? Why should I give them information? They’re not giving me information. I’m not going to give them information. That’s not in the protocol for us. We’ll do what we think is best to not only win this game but help the future of this program and also develop our players and out team for this year.”
Dude, no offense, but I don’t think Gene Chizik is that consumed with trying to figure out which of your three non-running quarterbacks winds up being anointed to run your pro-style offense. (How many carries you intend to give Nick Chubb is an entirely different story.) On the other hand, not letting the media in on what you’re thinking… well, Saban’s Coke bottle approves.
The funny thing is that Smart made other comments yesterday that would indicate he and Chaney have begun making some initial decisions about the quarterbacks.
… “I wish I knew the answer to that. We’ve watched a lot of video from the scrimmage and we’re trying to make a determination after the scrimmage. We need to start getting two guys ready. I think it’s hard once you start getting more than two quarterbacks ready. We’ve got some guys who have looked good during camp. But to answer your question, I don’t know the answer to that.”
And so it went. To his credit, Smart had given fair warning. “Since there’s media in the audience tonight, y’all will be getting their treatment,” he said.
But actually, the admission that they’ll be paring the quarterback race down from three to two was somewhat of a revelation, though Smart had hinted often that would likely be the case. He said he and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney met all day Monday about the quarterbacks and other personnel matters.
Based on other comments throughout the night and in a radio interview conducted shortly before his speech, it seems likely those final two will be fifth-year senior Greyson Lambert and true freshman Jacob Eason. Late during his half-hour-plus remarks, Smart included Eason in his breakdown of freshmen or first-year players who are currently in the two-deep. And beforehand he told David Johnston of Athens radio station WRFC-AM 960 The Ref that Lambert’s experience is “very valuable at that position to help in these games,” referring specifically the Sept. 3 nationally-televised matchup against North Carolina.
Actually, there is a non-flippant, very fair point to be made in Kirby’s favor. In fact, he made it.
“We’ve watched a lot of the tape and we’re trying to get things where we can get the reps more focused,” Smart said on the radio. “Jim (Chaney) and I talked a long time today about it and we’ll continue to do that tomorrow. We’re going to visit with the quarterbacks and let them know how we plan to practice going forward. I reserve the right to kind of talk to them first before we kind of talk about anything publicly.”
As he should. In any event, it sounds like changes are coming this week.
Smart said “we’re going to start getting more quality reps for guys and getting the right ones. It’s just a matter of how much we do. It won’t be one-third, one-third, one third anymore.”
UPDATE: Here’s the link to Kirby’s radio interview.