Chip Towers makes a good point about the timing of Eason’s day in the spotlight.
I don’t think it was necessarily Eason’s play in the first game versus that of fifth-year senior Greyson Lambert that dictated this move. And I don’t really think it was what the coaches were seeing in practice, beyond, that is, the fact that the competition apparently remained very close.
No, this may very well have been dictated by the Bulldogs’ schedule.
Think about it: After this Saturday’s de facto practice game against Nicholls State, a struggling FCS team, Georgia is heading into a real gauntlet of games.
There are people out there who will scoff about the Bulldogs’ challenge of having to make the trip out to Columbia, Mo., to face a Missouri team that just lost to West Virginia 26-11. But say what you will about the Tigers, they always play salty defense, have a really talented front seven this year in particular and will be playing their SEC opener at home at night on national television.
As long as I’ve been around this game, I’ve never met a coach who thought the best place to give a quarterback his first start — never mind a true freshman — was in a conference road game at night.
After that, Georgia is on the road against a Top 25 Ole Miss team, back home against a Tennessee team that was picked to win the division, then back on the road to face rival South Carolina.
No, if you were thinking Eason was going to start eventually, then circumstances pretty much dictated that you do it now…
All of which makes you wonder if the coaches had that in mind even before the season’s opener. If so, the way Lambert and Eason were deployed against North Carolina makes a lot of sense. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really wonder all that much.
Towers goes on to speculate that Smart has left the door open to Lambert performing well enough to win the starting role back down the road as the opposition toughens up, but I tend to think that unless Eason really craps the bed, Lambert’s performance in future practices isn’t going to be a game changer.
As far as this Saturday goes, I do expect a more robust passing attack than we saw last weekend. For one thing, Eason and the receivers need to work on their timing against a live opponent. For another, Eason needs to get a lot more reps taking snaps under center. Ed Aschoff points out one big reason why: “Eason passed for more than 100 yards in his debut, yet went just 1-of-4 for 13 yards and was sacked on play-action passes.”
Play-action is the bread and butter pass play in a pro-style attack that emphasizes the running game. It’s great that your quarterback has the big arm to throw it deep, but if he’s not experienced enough to sell the play, he’s not going to get the secondary to bite on it, which means his receivers won’t get much in the way of separation. It also means that defense won’t pay a price for overplaying the run.
In other words, tomorrow, throw the damned ball, Chaney.