I’m really trying to get a handle on this, but it’s a struggle.
Eason was lifted after throwing an interception inside the 10-yard line on what Smart said wasn’t a good decision of where to throw. Lambert came in the game with 7:50 left and was in for the last two series.
Eason was 11 of 20 for 204 yards with a touchdown and a red zone interception with Georgia up 26-14 when his pass on second-and-goal at the 10 was picked off by Jeff Hall and returned 91 yards to set up a field goal.
Lambert went 2 of 3 for two yards.
“Jacob was playing well in the game,” Smart said. “He didn’t get great command out of the huddle, didn’t get great timing out of the huddle. That’s frustrating but he made some good throws. We dropped a couple of balls that I thought could have given us some more cushion there.”
Coaches discussed making a switch several times, Smart said.
“The decision to go with Greyson was more of a change-up,” Smart said. “Go with him, let him go in there and show a little confidence in him with the four-minute offense and be able to shift and motion some people and hopefully run the ball and get some run game going and let him execute the flow of the offense.”
Georgia got the ball at its own 7 with 3:42 to go and ahead 26-24.
Lambert completed a third down pass to Michael Chigbu for nine yards to keep the ball away from Nicholls State
“I thought it was a great job by pressure to Greyson to make a pressure throw,” Smart said. “He’s been sitting there all game and makes a great decision and converts for us.”
I get that some of that is nothing but coachspeak, but let’s get real for a minute. Lambert’s first series, which came with almost eight minutes left on the clock, was another three-and-out that featured a pass that resulted in a seven-yard loss and an incompletion when Lambert missed reading two open receivers. He did manage a big completion, as Smart noted, that allowed Georgia to keep the ball out of Nicholls’ hands when it still had a shot at pulling the upset.
Final passer rating: 72.27. This is not exactly the stuff that legends are made from. It’s not even the kind of stuff that lets you win SEC games with a game manager.
After two games, it feels like Smart and Chaney are in a kind of no-man’s land with their quarterbacks. They know what they’ve got with Eason, loads of talent and just as much inexperience. They’ve got the opposite with Lambert. Normally what you’d expect in a cupcake game is an effort made to address the one glaring hole you’ve got there, namely, getting Eason as many reps as possible, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Lambert is there as a backstop, a competent backup.
That’s not what happened, though. Instead, there appears to have been an ongoing debate throughout the game to switch quarterbacks, either to jump start the offense (Eason’s passer rating was 147.18, which wasn’t spectacular, but still) or send a message to Eason that he’s not meeting his coaches’ expectations. If it were the former, it didn’t work. As far as the latter goes, we’ll see.
I get that the way the game went had to be as frustrating to Kirby Smart as it was to everyone else who watched it. The difference is the rest of us went home and vented on the Internet about it. Smart and Chaney have to groom a true freshman who’s their best option as the starting quarterback. This was a strange way to go about their business.
I hope I’m making a mountain out of this particular molehill. The season is still young, no doubt. Things will be alright if the final takeaway from Saturday was that it wound up being nothing more in the end than a wasted opportunity. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.