After watching Eason’s season go by the wayside, at least for the time being, any preseason hopes I had for Georgia making a statement out of the Notre Dame game have quickly morphed into a mundane hope for mere survival. I don’t mean that as a knock on Jake Fromm, but asking a true freshman quarterback to use his first start on the road in front of Gawd and a national television audience to make a statement isn’t realistic.
I’ve watched the opener live and on replay now, and the good thing is that I haven’t lost hope for Georgia to emerge victorious. Far from it. Fromm goes in to South Bend with a few things that Eason didn’t have last season: a healthy Nick Chubb, some promise on the offensive line, an emerging weapon in Javon Wims, a defense that is deeper, faster and better grounded in mechanics and, amazingly, special teams that are not a liability.
Fair to say, then, Fromm goes to Notre Dame with the knowledge that he doesn’t have to carry his team on his shoulders. That’s a big deal. The question is, how realistic is it to count on a true freshman quarterback to be a game manager against a talented defense?
For me, the answer is, it’s not that crazy. It’s worth noting again that Chaney did an excellent job managing the offense after Eason’s departure. Fromm only had to throw fifteen times during the game and got to spend a decent amount of time under center. The passing game was simplified, as most of what Fromm was asked to do came off simple three-step drops and single reads. Fromm did well with what he was required to do, too.
This week is all about polishing his game, at least as much as can be done in just a few days. I don’t know if Tuberville was overstating the case when he said that Fromm only knows about half the playbook, but there’s no way the kid’s got everything down cold in time for Saturday. That’s not doom in and of itself, but if Chubb and Michel can’t make headway in the running game, it’s not ideal, either.
My other concern comes from one of Fromm’s strengths on display against ASU. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the occasion, to say the least. Quite the contrary, at times he seemed a little too sure of himself. He didn’t throw an interception, but he certainly deserved to on a few plays. If he’s going to be part of the plan to beat Notre Dame, he’s got to find the fine line between avoiding being too conservative and turning the ball over by being too aggressive. Weirdly enough, I’m looking forward to finding out if he’s got it in him to hit the sweet spot.