For there to be a real quarterback controversy at Georgia, there’s one huge barrier Justin Fields will have to overcome.
The thing that stands out to Thomas about Fromm? His overall knowledge of the offensive system in place in Athens.
“I would say Jake, his knowledge of the game. It’s crazy some of the things he sees and the plays that he checks to sometimes is just perfect,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we didn’t even see it.”
The Bulldog lineman was then asked for an NFL comparison for Fromm. Without hesitation, Thomas had a name ready.
“Probably Peyton Manning. That’s a joke that we have,” Thomas said. “We do a drill, it’s a check drill where we change the play to whatever you want to call it and Coach Smart tells Jake not to be Peyton Manning — because he tries to get the call perfect every time.”
Fields is an immense talent. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would reasonably debate that, but talent doesn’t mean much without a solid grasp of the offense. Yes, Smart’s already shown in two seasons that he’ll start a true freshman quarterback, but that doesn’t mean it’s his preferred option, especially when he goes into his third season with an experienced quarterback who has learned the system and gained the trust of his teammates and coaches.
The funny thing is that with the usual dumbing down that goes on in the spring game, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Fields acquit himself well and excite the fan base, as well as pundits who love a good story. But we’re not going to know whether he’s anything more than a good story in the short run until he’s got a lot more practice work under his belt.
I don’t expect Fields to redshirt — one nice thing about that opener against Austin Peay is that it ought to give him a great opportunity to get his feet wet in a real game — but barring injury (I know, I know), bringing Fields along slowly and carefully this season is a luxury Smart and Chaney have and I doubt they’re foolish enough to waste it.