The SEC requires that all players be made available to the media after the conference championship game, which meant that the media got its first crack at Justin Fields this season. That, in turn, meant the media got to touch the third rail of Georgia football — Fields’ future plans.
He handed it diplomatically, which I would think wasn’t the easiest thing to do, considering his team had just lost a heartbreaker and that he was a key part of a play that was certainly a factor in the loss.
Seth Emerson ($$) explores the question thoughtfully here. My impression of Fields is that he is an immense physical talent, something that was clearly on display in the UMass game, but that he is going through a transition of learning how to play in a pro-style offense. What Seth does a good job of bringing out is that such a transition was a feature for Fields in picking Georgia in the first place.
“I feel like we probably added a few plays, a few formations for me. But other than that I came here to be a quarterback,” Fields said. “We run a pro-style offense. If I want to play at the next level, this is the type of offense they run. So I kind of knew that before I was coming here.”
I assume the coaches have been straight with him throughout the learning process. I also assume that it’s obvious to everyone concerned that Fromm has good command of Georgia’s offense already and, post-LSU fretting by the fan base/media aside, won’t be supplanted by another quarterback whose grasp of the offense isn’t as strong, skill set notwithstanding. Fields himself sounds like he knows that.
“Jake, he’s a great quarterback,” Fields said. “He’s probably the smartest quarterback that I’ve been around in my whole life. You’ve got to give it to him. I’m just going to continue to learn from him to get better.”
If Fields were to decide to jump ship after the bowl game, he’d have to sit out a season. I would also expect that Kirby would have a list of schools, starting with other SEC programs, from where Fields would be blocked from transferring. So unless he wants to go Juco for a year, that makes starting in 2019 anywhere else an iffy proposition anyway. Seth notes that the ideal scenario for all concerned would be for Fromm’s improvement to continue such that going pro after next season would be the logical course of action for him. But who the hell knows as we sit here if that’s how things play out? I doubt even Fromm knows for sure.
Fields knows he’s at a program that’s invested in his future as a starter. The question is whether Georgia’s timetable for that matches his own.