I saw this tweet yesterday that made me ponder almost 20 years of quarterbacks in Athens.
Really, what a strange path Georgia has taken with its starting quarterbacks since Jim Donnan was canned. The Richt era was characterized by quarterbacks who started at least three years — Greene, Stafford and Murray covered eleven of Richt’s fifteen years in Athens. For that matter, the one-year starters before 2015, Shockley, Cox and Mason, were players who stuck around the program from day one until their chance to start arrived.
Quarterback stability was a hallmark, one that we kind of took for granted, even.
That all came to a crashing halt in 2015. Mason was gone; Bobo left. Musical chairs at the position was a disaster, culminating in that debacle we saw in Florida. Even if Richt hadn’t been fired at season’s end, there was no guarantee that matters would settle the next season, because Georgia would be faced with starting a true freshman quarterback (Eason) with a new offensive coordinator calling the shots.
That happened anyway with Smart, with predictable results. Then Eason got hurt and Fromm got his chance. Last year, Fromm’s second, saw his passer rating improve from 160.09 to 171.22. That’s close to Murray’s best mark of 174.82 in his third season.
Murray’s cast of receivers in 2012 was certainly respectable, but not exactly legendary. Murray’s experience and comfort in the system made them all better. That’s the realistic hope for Fromm and Georgia’s passing game this year. (The realistic fear? Look at what injuries did to Murray’s 2013 season.)
Jake’s got a better surrounding cast than Aaron had, when you take into consideration who will be blocking for him, but, just as importantly, Georgia’s got the luxury of a quarterback running the show who knows what he’s doing. That counts, big time.