Not too many, but not too few

While I don’t think it’s as high-profile as his change of offensive coordinators, here’s another modification of Kirby Smart’s approach to offense that’s significant.

There aren’t as many empty seats in Georgia’s quarterback meeting room as there have been in the past and that’s a very good thing.

When Kirby Smart arrived at Georgia in 2016, he acted quickly and secured the signature of Jacob Eason, giving him three quarterbacks to start his first season as a head coach. The following season, UGA added Jake Fromm in the 2017 class to join Eason and Smart was able to convince Brice Ramsey to stick around after he considered transferring for his final year of eligibility.

When 2018 rolled around, Ramsey was out of eligibility and Stetson Bennett IV, who was offered a scholarship to stay, transferred to Jones County Community College (Ellisville, Miss.). Justin Fields joined the program in January of that year and it gave the Bulldogs just two scholarship signal callers on the roster.

Fields transferred to Ohio State a year later but Smart, once again, didn’t waste any time. He brought Bennett back on scholarship as a redshirt sophomore and flipped D’Wan Mathis from Ohio State to give the Bulldogs three quarterbacks on scholarship.

Now, in January of 2020, Smart has more quarterbacks than he ever has before and he’s clearly hoping to keep that number as high as possible. Fromm left early for the 2020 NFL Draft but the Bulldogs brought on Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman, the clear favorite to win the starting job, and signed four-star triggerman Carson Beck out of Mandarin High School (Jacksonville, Fla.) [Emphasis added.]

I tend to agree with Rowe’s assessment there.  I don’t think Kirby was comfortable with his depth situation at the position last season and, given Newman’s ability to run the ball, it wouldn’t be sensible to play things that close to the vest this season, especially with Mathis’ health remaining in question.

Given transfer trends at the position, that’s likely another reason to carry more depth, but it also puts additional pressure on a staff to run a scheme that’s relatively easy for a college quarterback to master.  We’ll see how good Monken is in that regard sooner rather than later, I suspect.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Not too many, but not too few

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Just remind me on January 8th or so next year that I’ll feel better by January 28th or so, because I imagine that Georgia’s coming offseasons are going to look a lot like this one. We’re going to be seeing a lot of quarterbacks (and other blue chips) jumping into the portal and we’re going to be seeing talented coaches coming and going and while I’ll be panicking the day after our last game, Kirby has proven that he’s got a plan for the roster, even though he usually doesn’t tell us about it until after it’s happened (and usually not even then).

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    • Will (the other one)

      Until a coaching staff finds a way to successfully juggle more than one QB over a season in such a way they both win and the QBs don’t lose their draft stock, I think QBs are going to continue to enter the portal at a higher rate than any other position.

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  2. Seems like even more it a juggling act. More players are going declare early and more players are going to transfer out. You want to be stacked everywhere but then that cause even more departures.

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  3. Cynical Dawg

    We are going to increasingly see the inner workings of the sausage factory in the future. College football is a sport I am no longer familiar with.

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  4. duronimo

    Kirby and his staff may have under-achieved coaching offense, but they are most excellent at appraising athletic talent. That means every quarterback in the room can run Monken’s offense and look good doing it. But his system will increase the odds of injuries. More QBs on the roster mitigates that possibility.

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  5. Hobnail_Boot

    Carson Beck will be an interesting case study. I think that most expect Newman to be QB1 but to me the more telling battle will be at QB2.

    We already know that the Vandagriff hype train pulls into the station next January. Will Beck have yet cemented himself as the next guy up or will he get lost in the shuffle?

    ( I haven’t forgotten about Mathis but I don’t feel comfortable including him in this conversation until he’s fully cleared and he’s taking snaps. )

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    • The Dawg abides

      I agree about Mathis. So far, he’s the only one who’s stated his confidence that he’ll get cleared. He had a tumor removed from his brain. He may eventually get clearance from his doctors, but that’s just one hurdle. Ron Courson, Kirby, McGarity, and maybe even Morehead will have to come to a decision on whether it’s worth the liability risk to let this kid take blows to the head.

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