Just as a follow up to the last post, David Wunderlich makes a good point in comparing Smart’s approach to quarterbacks with that of Dan Mullen’s.
Smart has pursued a strategy of adding the best quarterbacks he can whenever he can. At first glance, that sounds utterly rational. Why would you not try to accumulate the best quarterbacks you can?
The reason, if you’re worried about such things, is it can disrupt the pipeline. Once you start down this path, it can be hard to return to stability…
Florida won’t be in that kind of situation because Mullen preaches development. Even as Emory Jones admits he expected to play more early, he also says he’s bought in on Mullen’s development plan. It’s too much to say that Mullen has resurrected the model from three decades ago when programs sought to sit quarterbacks for three years and only start redshirt juniors and seniors, but he’s been closer to that than what Georgia is doing now with the transfer portal giving and taking away.
So far things have gone fine for UGA. Fromm never missed time, Newman figures to be at least a decent stopgap if not more, and then it’ll go with either a 5-star junior, a guy Mullen wanted, or a 5-star freshman. It’s a higher-risk strategy, but it can work.
Mullen is going for the less risky traditional model where signees understand that they will sit and learn while their elders play. It’s hard to pull off as evidenced by the increasing number of quarterback transfers, but it means there is less drama about the future each year.
While I do think his “hard to return to stability” concern is a bit of a stretch — does anybody think Smart didn’t want Fields to stay in Athens so he would be the starter in 2020? — the rest is a good contrast. I wonder how much of Mullen’s approach is colored by nine years at Mississippi State, where he pursued a wise strategy of building roster experience to offset a talent disadvantage. Kirby has never been asked to operate under those conditions.