The luxury of Stetson Bennett

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When I saw this pop up in my Twitter feed last night,

my first instinct was to ponder whether Kirby Smart had succumbed to all the Fromm-Fields criticism and decided the best course of action going forward was to split the proverbial baby.  And how, exactly, would he go about doing that, anyway?  Alternate plays?  Alternate series?  Alternate quarters?

My second instinct was to calm the fuck down.  Todd Monken isn’t Jim Chaney.  There probably is a way to make a rotation like that work.  (See, for example, the Vanderbilt game.)

My third instinct was to do what I should have done in the first place:  read the Chris Low interview with Kirby Smart.  Turns out Kirby’s stance is more nuanced than 280 characters could allow.  A boatload more nuanced, as it turns out.

Provided Daniels is healthy, Smart said the Bulldogs would need both quarterbacks the rest of the way.

“I’m not sure we know who the better one is based on which game plan we have,” Smart said. “There are teams we play that we have to be able to use the quarterback in the run game. Well, that’s Stetson. There are teams we play that you have to get the ball out quickly and be really accurate. That’s JT. But the first thing with JT is that he’s got to be healthy.”  [Emphasis added.]

Therein lies the rub.  Smart did tell Low that Daniels is healthier.

“JT practiced [Wednesday] and did about everything,” Smart told ESPN. “I thought [Wednesday] was the first time since Vanderbilt that I could have said, ‘Man, he looks like he could play.’ Now, he’s rusty, and [Thursday] will probably be the telltale practice because it will be the first time he’s gone back-to-back throwing after he threw a lot Wednesday.”

But healthier isn’t the same thing as healthy.  And Stetson is playing well enough that Georgia doesn’t need a Daniels playing at, say, 70% right now.

“It would be a burden if they were both completely healthy and you had a problem,” said Smart, whose Bulldogs have scored 30 or more points in their past six games. “Usually, when the quarterback problem comes is when you’re not productive on offense. We haven’t run into that. Now, we haven’t been blowing doors off, but we’ve scored and done a good job. The defense has set up scores. Special teams has set up scores, so it hasn’t shown itself as a problem. I think that would only happen if one of them were faltering.”

Smart said he doesn’t feel like he’s under the gun to make a decision on who will start against the Gators, especially with another whole week of practice before the game.

“We do so many competitive periods that I put a lot of pressure on those kids in practice to say, ‘Show me that you’re well, JT. Show me that you’re healthy,'” Smart said. “They’ve both played enough that it really doesn’t matter who’s the first one out there.”

That’s the big change since the season opener.  Daniels was not 100% and the coaches didn’t trust Bennett against Clemson’s stout defense.  Stetson has played well enough since then to gain their trust.

“I think the feeling in the outside world is that you can’t win it all [the national championship] without JT,” Smart said. “I don’t know or can’t say that’s accurate or not. I know there’s nothing that he’s shown that Stetson hasn’t shown us that leads us to believe that’s the case.”

What Smart is saying there is that he won’t worry about that until he really needs to worry about that.  And that, folks, is the luxury of Stetson Bennett for this Georgia team.

So, yeah, I take this little talking strategy bit with a slight grain of salt.

“I’m not sure we know who the better one is based on which game plan we have,” Smart said. “There are teams we play that we have to be able to use the quarterback in the run game. Well, that’s Stetson. There are teams we play that you have to get the ball out quickly and be really accurate. That’s JT. But the first thing with JT is that he’s got to be healthy.”

Stetson of late has been accurate enough, but, really, when do you ever play a team when you don’t need a quarterback who can get the ball out quickly and be really accurate?

Of course, this all may be nothing more than showing Dan Mullen how to do quarterback controversy correctly while doing an effective job of messing with Todd Grantham’s preparation, two things I wholeheartedly endorse.  I keep saying it, but this year’s Cocktail Party can’t get here soon enough.

57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

57 responses to “The luxury of Stetson Bennett

  1. Biggen

    I don’t know how you pull Bennett at this point. He has done nothing but win and win big.

    I’m glad I’m not being paid the big bucks to make the decision.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Because JT brings things to the table — better work on 3rd down conversions, for one — that Stetson doesn’t.

      That being said, as you note, I’ll trust Monken to make the right call, as he is the one being paid the big bucks.

      Liked by 14 people

  2. 79dawg

    As long as Faton Batau isn’t announced as the starter over the PA as I’m walking in the stadium…

    Liked by 6 people

  3. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    Kirby is making FU have to get ready for two QBs. Smart (no pun intended).

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      It is interesting that to some that the offensive genius best strategist QB whisperer is being brilliant by making UGA prepare for 2 QBs while saying Smart doesn’t know how to handle QBs and it is Fromm/Fields redux.

      Liked by 2 people

      • David K

        Get ready for the Fromm/Fields comparisons next year he has to figure out who to play between Stetson and Vandagriff. Especially if Stetson is the man down the stretch and does great things. Kirbys gonna have a doozy of a time figuring out what to do.

        Like

  4. RangerRuss

    If nothing else Kirby provided a comparison in styles to that of next week’s opposing head coach. Rational explanation of the difficulties in naming the starting QB nine days out versus the sarcastic, smarmy interview that MuLLLet gave.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    He heh, say Kirby Smart as he twirls his mustache.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. ZeroPOINTzero

    I’m not a media is out ta git us guy, but I’ve never heard a peep about Ohio State “letting” Burrow walk for Dwayne Haskins ala Fromm Fields. Is it lazy journalism that took the first sports writer’s take and ran with it, or was the situation markedly different?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      I don’t think Burrow was nearly as highly rated at Fields coming out of hs and stayed in Columbus through three seasons. Haskins also had a pretty good 2018 as well:

      373 of 533 for 70.0, 4,831 yards 50 tds.

      Why would anyone be worried that Joe had left at that point?

      Liked by 1 person

      • ZeroPOINTzero

        Coaches get paid to know who is better. I hope they don’t depend on 247 Sports ratings. Fromm was a high 4 star that led us to the gates of the promised land as a freshman. It would have been coaching malpractice to play Fields over him. My point wasn’t that Ohio State was wrong. It’s the narrative regarding the way Smart handled it that annoys me.

        Liked by 3 people

      • dawg100

        True, but Burrow was still 8th rated on 247 and was Mr. Ohio Football, then ion the team,. Urban whiffed on that one.

        Like

    • classiccitycanine

      I think that comparison is apples to oranges. Haskins was a first rounder and Joe was average as grits until he got with Brady. OSU also never had offensive scheme problems that wasted QB potential like UGA did during the Fromm/Fields debacle.

      Like

  7. Ran A

    Just Kirby being Kirby. If JTD is ready – he starts. I love Stetson, but Daniels gives Georgia the better chance to lead you to the promise land.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. theotherdoug

    Kirby is the same guy that told us JT was cleared and could play against Auburn last year, and in hindsight that was total BS.

    All he is really saying is whenever JT is ready, bithe will play. It might be every other series or it might be 4th qtr mop up.

    Kirby and Monken will play the best guy the most.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Spell Dawg

    I’ll take “Good Problems to Have…with your Mother” for $200, Alex.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. This was the last thing I expected to see us do with the QBs. I can’t remember a team winning a title with a platoon system. Here’s to being the first, or one of the few.

    Like

  11. Texas Dawg

    I want Stetson to get REVENGE on the TURDS for the dirty hit last year. A nice 4-5 TD. 250+ yard day would do it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • iusedtopostasmikecooley

      How many times do you think we will have to watch replays of that and what it wrought with Gary Danielson’s mewing on and on about how Florida just kicked Georgia’s ass last year as it plays? I will be watching with the sound muted as I always am when it’s a CBS game. I can not stand Gary Danielson.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. mddawg

    My reaction when I read “Alternate plays?”

    Like

  13. californiadawg

    “Now, we haven’t been blowing doors off, but we’ve scored and done a good job.”

    Would be nice to blow some doors off soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • iusedtopostasmikecooley

      Odd to me that he said that because for the most part they have pretty much blown doors off.

      Like

      • californiadawg

        Well the defense certainly has. Our offense has been efficient but not sure we’ve had a lights out 4 quarter offensive blowout outside of maybe UAB.

        Like

  14. Reinmart

    I had a similar initial reaction to the thought of playing both QB’s the rest of the way. I have since come to the belief that Kirby is throwing it out there for D-coordiators to have to prepare for both.

    Like

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