“I’m not surprised we’re circling back to quarterbacks.”

In all of Todd Monken’s talk yesterday about why the coaches settled on Stetson Bennett as the starter, I’m sort of curious why there hasn’t been more said about the implication of what was offered as the primary reason for going with Bennett over Daniels: ($$)

“You know, I think Stetson at times — I’m talking about me, (I) have probably undervalued his skill set,” Monken said. “Some guys just combat that and fight and scratch and continue to play well and try to prove you wrong, and that’s what Stetson Bennett did. It wasn’t really anything JT did, it was more along the lines of what Stetson did that we thought gave us the best chance to win, his mobility, those things, in the run game and the pass game when things break down we believe give us the best chance to win.

So, here’s my question about that — if the o-line were more trusted by the coaches to block well, particularly in the run game, would there be the same need to start Stetson over JT?  And if that’s the case, what does that say about the state of the offensive line?

75 Comments

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75 responses to ““I’m not surprised we’re circling back to quarterbacks.”

  1. Anon

    The more I read about the entire situation the more confused I am…..but I’m not the “in the arena”. Kirby has to live with the outcome. Let’s see how it ends up, but it seems like a risky strategy.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Monken is grasping at the same straws Kirby has for the last 3+ weeks. Sorry, Todd, but Bennett’s ability to rub doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s been atrocious under pressure.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. mwodieseldawg

    I don’t think the O line is that much different than when Pittman was here. It may be sacrilege to y’all but I thought Pittman was a better recruiter than coach. Very few times I can remember when UGA needed a yard or two and everyone knew they were gonna run the ball did they succeed. Sony and Nick made the line better than they were.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. theotherdoug

    I don’t have any stats to back this up, but it seems to me that the OL has been really good in pass protection, but average at best in run blocking. Especially when the defense knows the run is coming. Basically we’ve lost the ability to road grade. I should add I’m not including garbage time when both teams know the game is over.

    Which makes me wonder why we need Stetson Bennett’s legs when pass protection is pretty good and he doesn’t have a lot of designed runs. We have an OL that would be able to do a solid job of protecting a statue like JT, but we need the guy with mobility. It just doesn’t make sense, and that’s why I think the staff isn’t telling us everything.

    Liked by 9 people

    • dawgman3000

      ^^^This all day!^^^

      Like

    • But what’s the use in not telling the truth? I’ve known since the Missouri game when Daniels got very few snaps and the Tennessee game when he got no snaps that he wasn’t going to start another game this season.

      If we lose on Friday night, I wonder how much Kirby is going to be willing to say given there’s not another game to prepare for. Given that case he’ll be in a more surly mood than normal with the press, I’m guessing not much at all.

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      • theotherdoug

        Kirby believes in not giving any solid intel to the opposition, and often likes to mislead them. Last year JT Daniels was “cleared” for the Auburn game, but we found out later he wasn’t ready yet for example. Is UofM spending some time prepping for JT? Probably still a little.

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        • It’s the same plays being run by a QB who is a traditional pocket passer. There isn’t any real extra preparation there.

          I’m not surprised Kirby hasn’t said anything … he doesn’t need to. He has decided to let the season ride on a QB who was never recruited to be in this situation.

          This is the reason I haven’t made this decision about SBIV. He’s a DGD who has been thrust into a situation where he can’t win. If we win the next 2 games, everyone will say it was the defense and the running game that won it and the QB didn’t screw it up (like everyone said about Fromm in hindsight). If we lose one of the next 2, I guarantee you the blame will be pointed directly at the QB whether that’s for not being the kind of player that can bring you back when the defense takes some lumps (like the SECCG) or for making the bad play that results in a game-changing turnover.

          I’ve made this decision about the management of and the communication about the QB situation (squarely on Kirby). When he had a chance to start working Daniels back into the rotation, he elected not to do it and has never answered questions as to why (other than the platitude/spin that they believe Bennett is the best option for the team to win).

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kirby, and now Todd, have answered the question. He just hasn’t answered it the way so many of y’all want to hear it answered.

            There’s a difference in those two things.

            One of the reasons that may have changed at this point (because it’s possible there is more PT available for Daniels than previous weeks) is in Todd’s statement that Stetson hadn’t done anything to surrender his position. ‘The team kept winning. He was doing what we needed.’ (Paraphrased Monken). Against Alabama, though, he did not. Todd knows that.

            It’s quite possible you see more of JT this week.

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            • There was plenty of opportunity to give Daniels meaningful snaps over the last month of the season. The last time we saw JT was for one series where he handed “good as ——“ in the 4th quarter at Richt-Smart Field.

              Like

              • Again, you’re not listening to the coaches but instead are applying YOUR thoughts of quarterback management based on what I’m guessing is exactly zero games worth of college coaching experience.

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                • theotherdoug

                  I get your point and it makes sense right up to JT Daniels didn’t get a chance in the SEC CG when it was obvious that Stetson was in trouble.

                  Keep in mind that in last year’s WLOCP when Stetson was in trouble the coaching staff put in Mathis and they had to know there was a small chance of that working out.

                  Like

                • Russ

                  (replying to theotherdoug)

                  Stetson was taken out because he was hurt. Late hit on his throwing shoulder. Otherwise, I think the game would have played out a little differently.

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                • Nope. I’m saying the team chemistry angle is legit. Monken came as close to saying that as anyone has (certainly closer than Kirby has). I was resigned to the fact that Kirby decided to let it ride with SBIV when he was announced as the starter for the Missouri game. I don’t think Kirby is stubborn, only likes South Georgia QBs or wants to prove you can win a championship with defense. I just think he has made a decision and is defending it with spin that doesn’t make sense. If we win on Friday night (and that if is getting louder in my mind), we’re right back at the same place we were on December 4 and hoping for a different result – former walk-on who was never recruited to be an SEC starter versus a 5-star QB who is recognized as the current best player at the position in this level of the sport.

                  Liked by 2 people

          • theotherdoug

            I pretty much agree.

            To bring this back to the Senator’s original question, how much of Stetson’s problem is he can’t be a Fromm type QB because of the lack of a power run game?

            Like

            • I think a lot of it, but one thing people forget about Fromm is how he would flip the side of the run or change the play to take advantage of match-up advantages. One of Sony’s long runs in the Rose Bowl was the direct result of Fromm making a sight adjustment to flip the side of the run. On the first TD in the SECCG that year, he made a perfect read on an RPO and hit Mecole in stride for a big play down the seam. Freshmen aren’t supposed to make those king of plays.

              Any QB gets the benefit of a good run game even it’s straight QB run.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Geezus

    I have often wondered how our line can still be so inconsistent at the end of the year. I know we’ve recruited the bodies. It is still frustrating seeing our backs get stuffed at the line over and over.

    Like

    • SSB Charley

      This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve been frustrated with the choice to play experience over talent throughout the year, but at this point, the talent has a fair amount of experience. Ericson is a center playing guard, and is too small and slow to be effective at the position. Truss has played well there generally, but Ericson kept getting the start. Likewise, Schaffer is inconsistent and often ineffective. But the concern about playing Jones at tackle leads the coaches to leave Salyer there, instead of moving him inside to left guard, his natural position, allowing more talent on the field. I have to think that Mims, at this point in the season, could also provide more productivity for us at one of the guard positions than what we’re currently getting.

      Add in a fairly mediocre OL recruiting class, and it’s safe to say I have concerns about the direction of that position group in the next year or two.

      Liked by 1 person

      • James A Mercer Jr

        I understand that LUKE, upon reading your comments, tendered his resignation to Kirby saying, “Damn, that boy knows his line work…why didn’t I think of that”. You’ve probably saved our ass in the next two games!!

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  6. To me me Bennett has improved noticeably over the past year. I wonder where he might be without this:
    ” I’m talking about me, (I) have probably undervalued his skill set,”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      Same here. He’s much better than last year and has made plays/drives that got us to 12-0. I expect Monken has spent time with Bennett going over what Bama did to confuse him. Hopefully the lesson sticks and we get a chance to test it again.

      Like

  7. Ozam

    Our QB situation, for the most important player on the field, is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jim1886

    We saw in the Clemson game, which was arguably the best defense we played this year, that JT with a quick release could handle the pressure.
    This best option to win is bs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clemson was a really good defense when we played them slightly better than Alabama’s. But our offense scored THREE points in the entire game.
      I would not say that is a QB resume builder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He also didn’t have a healthy Burton, Pickens, Washington, Blaylock and Jackson. No one knew what Bowers and McConkey would be at that point. I think JT probably would have done a little more with the supporting cast SBIV had at his disposal in the Benz.

        Liked by 3 people

        • We haven’t had a healthy “Burton, Pickens, Washington, Blaylock and Jackson” most of the season and now we are with out Smith.

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          • Burton and Washington have been healthy for the last 2/3 of the season. Of course, Pickens probably isn’t 100% but is playing. Blaylock has been available as has Kearis.

            You’re right about Smith. I was going back-and-forth about whether to include him.

            There were a lot more pass-catching weapons available at the end of the season than there were at the beginning of the season. That’s my point.

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        • silvercreekdawg

          Add to all that JT wasn’t healthy, as we later found out.

          Liked by 1 person

        • James A Mercer Jr

          And, who was the architect of those players developmnet and game play?? I wonder why Monken is so right on those things but so wrong on his QB?? I think that our analytical staff…in its magnitude…probably has some influence on questions like all of you pose. Maybe applications are needed from y’all to replace those guys?!!!?.

          Like

          • Dude, you don’t read everything. I have said that not upsetting the team’s chemistry was a legitimate reason to keep playing SBIV given his limitations. The problem is Kirby was talking about his mobility as the reason. That’s flat out spin when you look at the full picture. It’s not like they’re running Bennett 10x a game on designed QB runs.

            I just want Kirby to be honest about the reasoning. People are frustrated that it appears he is playing the less talented QB on the basis that QB has superior physical qualities to the guy who started the year and the only reason he isn’t playing now is injury.

            Kirby made the decision following the Florida game to ride Bennett as far as he could, which really means he’s going to ride the defense as far as he can. As others have written, that likely means if we get a 2nd shot at Bama, we have to play perfectly to win.

            Like

  9. Dawg in Austin

    This was exactly where I went when hearing Monken on this. All the QB explanations from him and Kirby feel so strained and restrained, but what’s really missing is why can’t Kindley and Ericson move people?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wfdawg

    I’ve wondered if Ericson for Ratledge was the reason we’re seeing Bennett for Daniels. But then I remember that JT started against Vandy when Ericson was already entrenched. So, that’s not it, and I’m down to these options: 1) Monken had an epiphany partway through the season about the value of QB mobility that he did not have at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021, when both QBs were equally available, or 2) both QBs are not equally available, for reasons the coaches won’t say. If 2) is correct, it should at least be noted that there are conceivable reasons why the tight-lipped approach is the right thing to do. Suppose the coaches air out some reason that exonerates their decision but reflects poorly on Daniels, for a limitation out of his control. How is that going to play on the recruiting trail going forward?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derek

      2 is the only rational choice.

      I’m not buying the whole “we just figured out that Stet was the best qb all along at the exact same time JT got hurt” bullshit.

      Something is up with JT and we don’t get to know what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • originaluglydawg

        Yep. And instead of being thankful we have an experienced and better than serviceable QB…many want to constantly stab the kid in the back for his limitations, even while having no real idea of what JT’s limitations are.
        Of course, they smooth it all over by prefacing their remark with “I think he’s a DGD, but….”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • theotherdoug

          I think most fans would rally behind Stetson if Kirby came out and said JT is injured and Stetson is the best we got.

          Like

          • Derek

            I’m happy to rally behind Stet without an explanation.

            What I won’t do is pretend that he’s a better qb than JT.

            Stet may be, for whatever reason, our best option right now.

            Like

        • Derek

          We know what the limitations are. He and the coaches should be credited for being as successful as they’ve been given those limitations.

          4th in country in passer rating is a helluva achievement for a player of Stet’s caliber.

          I hope the limitations don’t cost us, but they might.

          Me thinking, concluding, saying that Stet is a tremendous qb wouldn’t change a thing for him or this team.

          If it would change something for the better then let me say this:

          Having seen Stetson in 2021, I can now announce that Tom Brady is the second best qb I’ve ever seen play live.

          I hope that helps.

          Like

      • Bulldawg Bill

        Trust me, Derek. You’ll know soon after our last game.

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      • wfdawg

        I agree about 2, and I’ll give you another reason why: in considerable garbage time in the last month of the season, JT barely factored. Stetson stayed in way later than you should leave a starter to which you’ve hitched your wagon, and most of JT’s work consisted of simply handing off. So, you’re right–something is up, and we’re not privy.

        Like

    • Tony BarnFart

      I’ve said it before. Kirby is a players’ coach and he treats his players like a lawyer treats a client. If JT’s injuries are causing mechanics issues as he recovers, the last group of people that are going to know about it is the NFL. Now, the calendar and JT’s future of course ultimately puts that out of Kirby’s hands, but Kirby actively guards his players’ value.

      Like

      • Derek

        There’s no negative recruiting worse than having your opponents point out times when you didn’t protect your players, period.

        Like

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    My question is, what are the consequences if a WR is wide open down field and we have a QB in the game that doesn’t have a prayer of getting the ball to him?

    Like

    • originaluglydawg

      You should have started that with, “My trolling for SB haters is ” because that is the real purpose of your question. Either that or you have no imagination of what the consequences are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • W Cobb Dawg

        I simply believe JT is the better QB. There’s no question in my mind that JT has the more accurate and stronger arm. I love mobility, but passing is a higher priority, at least it is to me. Not to mention the issue of height and ability to deal with pressure.

        I also feel Vandagriff would likely be a better QB than SBIV, if given the same opportunity SBIV was given all season.

        SBIV is a fine backup. I’m not ‘hating’ on him.

        Like

      • James A Mercer Jr

        Nor have you seen Bennet throw the long ball. I’ve seen him hit receivers on long route several times this year…where have you been??

        Like

    • Russ

      “…doesn’t have a prayer of getting the ball to him”

      LOL. Hyperbole much?

      Like

  12. Paulk Landscaping

    That’s not the question that should be ask (referring to the O-Line and Stetson’s Skill set / ceiling). The question that no one for some reason is not asking…what happened to JT? Has he regressed that much, is he too soft to take what should have been his or has he checked out on the team and thinking about where he could possibly transfer to next year? I keep seeing him already in Ole Miss Blue for some reason. No one wants to win more than Kirby. No one knows what is going on more than Kirby. I can’t imagine Kirby is making any type of decision that doesn’t give him the best chance to win. I know it and you all know it too. So the question to me isn’t about Kirby or Stetson, the questions should be aimed towards JT.
    C

    Liked by 1 person

    • originaluglydawg

      Good post, but that would take all the pleasure away from blaming SB4 for everything from Covid to the bad traffic in Atlanta. This kid has accomplished more with less than (likely) any of his detractors on GTP.

      Like

      • Do you really believe SBIV is the best option currently on campus (taking Stockton out of the equation) to deliver a championship? I don’t think any person who is questioning the decision has made it personal about Bennett (other than the every once in a while wisecrack about his height – and I think that’s meant as gallows humor rather than demeaning). He has done a ton of good work that will make people remember him as a DGD especially if we win a championship. Most of the criticism has been leveled at Kirby for his lack of clarity (or downright spin) about the QB situation.

        Like

        • Russ

          If Kirby believes he’s the best option (and why would he play him otherwise), who am I to disagree? I mean, Kirby has seen a few more practices than I have.

          Like

          • Then, why would Daniels have started against South Carolina and Vandy after Bennett had his great game against UAB? Clearly, for the first month of the season, Daniels was looked at as the best option. I get that he got injured and then Bennett played well and managed the offense.

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            • Because situations change as the season goes along.

              Jesus, why is that so difficult for people to grasp?

              Daniels has more obvious arm talent to most of us watching the games on television. Bennett is better at eluding pressure (not throwing out of it). Daniels is oft-injured. Bennett appears a bit more durable. Bennett has been more than capable of winning the season and getting us into the post-season, even with that loss.

              And for the “well why wouldn’t you get JT the reps in the ends of games” crowd… well, here’s a wrinkle:

              If you have a talented QB who may be fragile, and you get him hurt in garbage time, that may hamper your ability to use him when he’s actually needed to win a football game. Also, if you have a guy whose primary issue is being confused by defensive looks, then getting him experience with as many reps against live defenses as possible is important.

              It’d be interesting to look back at blowouts of P5 teams, and see if the other team started playing dummy defense before we pulled Stetson (meaning Kirby and Monken left him in as long as the other team was still trying to win). I have no idea.. but it would make sense to keep giving him reps where he could learn… because “development” at QB is very much a game-time thing.

              I wrote in another comment that too often we look at the small sample-size of a game or even a DRIVE and judge a qb (and beyond that, the coach’s decision to play them).. but the overall book of work is far more important.

              The idea that starting Stetson would give us the best chance to win seems silly to many when you talk about a game-by-game sample. But, we finished the season undefeated… so it’s actually hard to argue against it. Unless what you suddenly want to care about is STATS, which many have said isn’t important (and they aren’t). The SECCG was a non-factor, and getting JT in there to possibly win it, vs possibly get hurt would have been a low-yield decision, if your ultimate goal is the National Title.

              So, perhaps “Playing Stet gives us the best chance to win” is the first part of a thought, and the rest of it is… “… the National Championship.” Because going into the playoff, JT is fully available (not nursing further injuries), and Stet has had a full season to continue his development, which has been a sizeable improvement over last year. Even against Bama – he had a much better game, though the result was the same (again, going back to what I’ve said previously about sample size, and result bias).

              At the beginning of the season, before the chips started falling as they did, JT Daniels likely gave Georgia the best chance to win (games and a title), but as the season progressed, that was no longer the case. Two days before the CFP, starting Stetson Bennet STILL likely gives you the best chance to win the National Title. But, JT may indeed be the answer, should we face Alabama… and it may be because he isn’t risked against Michigan.

              Time will tell.

              Go Dawgs.

              Liked by 1 person

          • Geezus

            “If Kirby believes he’s the best option”

            Not to pick nits, but in year 6 of the Kirby Smart Experience, why would he be the best option? All the kids on the roster are Kirby’s (I believe), so why do we not have a better option at QB? Have they whiffed that bad at talent evaluation on QB recruits? Or, is it development within the program?

            Like

            • “Development” is a fun thing for people to talk about, but without game reps, it’s fairly non-existent, period. You can improve a kid’s mechanics, and you can improve his knowledge… but the actual development happens with reps – and there aren’t a lot to go around, not when you want to win ballgames.

              So, let’s look:

              2016 – 5* Jacob Eason (Injured/Transferred Out 2018)
              2017 – 4* Jake Fromm (3-year Starter, NFL 2020)
              2018 – 5* Justin Fields (1-year, Transferred 2019)
              2019 – 3T(RSoph)Stetson Bennett (recruited as backup 2019, starter 2020/2021)
              2019 – 4
              D’Wan Mathis (replaced by Steston Bennet, transferred 2021)
              2020 – 4* Carson Beck (named 2nd string 2021, actually 3rd string)
              2020 – 4T(RSoph) JT Daniels (Replaced Stet 2020, injured/replaced by Stet 2021)
              2020 – 4
              T(S) Jamie Newman (Covid Opt-Out)
              2020 – 3* Austin Kirksey (Deep Reserve 2021)
              2021 – 5* Brock Vandagriff (Scout QB 2021)

              So, what you have is a 3* Recruit who has replaced a 4* recruit who got hurt and held off a 4* RS Freshman who has far fewer snaps and would thus be less ready to “Go win right now” than the 3* Transfer, Stetson Bennett.

              I don’t think they’ve whiffed on evaluation at all. Eason, Fromm and Fields were all good college QBs. Fromm cost UGA both Eason and Fields. When you’re basically taking one QB a year, three of them leaving your program early (in B2B2B years) can really hurt. Thus, the situation we found ourselves in for 2020.

              Newman opted out. Mathis had brain surgery (which likely cost him more than most of us remember), Daniels wasn’t ready, Beck was a true frosh, and we had Stet. Stetson, as a redshirt sophomore with his redshirt year being our title chase and his RSF year being an actual season of college play, was in a better spot that Beck to be the backup. Then he was forced into action. Then he got hurt, and Daniels eventually took his spot.

              So we came into this year with two experienced QBs, a promising RSF with zero experience, and a 5* Freshman headed to a redshirt. That’s actually a pretty good place to be.

              And we’re 12-1 and playing in the College Football Playoff.

              126 teams wish they could be UGA right now.

              I’ll take our little QB “problem” over all of theirs, any day.

              Go Dawgs

              Liked by 1 person

              • Geezus

                See Justin Fields 2019 Ohio State stats:

                14 games 238/354 att (67.2%) 3,273 yds 9.2 Y/A 11.2 AY/A 41 TD 3 Int
                137 rushing attempts for 484 yards and 10 TDs
                Won the conference, made the playoffs, finished 3rd in the Heisman voting

                Amazing what a plan ride will do, maybe we should just fly them all to Columbus and back and maybe they’ll catch some magic too.

                Couldn’t crack the field in a meaningful way at UGA though.

                Like

                • Wasted argument. Different tool set with receivers, different defenses to play against.

                  He’s sooooo amazing, and got boat-raced by Bama in the NCG.

                  Dude wasn’t ready in 2018, and there’s really no argument saying he was. Then he ran away. Oh well. You play with the players you have, and don’t cry about the ones that can’t hack it.

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  13. 69Dawg

    Way to catch up Senator. That has been the case all year. JT is a sitting target and our Oline can be counted on to screw up at least once a possession. SB4 at lest has a chance.

    Like

  14. originaluglydawg

    I’d like to nominate the phrase “I think he’s a DGD, but” to describe the act of pulling a dagger out of one’s waistband before plunging it into their chest…or back. Yeah, their back.
    Sort of like the old statement of confidence that an AD would give a coach he’s about to fire.

    Like

    • Since I’m the only one who has used the term DGD on this thread, show me where I’ve made it anything personal about him. I have said since the Florida game that there should have been a competition (the defense pulled our @$$3$ out of the fire in that 2nd quarter) to start at home against Missouri. When that didn’t happen (or Bennett won the competition), it was apparent Kirby decided to put what was likely his best opportunity to knock Saban off the perch on the back of Bennett.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. shellbine

    I am in the “let JT Play” camp. My friends tell me to trust Kirby as he sees both quarterbacks every day on practice. I would buy into that line of thought if I could get the Justin Fields debacle out of my head. I know Jake led us to a championship game but anyone could see Justin had a much higher ceiling than Jake. Who had the better year in 2019-Jake or Justin? Did OSU have a magical QB wizard who turned Justin into a “couldn’t cut it at UGA” to a “championship contending QB at OSU” in one year? No, I don’t trust Kirby to judge QB talent as JT’s ceiling is much higher than Stetson’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geezus

      Oooooo, don’t pop the cork on the Fields/Fromm debate, you’ll start a river of butthurt flowing.

      Like

    • James A Mercer Jr

      I’m not really a stat person but..didn’t Fromm get us into the CFP for the first time and it came down to a flubbed DB assignment? How did Justin do in his chance in the CFP?? Yea, Justin has gone on to glory with the Bears and Fromm trying to make it with the Giants and Stafford?? And, now we have SBIV get us a 12-1 season and we’re back in the CFP. So, what’s your point, genius??

      Like

  16. Munsoning

    I’m mostly just liking comments on this post b/c there are so many good ones.

    I’ll just add this:

    Number of UGA QBs and WRs drafted in the first round since 2016: 0.
    Number of Bama QBs and WRs drafted in the first round since 2016: 7.

    Is Monken preferable to Chaney and Coley? Of course he is. But SBIV was the Dawgs’ starter for most of last season, has been the starter for most of this season, and could well be the starter for most of next season. Until the Dawgs have elite QB and WR play, it isn’t reasonable to expect them to be competitive with Bama.

    Like