ATHENS, Ga. -- Maybe this quarterback competition isn't as settled as we once thought.
Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart stressed the importance of true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm developing and learning the offense as quickly as possible while downplaying the possibility of him red shirting this upcoming season.
"I don’t know that you even think about that right now. You have to let things happen as they happen," Smart said. "The consideration is we have to develop Jake Fromm as fast as possible. Because as of today, he’s one snap away from playing."
While Smart has already named sophomore Jacob Eason his starting quarterback after playing in every game last season, Smart made it clear Fromm is the next man up, and he could be competing for more.
"It is a lot more of can Jake continue to grow at the rate he is growing? Can he make the throws and make the decisions we want him to make? Can he run the offense, can he execute the offense, can he lead the offense the right way?" Smart said. "If he continues to do those things, he is competing for everything, if not just for who is the backup, who is the third, are we redshirting him."
Fromm arrived to Georgia as a 5-star pro-style quarterback out of Houston County. Smart said the focus is to have him ready to be able to play in game one against Appalachian State on Sept. 2.
Last season, Eason threw for 2,430 yards, the fourth-most by a freshman at UGA, and 16 touchdowns. But he struggled with his accuracy and communication in the huddle.
If Eason makes the giant leap that many believe he can make this season with a year under his belt, then there's no competition and Fromm's improvement is just an insurance policy. But if Eason looks like he did his freshman season, it's likely based on the rhetoric we'll see Fromm taking snaps at some point during the season.
Fromm wowed the crowd at G-Day by throwing a 42-yard touchdown to Jeremiah Holloman and leading his offense to victory.
But offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has been impressed with Eason's development, too.
“I’ll tell you what, there is not much he can’t do when it comes to throwing a football. He’s a talented young man," Chaney said.
But then Chaney pulled back a bit.
"He is not Drew Brees, he’s not in his 16th or 18th year, or whatever year he’s in – he can’t call the whole ball game, but he’s learning more and he’s getting more power within the offense as we go. I’d say his limitations are how big a scope of offense you go right now while he is still a work in progress," he said.
When it comes to Fromm, most of the comments are positive. Smart implied he's already doing a decent job running the offense.
Chaney wouldn't go so far as to say Fromm is the No. 2 guy ahead of Brice Ramsey, who returned for his final season. But he said-- similar to Smart-- that Fromm's competitive nature is keeping him right there in the mix.
He just needs a window of opportunity to open up.
"With all the competition we have, we are all going to get better, including me. So that’s a good thing about this room. I like it. It’s competitive," Chaney said. "Our job and I think Georgia’s job and everyone’s job is to make sure that room stays as competitive as it can for a long time. You want to have a good solid football program? Keep that room really nice.”