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Stetson Bennett the greatest Dawg? Who's the next QB? | 4 UGA lingering questions

What comes next, and what does a "threepeat" champion Dawgs team, if there might be one, look like?
Credit: AP
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) celebrates hos touchdown against TCU during the first half of the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

ATHENS, Ga. — It's way too soon to start throwing around the "D-word" - dynasty - with regards to this run the Georgia Bulldogs are on, but after a historic shellacking of TCU to secure back-to-back titles on Monday night, it's inevitably going to at least be a twinkle in the eye of some fans and commentators.

As the Dawgs await a celebratory parade and bask in the glow of what they've done, we're brought to questions about where they're headed - what comes next, and what does a "threepeat" champion Dawgs team, if there might be one, look like?

There's also the matter of placing this Dawgs team in the history books, a question and a debate that will likely never truly be settled - but will nonetheless be fun to argue about a lot.

RELATED: 'We hunted tonight' | Here's what Kirby Smart and Stetson Bennett said after Georgia's national title

With that in mind, let's start where we ended Monday night - with Stetson Bennett and his place in UGA history.

Is Stetson Bennett the greatest Dawg of all time?

If you're inclined to listen to Kirby Smart's assessment of things, then it's a clear yes. Aaron Murray, the former star quarterback for the Dawgs, agreed - his opinion might carry some weight, as UGA's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

This is a complicated question of course, and it's not going to be settled in the next couple of paragraphs. 

There are players who have arguments for having much brighter talents than Bennett - Matt Stafford, Herschel Walker, and Nick Chubb. And those who amassed more statistically, like David Greene or Murray.

There are players of historical significance against whom it's nearly impossible to compare Bennett - Fran Tarkenton, Frankie Sinkwich, Charley Trippi. And there are defensive legends, such as Champ Bailey or David Pollack, against whom a comparison is near-impossible.

But none of them went back-to-back and certainly not in the (theoretically) more competitive College Football Playoff era. That's a pretty, pretty tough mountain of achievement to climb your argument up against in favor of anyone else.

Can the Dawgs threepeat? 

They've got Kirby Smart, so you can't exactly count them out.

The college football landscape is also about to change significantly - C.J. Stroud is leaving Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh may leave Michigan, Bryce Young is leaving Alabama - and, of course, Stetson Bennett will move on from Georgia (among others).

It's obviously way too early to say, but ESPN, at least, already has them No. 1 in their way-too-early 2023 rankings, nothing the strengths UGA boasts in of returning defensive starters such as Mykel Williams and Malaki Starks - to say nothing of Smael Mondon, Javon Bullard or Jason Dumas-Johnson.

The biggest question would be quarterback - but, as noted above, that's a question that most of the other top programs face. 

What we can say is that at least right now, there isn't an obvious, towering roadblock between the Dawgs and a threepeat.

Who's going to play quarterback next year?

Hey, speaking of Stetson Bennett - a tough act to follow, huh?

Right now the presumed 2023 starter appears to be Carson Beck. But, let's remember, he's been in this position before.

It's hard to believe now, but at the time J.T. Daniels got hurt toward the start of the 2021 season, it was an open question of whether Bennett or Beck would be the man going forward.

Obviously, history settled that question - but now we find ourselves back at Beck.

His numbers, limited though they may be, are actually pretty good. When he got end-of-game action this season, he usually played well - completing more than 74% of his 35 pass attempts spread across seven games, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

It's not an extensive record, but it's probably enough of one to feel confident about giving you a chance to start next season. However, it's obviously not clear what kind of stock Coach Smart puts into that and where he sees Beck's standing. He had to make a choice between Beck and someone else once before, after all, and he went the other way.

The other primary option would appear to be Brock Vandagriff. By contrast with Beck - who was not widely considered a real premium recruit - Vandagriff was one of the stars of his class when he committed to UGA in 2021.

We've never really seen Vandagriff play, but Smart obviously liked him enough to recruit him to Athens. You have to figure there's at least a chance Kirby wants to see what he can do.

After that, there's incoming freshman Gunner Stockton, who's a fairly heralded recruit - but it seems wildly out of style for Smart to go with a freshman QB.

There's always the transfer portal - maybe Smart has plans on a veteran QB leaving another program, like ex-Oregon State QB Chance Nolan, or Spencer Sanders leaving N.C. State. You never know.

Will the Dawgs lose any of their coaching staff?

Again, you never know, but it wouldn't seem so.

It's always possible they lose an assistant here or there in the sprawling carousel of college coaching changes, but they seem solidly set in their core coaching hierarchy.

Acknowledging that - anytime a team is winning, there's going to be speculation about programs wanting to get a piece of the pie. 

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken is seen as an Xs and Os guru who helped tailor the offense to the best of Bennett's talents. He's been a college head coach previously, at Southern Miss, and had NFL jobs as well. You can't rule out he might want a return either to a head coaching role or to the NFL environment. But his name also hasn't appeared to come up in a ton of rumors.

You can largely say the same about defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. He's had middling runs as the head coach at Florida and South Carolina in the past, and he also had a brief stint in the NFL when he was on Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins staff.

Muschamp is a UGA alum and seems to enjoy his place at the school and playing a part in its rise as a power. Like with Monken, his name hasn't seemed to come up in a ton of rumors to this point.

There's always a chance the right job comes along, but for a program coming off so much success, UGA seems to be in a sweet spot when it comes to keeping its staff together.


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