HOOVER, Ala. – From the day that Georgia head coach Kirby Smart stepped foot into his office, one of the big questions was the starting quarterback for the season opener in September. Fans are looking for a definite answer, and well, they’ve yet to get one.
Smart stood firm in his same philosophy, and will go through fall practice until naming a starter. He says the choice will solely be based on the performances in practices and scrimmages.
“We’re going to play the best player that gives us the best opportunity to win football games, and I don’t know who that is,” Smart said during his session at SEC Media Days. “If I knew, I promise you, I would tell you. I would give you the information. But I don’t know that. And I think that a lot of those 28, 29 practices we have will tell us that. I mean, practices (will be able) to show the improvement and leadership that each guy has.”
Smart indicates the injury-riddled depth at running back may play a role in who starts behind center, again stating that dependability is of high importance. Also, as many people place a microscope on the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against North Carolina to open the season, Smart says that decisions made will focus on the longevity of the season, rather than only one game.
“We’ve got to look at the long term, not just the first game,” Smart said. “There’s more to this season than the first game. We’re not putting all our eggs in the first game basket. We have to figure out who will be our best leader and give us our best opportunity to win. And I don’t think that’s dictated by who the back is or if there’s a back healthy, or two backs healthy.”
Smart discussed the criteria that goes into play when determining who will play the starting role as Jacob Eason, Greyson Lambert, and Brice Ramsey will continue to compete for the starting job. He believes he has the right staff around him to make a logical decision, and one that gives his team the best chance to win.
“I think a lot of that is how he, that person, affects the rest of the offense,” Smart said. “Does he make every player on the offense better? That’s hard to measure. You know, that’s a decision you got to make subjectively as a coach. Coach Chaney and I will sit down and we’ll make that decision hopefully sooner than later.”
The competition between experienced quarterbacks has increased league-wide, but the talent is evident and Smart believes it’s beneficial for the league’s success.
“I think the ceiling is there for this conference,” Smart said. “We’ve proven that. There are a lot of question marks at quarterback. That may make a lot of defensive coordinators breathe easier this year. But in years past, you learn quickly that guys can arise and they have a lot of playmakers with them and they become really good players in the league.”