Three days remain until the season opener, and both Georgia and North Carolina have interesting situations at quarterback.
On Wednesday, both Larry Fedora and Kirby Smart discussed what they look for in that position, and how they’ve prepared for their counterpart during their weekly ACC and SEC teleconference.
Georgia’s quarterback competition has not yet come to a conclusion, as freshman Jacob Eason and senior Greyson Lambert are vying for the job. While Georgia is likely waiting to break the news in order to keep their opponent from knowing, Fedora believes that it doesn’t matter to them. The Tar Heels have maintained the same preparation, regardless of the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.
“We haven’t done anything different in our preparation (regardless of quarterback),” Fedora said. “We know there’s going to be a guy that’s under center that’ll be able to throw it and hand it off to Nick Chubb and the bevy of backs they have. They’re going to put a good player out there, because they have a lot of them at the University of Georgia.”
If Georgia is to start the veteran behind center, that may serve as an advantage for North Carolina. Fedora and the Tar Heels coaching staff have seen Lambert before during his time with Virginia. They are able to go into Saturday’s opener with at least a bit of knowledge if Lambert is to start, rather than having no record of Eason playing at the college level.
Fedora was asked what he liked about Lambert’s skill set, and he was able to recollect on his previous encounters with the former ACC quarterback.
“Greyson Lambert is a really good quarterback (from what I remember),” Fedora said. “He can throw it, he can run it, he does a great job with play action fakes and he can move around a little bit.”
While Georgia’s quarterback battle isn’t yet finalized, Smart expanded on what he looks for from his future starter. His goals for his quarterback are a bit cliché, but they serve as a good indicator as to what the new Georgia head man believes, that doing the little things right can lead to success.
“I look for a guy that efficiently controls the offense, makes great decisions, protects the ball and can communicate,” Smart said. “Ultimately, he must communicate with ten other people for us to be efficient, and that’s always a challenge in a dome. Overall, protecting the ball is the biggest thing, and when you get the opportunity to make plays, make them.”
Fedora nearly echoed the sentiments of Smart. The Tar Heels will start sophomore Mitch Trubisky as a replacement for Marquise Williams, who graduated after the 2015 season. Trubisky had a bit of exposure last season as the backup quarterback, but it’s now a new set of circumstances for the underclassman.
But Fedora feels confident of his starter, and expects him to be a game manager and believes the rest will fall into place.
“(We) expect him to take care of the football, number one,” Fedora said. “And number two, (we expect him) to take care of the ball. If he does those two things, we’ll have a great chance on Saturday and throughout the season. There will be a bit of a learning curve for him in terms of switching from a bench role to the starter.”
Smart was asked about Trubisky, after having the opportunity to study his game. Smart thinks highly of the North Carolina quarterback, and believes he has skills in every area necessary.
Trubisky has received a lot of hype entering his second season in Chapel Hill, and Smart can see why. His comments would lead many to believe that Georgia believes he’s one of the Tar Heels’ better offensive weapons. The Bulldogs will have to contain him to have success in the opener.
“From the sample size I’ve seen, I think he’s a really good player and athlete,” Smart said. “He actually runs the ball better than the guy they had last year. He also throws the ball efficiently, does great with his pocket mobility and is a good decision-maker. North Carolina does a great job with their run-pass option schemes, and he’s really fluent in getting the ball out (in those situations). He’s a good quarterback with a lot of experience.”