|New Enrollees: Marshall (l), Bauta (m), & Beard (r)|
Although my good friends over at The Leather Helmet Blog have already hipped most Georgia fans to a story on current Georgia enrollee, Faton Bauta, I wanted to add a few more thoughts of my own on this kid and how he may or may not change the way things are done at Georgia.
Faton Bauta seemed like a throw-in for the Georgia Bulldogs as his decision to sign on at Georgia became public after it appeared Hutson Mason could possibly transfer elsewhere. And while his presence on Georgia’s roster, under said circumstances, should not have been seen as an indictment of his capability as a potential starting quarterback—after all he did hold better than 20 D-I offers—it did give the impression that he was destined to either switch positions or act as a permanent backup to either Christian LeMay or Aaron Murray.
Well, don’t look now, but Bauta is talking about his goals for the future and none of them include him getting too comfortable being buried on Georgia’s depth chart.
“Wherever you go, you’ve got to beat somebody out to get to where you want to be, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Bauta said. “The reason why I’m here is because I’m a competitor, and I have been ever since I came out of the womb.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a kid who’s ready to take on all comers and the real question for Georgia fans has got to be, will the coaching staff really allow that level of competition to thrive in 2012?
Coach Richt has often been both praised and criticized for his loyalty to starters. Even when it seemed a player might need benching, he often let them play because he always felt more comfortable with veterans on the field. Any incoming player, no matter how talented, was going to get redshirted his first season—no matter how well he played in the spring.
Georgia’s last true dual-threat quarterback was D.J. Shockley. He waited four-years to get his chance.
Logan Gray saw limited action before being moved to wide receiver and, eventually, graduating and moving on to play elsewhere.
Hutson Mason is finally being granted the redshirt he desired just to get out of Murray’s shadow, but he nearly left, too.
Christian LeMay will be looking to make a push for playing time this season now that he’s had a year to learn and grow into the system, but some are already wondering if his role will be similar to the one Mason held last season.
In each of the above cases, the back-up had a very tough time cracking into the lineup and has often been relegated to working with the second and third string offense—something that often doesn’t give much indication to just how good of a quarterback a particular player has the potential to become.
The bottom line at Georgia, at least from surface-level observation, has been if you pay your dues, you get you’ll eventually get your chance.
I, for one, would love to see more competition at the quarterback spot this season because I believe a good challenge can only bring out the best in the players involved.
That said, even if Bauta doesn’t get his shot at QB this season, it doesn’t sound like he’s throwing in the possibility of helping out where he can.
“I’ve got to make a new name for myself here, and my game is going to be whatever helps this team win.”
Bauta played linebacker and running back in high school and was clocked running a 4.54, 40, and while many teams said he could have a future on defense as a linebacker or on offense as a tight end, he ultimately wants the opportunity to play quarterback for Georgia and he’s willing to put in the work to earn that opportunity.
Until then, he’s just going to keep doing what he’s always done—be a competitor—and let his work ethic and dedication speak for itself.
A bit more insight into Bauta’s progression as a quarterback and Georgia’s decision to recruit him as such can be found in the following excerpt from The Palm Beach Post:
When did Georgia first start hitting him?
They’ve been on pretty much the whole year. I think a lot of schools were hitting him as an athlete more than a quarterback. If you would have told me in the spring he’d be playing quarterback at Georgia or a big school, I wouldn’t have said … I would have been very hesitant, but I really believe he can now. He’s gotten that much better.
Has Georgia always wanted him as a quarterback?
I think they’ve always wanted him at quarterback because he’s always let everybody know. If he hadn’t gone there and said, I want to come here as a player, but I’m coming as a quarterback. If you don’t want me as a quarterback, I don’t want it. He didn’t want it. That’s his attitude.
What do you think Georgia sees in him as a quarterback, in the SEC, in their set?
I think they see that he can beat you as an athlete. He can take snaps under center, he can take be in shotgun, he can beat you as a spread quarterback, he can beat you running the football. He’s kind of like, I was thinking it today, he’s kind of become a version of [Tim] Tebow, as far as running the ball. I mean, he’s been very good running for us, but his throwing’s improved dramatically. He’s really got it all going for him right now.
Is there legitimacy to the Tebow comparison? Some might see the size, the running ability and compare any quarterback like that to Tebow because he’s so well known.
Well, I compare him now because Faton’s a winner. It seems like Tebow wills his way to things. Faton’s willed his way to being a great quarterback. His will is incredible. So, that’s what I think about comparing the two.