These days, it seems we all have an opinion on the quarterback race at the University of Georgia. Everyone wants to know who will win and, beyond that, how that individual will fare once he’s anointed the coveted brass ring ‘starter’.
Greyson Lambert arrives this weekend, Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta are here and are assumed to be ahead of the newcomer, and Jacob Park is, well, he’s no longer Georgia’s problem. That said, the desire to glean as much insight from those who might be “in the know” is high because we know absolutely nothing about what’s going to happen and we’re all mighty anxious to find out.
Or, if you want the opinion of someone with a more seasoned bit of knowledge, you can always take a look-see at what David Greene had to say about how this thing will go down; but what I found interesting is what former starter DJ Shockley’s had to say about why Richt is likely loving every minute of the drama.
“What I know about Coach Richt is, he always wants competition at the quarterback spot, and that’s the reason why every year Georgia brings in a four-star, five-star guy. He wants it like that because if he (the quarterback) gets relaxed and rests on his laurels, starts thinking ‘I got this job,’ he may not get as good as he possibly could be,” Shockley said. “But if you’ve got somebody on your tail every single year, every single practice and if you mess up, you know there’s another guy who can take your spot, it forces you to get better each and every and each and every year (emphasis added). (Richt) having two, three or four guys on scholarship is just how he gets his guys prepared.” (Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com)
The thing that really made me take notice was the fact that Richt, even if he knows he’s got a guy who can play lights out, will still try to bring in a top prospect to sweeten the pot a bit.
How many other schools bring in a 5-star QB one year, sees him do well, and then turns right around and brings in another? There’s a reason that doesn’t happen and it has a lot to do with the threat of transfer. That’s certainly an issue that Georgia has experienced plenty—be it by threat of or actuality—over the years, at that spot.
Think back to the year when both Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray signed. Had Mettenberger stayed out of the headlines, the popular opinion back then was that one would have ended up bolting if the other won the job—Murray would later confess as much.
That same conversation happened every year when D.J. Shockley and David Greene were the players in question.
And again with each passing year of Hutson Mason’s eligibility.
Competition can be a good thing, if you’re talking about a position like defensive tackle or running back, but the quarterback position is so much more intimately involved with the rest of the players on the field. That’s a spot where uncertainty and inconsistency can become an Achilles heel. And while I understand that this is a team game, there is something to be said about knowing you’re the guy for the job—a certain level of security has to be had in order for you not to feel like you’re going to have the rug pulled from under you at any given moment.
Case in point, the tentative way Mason played at the start of last season, with the threat of Ramsey looming, framed his actions for the better part of the year, in my opinion. He didn’t truly get comfortable until it really didn’t matter all that much; of course losing Todd Gurley at a crucial point in the season didn’t exactly help matters, but it was clear that Mason never really felt he was “the guy” and perhaps he took less chances because of it.
Look, I’m not calling out Richt’s strategy as wrong. I get it. I do. I just hope with what he’s working with, the strategy doesn’t end up backfiring.