Smart talks about the backup quarterback situation
Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff (12) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has to be happy that there’s a lot of depth at the quarterback position entering the upcoming 2021 season.
Last season, the Bulldogs had quite the quarterback controversy before finally turning to USC transfer J.T. Daniels, who was not healthy enough to play until the matchup against Mississippi State.
First, the projected starter was going to be Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman, however, he decided to opt-out three weeks before the start of the season, citing COVID-19 as his reason to sit. That led to the coaching staff turning to redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, who had brain surgery the previous year, but that experiment didn’t work out. So, backup Stetson Bennett IV took over for the majority of the 2020 season until Daniels was healthy enough to play.
Daniels is already going to be the starter against Clemson on Sept. 4. However, there seems to be no separation between Bennett, redshirt freshman Carson Beck and newcomer Brock Vandagriff for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. All three are strong options for the backup position, which is something that Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken are going to monitor closely as fall camp starts.
“Well, you know, I would judge fall camp as kind of a continuum,” Smart said. “We’ve got 24- 25 practices, so we’re going to get to watch those guys grow, compete and see what they do best, really see them develop.”
The sixth-year head coach added that Bennett, Beck and Vandagriff each bring their own set of strengths to the table.
“We’re going to move those guys around some,” Smart said. “…We’re very excited about Carson (Beck) and the growth he’s made since being here. Brock (Vandagriff), for a guy to just to come in the spring and get all this thrown at him this quick, you have to remember that Carson didn’t get this. It’s because Carson went through COVID-19, so he didn’t have this time for him to learn it in the spring. So, to see Brock absorb all this information and study it really hard, he is so diligent in studying. He’s growing fast.”
It seems like the race is more between Beck and Vandagriff; however, Smart didn’t leave out Bennett, who has been an underdog at Georgia ever since he set foot on campus in 2017.
“Now, with Stetson, he understands it,” Smart said. “Stetson knows our offense. He got a lot of reps last year and he’s helped the other quarterbacks in the room. So, each one has taken on their role in the right kind of way, in terms of our team.”
Check out Smart’s interview below: