Spring Recap: Quarterbacks
Reviewing each of Georgia's position groups following G-Day
Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff (12) during the G-Day scrimmage on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Now that Georgia’s spring practice has ended, it’s time to do a wrap of the position groups before they start summer workouts in June,
Today, we will start with the quarterbacks.
This past weekend, Georgia played all four scholarship quarterbacks at the annual G-Day spring game.
The quartet of signal-callers combined for 85 pass attempts with a 69 percent completion rate, which is a good thing in the grand scheme of things.
Georgia was missing two of its top three receivers from a season ago. So, the Bulldogs had several young pass-catchers step up and haul in receptions.
The biggest was former three-star and freshman Adonai Mitchell, who caught seven passes for 107 yards and a score. Redshirt senior Demetris Robertson also hauled in four receptions for 88 yards and a score, while sophomore tight end Darnell Washington had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, starter JT Daniels led the program with 324 passing yards and four touchdowns, but sophomore Carson Beck made a real case for the backup position heading into the summer. The Jacksonville, Florida native completed 22 of 31 passes for 232 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Beck looked sharp and had a lot of confidence inside the pocket. Freshman Brock Vandagriff also impressed as he showed off his rocket arm while completing six of nine for 47 yards. Stetson Bennett was the other scholarship quarterback, who completed three of four passes for 58 yards.
There really weren’t many negatives other than the fact that some of the quarterbacks took sacks this past Saturday. Ultimately, that falls on the offensive line, but there were some situations where Daniels, Beck and Vanagriff could have gotten rid of the ball better.
This kind of stuff happens in a spring game when the line is assembled just quite yet. It’s only spring practice and the starters have been named. Thus, there hasn’t been a time for the starting quarterback and his offensive line to gel yet. It doesn’t seem to be a major cause of concern because both groups can fix what happens before the season starts. There’s still a lot more to be learned moving forward.
All four guys displayed poise and determination on the field. The biggest takeaway is that Beck might be the leading candidate for the No. 2 spot heading into spring. Georgia fans didn’t get to see a lot of Beck in 2020 and wondered if he would even stay with the team in the near future, especially with the addition of Vandagriff and commitment from five-star Gunnar Stockton.
Well, it seems like Beck has been working and progressing since arriving on campus in January of 2020. Vandagriff has a long way to go, but he did play well. The former Prince Avenue stand-out got to display his speed on a few scrambles during his time on the field. Having Bennett back is invaluable to the Bulldogs. He has game experience and is a person in the locker room that has respect from his teammates. In case Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken need him again, be rest assured that Bennett will be ready.
Quotes from G-Day surrounding the QB position:
On the quarterback room...
"I do not know,” Smart said. “Top to bottom, I certainly feel really good about all four of them. I do not know that I could ever say that I had four that I was confident about. These four, I feel really good about. I think they are good football players. I think they are bright, they are intelligent, they challenge themselves. It is hard to compare it to other years. We have certainly had a talented quarterback room before, but with four guys you feel good about, it is hard to have that in college football. I thought they challenged themselves, and we set our practices up where they get to develop. You only got to see a piece of that today, and it is unfortunate. Today, there was only one quarterback on the field at a time. In our practices, a lot of times there are two out there, and there are more reps available. We are trying to get their growth to happen a little faster than it would normally without getting the reps."
On how important it was for the offense to have JT Daniels for the full spring…
"He's got command of the offense; he's got an ability to utilize the pocket,” Smart said. “We work on that each and every day. Coach Monken is always driving that home with him, his ability to move in the pocket, step up. The offensive line has got to protect him and get him an opportunity. There were times today there were four-man rushes. We got some pressure, guys got pushed back into him. I think that is important -- allow him to step up in the pocket, move around and make plays down the field. But he has command of it, he understands it. The key is his decision-making process. We know the quarterback position there is probably a decision that has to be made every single play, and he manages that really well, fortunately."
On JT Daniels’ growth in commanding the offense…
“It’s hard to say there’s a discernable difference because I felt like he had a really good command last year,” Smart said. “You know, I never went into a game, with the Mississippi State game probably the most unknown, but he had a command then. He has command now. I think he has a better understanding of his weapons, a boatload more reps of each one of those. I’m excited about what he can do. The decision-making is everything for that position. Get us out of a bad play, get us to the next play, play for the next down. Use four downs when possible and use a guy who can make us right. I know he’s gotten better, but a discernable difference it’s hard to say. He had a good feel, a good command for the offense, even last year.”
On Carson Beck’s spring season…
“He had some good spring scrimmages. He had some good outings out there in the spring. We thought he could throw the ball well. He had a really good practice on Thursday. In terms of taking command of the offense, making decisions, using the players around him. He’s got a really good pocket presence. He’s natural at not moving in the pocket. He’s not a burner, he’s not going to run out there and outrun you, but they still have to tackle him, and he’s a big man when it comes to live play. But I’m pleased with his progress. I think he got better. You know, Carson, he didn’t always have the focus he needed last year as a freshman in terms of preparation, academics, on the field, off the field, in the meeting room. Now, since we’ve started this spring, he’s taken notes, he’s got command of it better, he’s doing better academically, he’s got to be in the classroom. He’s trying to take a step forward and do some good things.”
Here is the Youtube video from Smart’s postgame press conference: