Posted: 11:23 am Thursday, September 1st, 2016
By Jay Black
It looks like we finally have our answer to the question Bulldog Nation has asked itself 5,091,183 times (give or take) since Jacob Eason officially signed with the Dawgs in February.
And the answer is no.
Jacob Eason will not start the opener against North Carolina.
On the surprise meter, this rates at about a 3. For a couple of weeks during the August camp, I started to talk myself into the notion that Kirby Smart would go with talent over experience. But I didn’t think he’d do it.
And he didn’t. Smart made the safe and (gulp) smart choice. At least for now.
I know there is nothing exciting about seeing Greyson Lambert trot out there again. And I know it doesn’t go with the “starting a new era” script. From the time Smart was hired until now, Georgia Bulldog football has been all about excitement.
But honestly, do you really think this game is the place to throw a freshman out there and “see what he’s got?”
North Carolina is a legit college football team that has a real chance to beat Georgia. Yes their defense might have played the worst game in the history of college football against Baylor in the bowl last season, but they are a serious contender to win their division again.
The evidence is strong against true freshman QBs succeeding in the SEC. According to CBS Sports only 15 started half their team’s games in the last 20 years. Only five led their team to a winning record. The QB with the most passing yards in that span was UGA’s Quincy Carter with 2,484.
Carter is the last true freshman to start the opener for the Dawgs. And was he was a 30-year-old washed up minor league baseball player (ok he was 21).
It’s been 10 years since a true freshman QB even started a game at Georgia and that was Matt Stafford. You know, hot shot kid out of high school with some mediocre vets in front of him. Sound familiar? Well his freshman season wasn’t exactly great. Stafford barley completed half his passes and had almost twice as many INTs to TDs (7-13). Stafford really didn’t shine until the final game of the season, leading the big comeback win over Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl.
In fact of all the QBs on that list, only Chris Leak won a national championship.
Remember back to the G-Day game, where we saw Eason show multiple flashes of his talent. But he also got “sacked” more than he should and looked confused by “blitzes” from second-team defenses that couldn’t hit him. His time will come, but it won’t be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
If things go bad, do you really want to run the risk of a potential disaster?
“Not being named the starter can take some of the outside pressures off of you,” said UGA radio analyst and former true freshman starting QB Eric Zeier. “I will say this for freshman coming in, you learn while you’re playing the game.”
And it’s very possible Eason will start playing the game in the second quarter.
But consider this, is Greyson Lambert really that bad? Don’t get me wrong, he’s not getting his number retired or anything. But he is in the UGA record book five times.
The fifth-year senior owns four UGA records. Three are related to that 24-for-25 night against South Carolina which is the most efficient game in NCAA history. But Lambert also owns the school record for lowest interception percentage at 0.78. He threw two last year in 256 attempts. And he completed 63 percent of his passes for the season (sixth all time at Georgia).
Yes I know, Brian Schottenhemir didn’t take any chances with Lambert and it showed, so these numbers are skewed. But it does show there’s at least a little bit of talent, right?
Speaking of Schottenhemir, he’s gone and Jim Chaney is in. Chaney is the veteran of veteran college offense coordinators with some decent success coaching up QBs. He’s not a miracle worker, but who is to say he won’t get the most of Greyson.
At least he might throw to a tight end once or twice.
So I know there are factions of Bulldog Nation that are disappointed the Great Kirby Coronation won’t be led by the shaggy haired savior Jacob Eason.
You’ll just have to wait.
But I doubt the person who said patience is a virtue was an SEC football fan.