Posted: 12:35 pm Friday, September 22nd, 2017
By Jay Black
I’ve gotten this question quite a bit since the G-Day game and I’ve heard it a lot more in the last three weeks.
I heard it again earlier this week from a radio colleague while sitting on the media shuttle at the TOUR Championship (it’s golf, don’t worry about it). What do you think of Jake Fromm? Is he better than Jacob Eason?
Bulldog Nation has sort of split into two camps since the freshman from Warner Robbins tore up a bunch of walk-ons in the April scrimmage. The fractions have split further since the previous savior messed up his left knee and Fromm grabbed the reins and kept the horse from running into the woods.
I’ll admit I did shrug off Kirby Smart and those that were hyping up JakefromStateFromm (bonus points for the twitter header). But obviously I’m impressed with how he’s handled his new leading role.
However my answer to that question from two paragraphs ago is “Fromm hasn’t done enough to go into the Hall of Fame yet.”
My buddy responded, “has Eason?”
Sadly we still don’t what sophomore Jacob Eason is and I’m still concerned how good he will be, if and when he returns this season. Knee injuries, even if nothing is torn, are no joke. But that’s an issue for another day.
The issue at hand for this day is: Georgia — for the ninth straight time — is going into an SEC game with a freshman quarterback.
Fromm teammates clearly love him. I’m not in the meeting rooms, but I can certainly believe what everybody tells me that this kid is a football gym rat. He studies hard, learns the playbook, practices his tail off and knows what he’s supposed to do.
But he’s a freshman QB in the SEC. Knowing what you’re supposed to do and actually being able to do it is another matter.
His coach has leveled more praise on his freshman QB than any other player on this team this year. Or at least to the media (probably because we keep bringing it up).
“I think he’s been thrust into a role where he has to communicate more with other players on the field and he’s handled that really well.” Kirby Smart said on the Kirby Smart Report earlier this week on WSB. “When somebody is not right he corrects them and he does it respectfully and does it the right way. He doesn’t set older players off. I think he they value his leadership and they look to it.”
Older players like wide receiver Terry Godwin.
“He’s developed a lot from when he first got here to now. He’s grown. He’s mature,” said UGA’s number one receiver on Monday. “It means a lot to us to know that we have somebody back there that can tell the OL, the receivers, and the backs what to do.”
So that’s two pretty important pieces to have as a quarterback. Fromm’s leadership and knowledge eclipse his age.
But there’s also the issues of talent and performance.
There’s no doubt Jake is talented, but his performance is that of an 18-year-old. Fromm is playing like a freshman. There are flashes of good and flashes of not so good.
As my dad has always told me, life is about choices, and right now this freshman hasn’t quite mastered those decisions on the football field.
“We’ve talked to him about decision-making, and we keep making it about that,” Smart said Wednesday in his SEC teleconference. “The mistakes he’s made have been those kinds of things as opposed to just making good decisions. We continue to encourage him to make better decisions.”
What a shocker. An 18-year-old that can improve his professional decision making.
In three games Fromm has three turnovers. None of which you can classify as good (fumbled hand off, pass to a guy covered tight, getting blasted while trying to scramble for a first down).
But the bigger issue is, no one is scared of him yet. Which means an offensive line that may or may not be mediocre is going to have a hard time opening up holes for the true stars of this team, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
“If we can’t throw the football or at least threaten vertically,” said UGA color analyst Eric Zeier, “it could be a long night.”
Mississippi State doesn’t have these issues. They might have the best quarterback in the SEC. Nick Fitzgerald is a veteran who knows how he’s going to beat you and can actually do it.
Georgia’s QB certainly knows how he’s going to win this game, but the question remains, can he actually pull it off?
If he can, this season might be something. If he can’t, well, as Zeier said, we could be in for a long night.