QB question to linger well into preseason camp

A lot has been said and written about Georgia’s quarterback competition this spring. But none of it has come from the principal parties. Not lately.

Not since the first week of spring practice in late March has anybody heard the thoughts of Faton Bauta, Brice Ramsey and Jacob Park, who are locked in a battle to become the Bulldogs’ starter next season. Georgia’s coaches kept the muzzle on them even after the quarterbacks put their wares on public display in the G-Day game Saturday.

Coach Mark Richt was asked to share his rationale on that tactic after the Bulldogs wrapped up spring drills with their last practice of the session Thursday.

“It’s just the big discussion, (and) they don’t have the answers for the questions that you have, in my opinion,” Richt said. “I just want them to focus on trying to get better. When we get a real, live pecking order, I think it will be the time for talk. But right now I didn’t want them to worry about media. I wanted them trying to learn what to do.”

There is a lot of circumstantial evidence floating around. It would appear that Jacob Park, a redshirt freshman from Goose Creek, S.C., is a distant third to the other two, based on opportunities and repetitions. When it was all said and done, Ramsey had 69 pass attempts — almost all with the No. 1 offense — while Bauta had 83, primarily with the twos. None of Park’s 30 attempts came with the first offense.

Overall, in three spring scrimmages, Bauta completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 578 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, while Ramsey was good on 55.1 percent of his throws for 625 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Pass passed for 315 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Despite that data and about 30 hours of video from 15 practices, Richt indicated that a decision on the starter likely won’t come until the third and last scrimmage of preseason practices in August.

“The scrimmages will be big,” Richt said. “We’ll have two scrimmages. We usually have three prior to the first game, but that third scrimmage is usually like a practice game. I’m hoping by then we’ll at least say who’s starting the first game. We’ll just have to see.”

Leading the way: Exiting spring practice without a starting quarterback leaves the Bulldogs with a void for offseason workouts this summer. Traditionally the No. 1 quarterback organizes and lead those volunteer practices during the period during which coaches aren't allowed to be with the team on the field.

Richt intimated that Bauta, a fourth-year junior who is scheduled to graduate this year, is capable of filling that role.

“Being the senior man in the group, I know he’s got the skills to do that,” Richt said of Bauta. “And I think Brice does, too. I’m not exactly sure how we’ll get that done, but that’ll be something we’ll discuss.”

Exchange issues: Richt apologized for being late to his post-practice briefings. He said he'd spent extra time on the field working with Ramsey and Brandon Kublanow on QB-center exchanges. Kublanow spent the majority of the spring at left guard, where he started all last season. But he still is being given heavy consideration as the starting center.

The Bulldogs had only one botched exchange in the G-Day game, when Isaiah Wynn sent a shotgun snap over the quarterback’s head. But Richt said exchanges won’t be the primary criteria. They’ll have all summer to work that out.

“We don’t know who the center’s going to be,” Richt stated flatly. “That’s the question. Kublanow’s capable. Isaiah Wynn is capable. I think Hunter Long is capable right now. Are they game-ready right this second? Probably not.”

Newcomer stands out: No one had more tackles in Georgia's intra-squad game than inside linebacker Natrez Patrick, who was playing high school football a few months ago. A four-star prospect out of Mays High, Patrick had eight tackles in the G-Day game. He probably created more buzz any of the eight early enrollees after moving inside from the outside linebacker position.

“He looks like he found a home there anyway,” Richt said. “I’m not saying he’s going to start or anything like that. I think he’s got a good body type and a good disposition to play that middle linebacker position. I think that was a good move for us.”

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks