Although Kirby Smart said Jacob Eason is “closer” to being able to play, Georgia’s head coach still wouldn’t say if the sophomore would return to his starting role once he’s cleared by team physicians.
“I want the one that’s going to give us the best opportunity to win,” Smart said during Monday’s press conference to preview Saturday’s game at Tennessee. “Who is that? I don’t know yet. It’s based on performance in practice.”
Eason returned to practice last week, but was not cleared to play in last Saturday’s 31-3 win over Mississippi State. He did dress out.
Smart did not know when he’d be ready.
"We'll bring him out there and see where he is just like we did last week. We think he's closer because last week he improved as the week went on. We expect the same thing," Smart said. "Again, I'm coming in here after three days off for him because he didn't do anything Friday. Then Saturday he went out and warmed up some, and Sunday he didn't do anything.”
Eason sprained his left knee in the first quarter of the game against Appalachian State. In his absence, Fromm has started and led the Bulldogs to their 4-0 record, completing 43 of 69 passes for 650 yards and seven touchdowns.
"I'm going to say it again. The focus for Jacob Eason is to get healthy and be part of this game plan and learn what to do. The focus for Fromm is to focus on improving and getting better," Smart said. "The point for both of them is to have team vision, to have the goal to make the team better. Both are working on that. It's not just about them individually. Jacob Eason has to focus on getting healthy, getting percent. Jake Fromm has to focus on getting better and improving. While they're both doing that, they both have the team goal and vision in mind.”