Monday notebook: Smart on QBs, Injury updates, & More

Anthony Dasher, Editor
GA Varsity
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Kirby Smart continues to keep reporters and opponents guessing regarding his starting quarterback.

Although Jake Fromm has opened for four straight games, leading the 5th-ranked Bulldogs to a 5-0-mark, Smart did not rule out Jacob Eason from getting the nod in Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt (Noon, ESPN).

“It will be just like last week; it will be evaluated in practice,” Smart said. “I do think that Jacob is closer to 100 percent. Obviously, last week he didn’t get cleared until somewhere around mid-week so it wasn’t very long for him.”

Smart said the same prior to last week’s game against Tennessee, before starting Fromm for the fourth consecutive week.

Eason did play, coming in midway through the fourth quarter. He only attempted one pass.

“We felt it was important for him to knock the rust off and he felt like he did that,” Smart said. “So, it will be determined in practice this week, just like we do the other positions.”

Smart declined to say when asked directly if Fromm would get the start.

“Again, we compete every position every week. It’s not something we have to announce,” Smart said. “Just like we’re not going to start announcing who the starting left and right cornerback is. We’re going to announce it based on how they practice.”

Either way, having two quarterbacks the caliber of Eason and Fromm is certainly a good problem to have.

It beats the alternative.

“They are different quarterbacks, but in some ways, they do some of the things similar. They will continue to compete in that regard, and it is comforting to know that you’ve got two experienced, where last year we really had one experienced and going into this year we had one experienced quarterback,” Smart said. “Now we like to think we’ve got two that have played at least a complete season or four games in the case of Fromm — five games or four and a half.”

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Smart doesn’t expect Bellamy to be affected

Davin Bellamy left Georgia’s win at Tennessee with an undisclosed injury to his left hand. He later returned wearing a club.

“I hope it won’t affect his play a lot. He will probably have the club on there for practices for a while and maybe in the game we’ll be able to give him a splint or a little less,” Smart said. “He should be fine. He is going to practice today and go with it. The position he plays doesn’t have him carry the ball or catch the ball a lot, so it’s going to be striking and block protection stuff that he’s going to use it for.”

• Smart did not offer any details on linebacker Reggie Carter, although a source tells UGASports that the senior linebacker is dealing with a concussion.

“He will be day-to-day,” Smart said. “We will find out in the next 24-48 hours where he is at and see if he can go. We hope to have him available. “

• Earlier, Smart said that defensive lineman Trenton Thompson will miss Saturday’s game with a sprained MCL. You can read about it here.

Smart still pushing for more Red Zone success

One wouldn’t think Smart would have many complaints about his offense’s work in the Red Zone.

After all, his Bulldogs rank first in the SEC, having scored all 19 of their trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Au contraire.

“Again, our efficiency rating is based from scoring touchdowns over field goals and that’s not perfect,” Smart said. “There’s a lot more to it with scoring four more points on a touchdown than the other.”

For those counting, 14 of Georgia’s 19 trips have resulted in touchdown for the Bulldogs, who also rank first in the conference in Red Zone defense, allowing just seven scores in 10 trips by opponents.

“The ability to run the ball better helps. Everyone thinks the efficiency is great, but we have to score touchdowns. We had a situation the other day where we had to kick a field goal, two field goals, but we want to score touchdowns,” Smart said. “Obviously, we have focused on it, which has been a big help and we have executed better. It’s not that I thought we were doing anything wrong before. We’re just doing what we’re doing a little better.”

Shurmur praised by Smart

Color Smart impressed with Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur.

In five games, Shurmur has thrown for 985 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Commodores, a fact Georgia’s head coach reminded the media of during Monday’s press conference.

“First of all, he is very intelligent and does a great job with their offense. He will be the best pure passing quarterback that we have played against,” Smart said. “He does a really good job of putting them in the right play. You know he looks at the right things. He reads the coverages. He puts the ball where it is supposed to be thrown and does a really good job of doing that. So, it will be our biggest test from a quarterback standpoint defensing the quarterback as far as a thrower.”

Shurmur set a Vanderbilt sophomore record with 2,409 passing yards last year.

“They have some good wideouts with them, so I have a lot of respect for him,” Smart said. “I thought from our game last year — he was still kind of growing up in our game — and then from our game on he played lights out, really good, and has only improved.”

This and that

Nick Chubb was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. … Announcers for Saturday’s game on ESPN will be Mike Patrick and Tommy Tuberville.

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