There are a few questions Georgia Football fans should be asking themselves 12 days before kickoff, how much of the offense will be based around Nick Chubb? How are the guys reacting to the new offensive coordinator? What will the defense be like in its second year under National Champion winning defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt? But, I think all Georgia fans should be most concerned with who will be under center on Saturdays this year for the Bulldogs.
With the 2016 overall #1 player in the nation, Jacob Eason, coming in next year, the bulldogs look like they have a bright future in the position. One recruit, Mecole Hardman Jr., says that the QB battle is “over with” when Eason arrives in Athens. But all fans must be concerned with who will be at the QB position this year, in 2015. The battle has recently been narrowed down to Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta, and Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert, after Jacob Park decided to transfer to Junior College. The three quarterbacks each have a unique skillset. Unfortunately, all three starters have a total of 9 starts under their belt, all coming from Lambert. Richt was just quoted Saturday after their inner-squad scrimmage saying that he was more confused after the scrimmage, than before it.
Most of my research tells me that Brice Ramsey will be the starter when the bulldogs take on UL Monroe on September 5th. In the G-day scrimmage this year, Ramsey completed 5 of 9 passes for 174 yards. In the past, Ramsey has shown signs of light, but it has been against poor opponents. Obviously, the 2nd string quarterback only goes in when there is an injury to the starter or the game is a blowout, but Ramsey has only seen one half of play against a ranked opponent. This came in 2014 in the Belk Bowl, when #13 Georgia took on #20 Louisville. I attended this game, and was not very impressed by Ramsey. He completed 4 of 9 passes for 51 yards and had an interception. I remember one play specifically, where Ramsey had a wide open Chris Conley stopped in the middle of the field probably 15 yards deep, and he hit him in the shoes. Of course, Ramsey did not have to do much because Chubb exploded for 269 yards on 33 carries. Who does that stat line remind you all of? Todd Grantham could not seem to stop Nick Chubb, and that made his performance a little sweeter. John Lilly, the tight end coach, was also calling the plays for Georgia in his first game in that position due to Mike Bobo’s leave to Colorado State. So, Georgia was in an unfamiliar position in the 2nd half with a new play caller and a 2nd string quarterback under center. Like I mentioned earlier, Ramsey has shown signs of light against weaker opponents. In 2014, he completed 10 of 12 passes for 92 yards against Charleston Southern, 5 of 5 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown against Kentucky, and his first action came against Troy where he completed 4 of 8 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. There is talk that Ramsey has improved much this offseason, but due to Mark Richt’s doubt, he obviously has not exploded onto the scene.
When Hutson Mason went down in the Belk Bowl, I saw Ramsey warming up with another guy who’s jersey read Bauta. Before that night, I had no idea who Faton was. This offseason, I have heard much talk about Faton Bauta’s accuracy, and leadership. He must have done something right if he is now in the race for the starting job. One would think that Ramsey would take over the job without question seeing that he was the backup last year, but that is not the case. This year’s G-day game is where Bauta made his rise. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. Bauta brings the skillset of mobility to the table for Georgia. He rushed for two touchdowns last year vs Troy, and 35 yards in this year’s G-day game. In every game he played in 2013, he rushed for more yards than he threw. Bauta and Ramsey both weigh roughly 215 pounds and are 6 feet 3 inches tall, but Bauta is a little bit faster. Ramsey has the edge in actual playing time, but with his recent success, do not be surprised if the starter is Faton Bauta come September 5th.
This brings us to the last player fighting for the job, Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert. In 2013, he saw time as a backup, but it was not until 2014 that he earned the role as a starter. Lambert played a substantial amount at Virginia last year, completing 154 of 261 passes with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He clearly has the edge in playing time over both Ramsey and Bauta, but has not really showed anything too special. His best game came against a future playoff team in Florida State where he finished with 3 touchdowns and only 1 interception along with 220 yards. Virginia lost the game, but Lambert showed promise against a very tough defense. He is more of a pocket passer when compared to Bauta, and has three inches on both him and Ramsey. The website lists him as 220 pounds, but I would say he is pushing 230. Lambert is built to last through a rigorous 12 game SEC schedule. The only drawback for Lambert is that he is very new in the classic city. He is not as used to the playbook or players around him as the other two competitors. Not only that, but the environment and defenses vary conference to conference, so this all is very new to Lambert. Throwing 11 interceptions with an ACC schedule could be dangerous when moved to the slightly more powerful SEC defenses.
Each of the three competitors fighting for the job have their pros and cons. Whomever it may be, will have an excellent rushing attack to fall back on, as well as an experienced receiving corp. The defense will also have become more accustom to their 2nd year coordinator. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is sit here and make predictions. It is not up to us who starts the first game. Mark Richt and his new offensive coordinator will make that decision sometime within the next week or so.
If you are not glued to ESPN this week waiting for Richt to name the starter, then I don’t know if you can call yourself a Georgia fan.