Why Everett Golson is perfect bridge to Jacob Eason for UGA
With so much uncertainty at the quarterback position for numerous ready-made, championship-caliber teams in the Southeastern Conference, the answer to many questions may very well not have been on campus during spring practices.
As it pertains to the University of Georgia, having, perhaps, the premier rushing attack in the conference — led by uber-talented running back Nick Chubb and his road grading offensive line — and a defensive unit laden with future NFL draft picks on each level, may not mean much if it can’t find an ideal option to be a signal-caller.
Armed with a brand spanking new offensive coordinator, former St. Louis Rams OC Brian Schottenheimer, and one season before the best prep prospect since Matthew Stafford steps foot on campus, now would be the best time for the UGA program to exhaust all options for the successor to fifth-year senior Hutson Mason.
A quick scan of the roster reveals potential starters in Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park. While there’s undoubtedly talent there, I’m not quite sure any of them are top-flight starters in the SEC.
And let’s be honest here; all of them may be keeping the seat warm for the 6’5″, 210-pound 5-star recruit Jacob Eason.
That’s why the potential landing of Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson makes all the sense in the world. UGA is as talented as any team in the conference, which is nothing new, so going all-in should be a top priority when the playing field appears to be as leveled as it’s ever been in.
And that’s not to mention UGA has an offensive pilot whose adept at a plethora of schemes which could cut down on the learning curve for one Mr. Golson.
Moreover, it would go a long way into crushing a certain underlying tone that has been floated about throughout our great community.
Golson Is Better Than Advertised
I can all but guarantee most of you roll your eyes at the mention of Golson due to the fact that he’s been labeled turnover prone by the vast majority of the media.
As someone who is entrenched in the media via multiple platforms, I’m here to tell you: 95 percent of the media only goes by what the five percenters present to them.
I’m being completely serious.
Groupthink takes on a whole new meaning when all it takes is a quick Google search to formulate an opinion you’re not versed on in the least bit.
While it’s true that Golson threw 14 interceptions last season, which was theoretically only his second as a starter, a lot of that can be attributed to the Irish’s spread-to-pass, high-octane multiplicative scheme — which lacked a bona fide rushing threat that defenses had to game plan for.
But even with that being said, Golson still accounted for 37 touchdowns (29 passing and eight rushing) while falling just short of throwing for 3,500 yards.
And keep in mind these results were achieved with him being one season removed from sitting out an entire year due to academic issues. Imagine if he had been able to build on the momentum he created when he assisted the Irish to a BCS Championship appearance as a redshirt freshman.
Now transfer those thoughts with him playing on a team built to run the bejeezus out of the football like UGA is; Golson has a cannon for an arm and could replicate just about every concept Schottenheimer will throw out at him.
Coach Schott, first and foremost, loves to run the ball — which means the play-action game will be in full effect.
And although Notre Dame operates primarily out of a Shotgun alignment, head man Brian Kelly is equally in love with the play-action game.
Golson is a great ball-handler who can easily adapt to the back-to-the-basket fakes that will be prevalent in UGA’s schemes.
He can also add value to the run game as he’s adept in zone-read principles, too. But moreover, he has the ability to manufacture first downs in the bolt-the-pocket game.
Here we get a chance to look at the polish of Golson, and his ability to affect an offense with his legs. He scanned from “Regular” to “Lucy” going through his primary and secondary reads.
He showed excellent pocket awareness — when the right side of the pocket was breached — by stepping up and manufacturing yardage.
Golson is a pocket-passer by DNA; he will always look to throw first before he detaches from the pocket.
Here’s an example of his ability to work the mid-range game from the pocket; he put a throw over the underneath coverage on an out-route while standing tall in collapsing surroundings.
Golson throws a very catchable ball and gives taller targets a chance to make plays by throwing it higher than most. He’d have fun throwing to a target like UGA’s future star tight end Jeb Blazevich, all 6’5″, 248 pounds of him.
Additionally, Golson’s arm strength would be on full display with the vertical concepts of Schott’s scheme — specifically when targeting senior speedster Malcolm Mitchell and his sophomore predecessor Isaiah McKenzie.
Case in point: Look at the placement of this ball on this “Bang 8.”
Golson played is a scheme that’s predicated on accuracy in the quick game, he’s shown some serious skill in the mid-range game and he throws an excellent deep ball. The fact that he will finally play two seasons in a row needs to not be glossed over, either.
A creative coach like Schottenheimer would salivate at the thought at acquiring a signal-caller with this type of skill set.
And, most importantly, it would go a long way to erasing a certain stigma that’s been associated with the UGA program here in Atlanta’s urban culture.
Richt An Equal Opportunity Employer?
It’s always tough to deal with racial issues in regard to sports, but you’d be ignorant as all get out to say it doesn’t exist.
With that being said, there’ a common theme among a portion of the African-American community which believes the Georgia Bulldogs don’t like QBs of color. As an African-American sports writer from the best city in the world, Atlanta, I’ve been privileged enough to get accounts of sports topics not commonly associated with the mainstream view.
And I’d be lying if I say I haven’t had that sentiment expressed to me hundreds of times by hundreds of people.
Of course I roll my eyes at it as I believe the best player should always play, regardless of skin tone. Additionally, I roll my eyes at the thought of UGA’s head man Mark Richt somehow being prejudiced.
I first came to know about Richt when he helped guide former Heisman Trophy winner, and African-American QB, Charlie Ward as the OC for the Florida State Seminoles.
Even to this day he finds ways to reference his time with Ward as some of the best days of his life. But most will mention only the presence of D.J. Shockley, for all of one season, as the lone QB of color in Richt’s 14 seasons in Athens.
But if anyone believed Shockley gave Georgia a better chance to win over long-time starter David Greene they certainly had an undertone to their beliefs, as well.
And who can argue that there were better options than Matthew Stafford and, perhaps, the greatest QB in the program’s history, Aaron Murray? I do know that Richt really wanted to procure Clemson future star Deshaun Watson, from Gainesville, Ga., before he decided to go elsewhere.
I do understand why a state with a high-percentage of affluent African Americans would want someone of their own to hold such a distinguished position, but I believe we are reading too much into it.
There will one day be a black superstar QB in Athens as a long-time starter, but we’ll have to settle for just being one of the best teams in all of college football for the time being.
However, we can get a preview if Golson were to somehow find his way on the team; and I, for one, hope it happens.
But those prospects will still have to wait after Mr. Eason settles in Between the Hedges.