Kirby Smart shares latest thoughts on QBs, D'Wan Mathis progress
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is set to name a starting quarterback this week ahead of the Bulldogs’ game at Arkansas, as they officially move on from the Jake Fromm era. But he didn’t do it on Monday at his regular weekly press conference.
Since Jamie Newman’s decision to opt out, Georgia is largely left with a competition between Southern Cal transfer JT Daniels, who is not medically cleared yet following a knee injury, and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, who is recovering from brain surgery. Georgia also has Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett IV in the mix.
“We hope JT will be cleared by Saturday officially,” Smart said at a Monday press conference. “I’m excited about the guys that have competed. They’ve all done a good job. They’ve all taken reps. … Excited to see those guys go out and play.”
Smart was then asked about any possible setbacks caused by Newman’s opt out, which came after camp had started.
“With the rotation we had going, it probably didn’t impact us as much as it would have, had he been there the entire time,” Smart said. “We had mini-camp days I call them, one through 11, that he wasn’t able to go in throughout the first half of those, the later part is when he got there. We were able to give those reps to other guys and we were probably fortunate that it happened when it happened in terms of trying to get a guy ready. Because if it had gone up to this point or later, I can’t imagine where we’d be. But those reps would’ve been doled out to other guys, so they certainly would’ve got more and it was a concern of ours, when you start thinking about spring practice, being able to get the reps.”
Smart said the Bulldogs are excited about who they have, and he knows that whoever it is, is not going to be a guy who’s played a lot in the SEC.
In terms of Mathis’ personality, to recover from that kind of surgery, Smart said it speaks to his composure.
“He’s never been a real emotionally up or down guy, which I think is a pretty good trait at quarterback,” Smart said. “You look across at the four guys we’ve got, they’re very similar in that none of them get really high or really low, and they’ve had good days and they’ve had bad days out on the practice field when they’ve made bone-headed interceptions, or when they took sacks in two-minute (drills) they couldn’t take. None of them have handled them the wrong way. D’Wan is the same way. Going back to his surgery and his craniotomy, he’s been so resilient, and he’s earned the respect of so many people, with the way he managed it, and the way he came back from it, and the way he worked last year, and he’s been a model of consistency in terms of staying the course and continuing to work with a lot of the stuff has been out of his control. He hasn’t been able to control what the doctors said he could and couldn’t do.”