The Georgia Bulldogs are off to a 5-0 start this season and are ranked behind Alabama as the #2 team in the country. However, Georgia’s last two wins have been far from impressive. And while there are many reasons that can be attributed to these sloppy back-to-back performances, the play of quarterback Jake Fromm has become particularly concerning.
If you look at the stat sheet, Fromm has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. His completion percentage and quarterback rating are extremely impressive. But there have been two particular things that have become a cause for concern about his play during the last two weeks: pocket presence and the flow of the offense as a whole when he’s under center.
Against Missouri and Tennessee, there have been a multitude of plays where Fromm simply lacks pocket presence and is holding onto the ball for too long. This has resulted in sacks and several fumbles. These mistakes haven’t come back to haunt Georgia in the end, but a better team like LSU or Kentucky will undoubtedly make the Dawgs pay for similar mistakes. Fromm has to get rid of the ball quicker and have more awareness in the pocket or Georgia will be in for a rude awakening when the team plays more elite defenses.
The flow of the offensive unit when Fromm is in the game recently has just been off. Sloppy execution, conservative play-calling, and too many plays stopped for no gain or a loss are some of the things that come to mind here. Have defenses finally figured Fromm out? It’s hard to truly say why the offense has sputtered recently with Fromm at the helm, but it has to be concerning for those watching. Can this be fixed? If so, how long do we wait to see if it can be fixed?
This is where backup quarterback Justin Fields comes into play. He hasn’t had as big of a role in the offense this season as some thought he might. But how he was used this past weekend against Tennessee may signal that he is closing the gap between himself and Fromm. Usually, Fields has only been used in “mop-up” duty when the game is well in hand for Georgia. That was not the case against Tennessee.
Fields came into the game with the Dawgs only up 12 points and the offense seemed to come to life with him in the huddle. Fields scored two rushing touchdowns in this game and have everyone a glimpse of how adding the additional element of a running quarterback to Georgia’s offense really can make this unit truly unstoppable.
Make no mistake, I am not calling for a changing of the guard here. But one has to wonder if there’s a now real possibility that Fields will see significantly more snaps early in games and could possibly start for the Dawgs at some point this season.
My fear is that Georgia’s opponents are simply going to stack the box defensively and limit the impact of the Dawgs’ rushing attack. With Fromm in the game, he poses little to no threat of running the ball. With Fields in the game, defenses will have to respect his running ability which will inevitably open up holes for the running backs. Fields’ skill gives the Georgia offense an element the team hasn’t had in recent years and one that may be necessary to compete for an SEC championship.
Georgia hasn’t opened up the playbook very much with Fields in the game so we truly don’t know how capable he could be at commanding an offense in a high pressure situation. But if Georgia’s offense struggles with execution and flow against Vanderbilt for a third straight week with Fromm under center, Kirby Smart may truly have a quarterback controversy on his hands.
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