Fromm appears set at quarterback for No. 3 UGA’s opener
— The last remaining strand of drama in the Georgia quarterback competition may have disappeared when Jake Fromm was asked about possible starters at tailback.
Fromm, No. 3 Georgia’s returning starter, had complimentary comments about D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and other running backs on Monday before adding “I’m really excited to see who will be standing next to me when we go out for the first drive.”
First drive? starters.
That’s as close to a confirmation that has come from Fromm or coach Kirby Smart about quarterback plans for the Bulldogs’ opener against Austin Peay on Saturday. Smart has no plan to name a starter before the game. No announcement may be necessary.
Fromm has remained the starter since taking over for injured Jacob Eason in the 2017 opener.
“Jake’s been going with ones the whole time,” Smart said Monday.
Smart wouldn’t say if expects to play top freshman Justin Fields, who has pushed Fromm since spring practice .
“I think the game will dictate how we get to play those guys,” Smart said, adding “Both of these kids have practiced their tail off and both of them have done a good job in fall camp.”
Monday’s news conference was Fromm’s first of the preseason, and he discussed his two summer accidents. He said having a fishing hook stuck in his leg was only a minor inconvenience. A bigger issue came was a small fracture of his left ( non-throwing) hand when hit on a boat by a tow rope used for skiing.
Fields was ready for the start of preseason practice, That’s for though he is wearing a small brace on the hand.
“Honestly, I didn’t want coach Smart to find out until I really knew what was going on and how bad it really was,” he said. “I was trying to keep it kind of under the table, but it’s all good now and good to go.”
Fromm said he will soon have X-rays to determine if he needs to keep wearing the brace.
There might be a closer watch on future summer watersports.
“I haven’t decided it’s too dangerous yet,” he said. “We’re going to kind of play around with that and kind of see how much of it I can do and still stay safe. We’re going to kind of test those waters.”
Fromm may play a more important role as a passer this season after he enjoyed the luxury of handing off to senior tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb in 2017. He threw for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns and only seven interceptions and ranked ninth in the nation in passing efficiency.
Fromm led Georgia to the Southeastern Conference championship and a spot in the national championship game , where it lost to Alabama. Teammates say Fromm already is showing more leadership as a sophomore.
“He’s more outspoken, more talkative to people, trying to get our minds right before the play,” senior center Lamont Gaillard. “When he does his job, then everybody is going to be on the same page. Me and him, we just get on the same page and we know the offense is going right with us.”
Smart said he had not made Fromm available for interviews before Monday because he didn’t want his quarterbacks forced to answer questions about each other.
Smart said Fromm “commands a lot of respect” when asked to speak in front of the team.
“He’s one of our best leaders,” Smart said. “I think for Jake’s sake the most important thing he could do for this camp and even spring practice was be a better player and grow and get better. And he’s done that. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
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Saban not ready to make call on Bama’s starting quarterback TUSCALOOSA, Ala.
— Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t ready to answer the starting quarterback question, and frankly, he and his players are tired of hearing it.
For the record, Saban didn’t say Monday whether it will be Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa starting for the defending national champions in the season opener Saturday night against Louisville in Orlando, Florida.
His players had no fresh insights on the topic either.
“I’ve answered this question 100 times, maybe 200 times,” tailback Damien Harris said. “My answer hasn’t changed. The team feels the same way from the first time we ever got asked about it.
“I think at this point any other question about the quarterback situation needs to be directed toward coach Saban.”
As for Saban, he praised how both Hurts and Tagovailoa have performed in practice and handled the monthslong competition. He wouldn’t say if it was safe to assume the decision wouldn’t be made public until Saturday night.
“I don’t think you should assume anything,” Saban said. “If I’m ready to tell you, I’ll tell you. If I’m not, I won’t. So you can assume that. Is that fair?”
He was asked if both would see action in the first game, something he’s done in recent seasons with Hurts and Blake Barnett, and AJ McCarron and Philip Sims.
“Look, none of that’s been decided yet,” Saban said. “I wish we could talk about something else because I don’t really have anything else to say about it.”
It has been a hot topic among fans and media since the wee hours of Jan. 9, after all.
Tagovailoa and Hurts, a two-year starter, have been competing ever since the heroics of the freshman from Hawaii in the national championship game.
Alabama has won 26 of the 28 games Hurts has started. He complained early in fall camp about how coaches had handled his situation, saying they never asked how he felt.
But Saban later said that drew more attention outside the program and didn’t affect the team .
Tagovailoa helped bail the Tide out of a 13-point hole in the title game against Georgia , heaving the game-winning touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith. Hurts passed for only 21 yards in the first half.
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is left to prepare for both quarterbacks.
“Yeah, and one of them has only played a half and cranked the ball deep and really did a great job of throwing the football,” Petrino said. “We’ve been having to prepare for both of them. They both can run, and they’re both big, 225pound guys that can run with big hips that are hard to tackle.
“The thing we have to do is get in the position to make the tackle when they do run.”
There’s no escaping the question for Tide players. Even when they leave the state.
“Even when I went back home in May, people back home in Iowa would ask that,” center Ross Pierschbacher said. “I thought I escaped Alabama for a little while. Family members ask, too. That seems to be the topic everyone wants to talk about obviously. I don’t really know what to say.
“I don’t have much on it, honestly.”
Join the crowd.
Georgia sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm (left) takes a snap during a drill at a recent practice in front of freshman teammate and fellow quarterback Justin Fields.