JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As a freshman Jake Fromm was the SEC freshman of the year and led Georgia to the SEC Championship game. If that wasn’t enough the Bulldogs were a play or two away from winning the National Championship. That’s pretty good run for your first year on campus. But as Jacob Eason learned a year ago you can't afford to slip. Justin Fields was an early enrollee and the 5-star quarterback didn’t sign with Georgia to sit on the sidelines and hold a clip board.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart hasn’t declared a starter and said it’s an open competition between the two young quarterbacks. It’s hard to read too much into a spring game but here are a couple of quick notes from the annual G-Day game where the black team beat the red team 21-13.
One of the reasons Jake Fromm was able to stay on the field last season, even after Jacob Eason was healthy enough to play, was because of his ability to take care of the football. He finished his freshman season with 24 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. That’s a ratio that most coaches can live with from a true freshman quarterback. On Saturday Fromm never seemed to get into a rhythm. He threw an early pick-six to defensive back Deandre Baker. The sophomore QB did settle down late in the fourth quarter when he hit Riley Ridley for a 57-yard bomb. Fromm went 19-of-32 for 200 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
In spring games the defense isn’t allowed to touch the quarterback so it’s tough to evaluate a true duel threat like Justin Fields. When a play broke down he showed the ability to make plays with his legs. However Georgia’s defense was credited for sacking Fields seven times. The true freshman also made some great throws. His touchdown pass to Matt Landers in the back of the end-zone was a thing of beauty. Fields finished 18-of-33 for 207 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Monty Rice led all tacklers with 14 total stops for the Red squad. Baker, Richard LeCounte, William Poole and KJ Smith all had interceptions. ‘’As far as the game, I thought there were parts of it that were sloppy,’’ Smart said. ‘’Some of that was by design. Everybody will ask me about the rushing yards and if we have a rushing problem. If you watched that game closely, you realize there was not an intent to rush the ball a bunch. We think we have the capabilities of doing that, but that is not the purpose of our Spring Game. It’s to throw the ball, catch the ball, gain confidence in our passing game. We will run it some. Our defense did a really good job of creating turnovers. Two of them were gifts, but we got more turnovers today than we had gotten really all spring. Some of the red guys started to bow their necks. I thought Monty (Rice) played good and did some good things defensively.’’
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