The annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville features the No. 1 ranked team in the country against a team that has lost two of their last three games. And yet, both teams come to town with quarterback questions.
The questions exist for two very different reasons. Let’s start with the Gators’ quarterback situation. The conversation is driven by questions of effectiveness. This season, Emory Jones has started every game for Dan Mullen’s team, but when the big plays have come, it’s been Anthony Richardson involved as often as not.
In Florida’s last game, a 49-42 loss to LSU, Richardson threw three touchdown passes and added another touchdown on the ground, while setting career highs in passing yards, completions, and attempts. Jones played in the game, too throwing one touchdown and a pair of interceptions in the loss. But Mullen insists that nothing has changed this week with regard to the quarterback position.
“You’ve got to get both guys ready to go play,” Mullen said. “We both get guys, a lot of reps. Maybe it’s probably a little bit more even than a lot of places where the one gets a lot of reps and the twos get minimal reps. The quarterbacks--we try to keep them pretty evened out so that they’re both ready to play. You’re a snap away from those guys getting on the field so you kind of do that with a lot of positions across the board you roll them through to get the reps to get them ready to play.”
Georgia’s quarterback situation is much different. They’ve used both J.T. Daniels and Stetson Bennett as starters this year, but it’s Daniels who is the regular starter. He hasn’t played in a month because of injuries, but he’s practiced the last week and could be a part of the equation on Saturday against Florida.
“Everything is based on practice. No decision has been made, whatsoever,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “(Daniels) did practice Wednesday and did pretty good and then the practice Thursday and he did well in terms of didn’t have pain before, during or after, and that’s what we’re looking for is evolving you today. Can you throw today? Yes. Did you throw today? Yes. How does it feel after not playing? Again, we’ll continue down that same path today with him and see that he feels good. Thing is, he’s gotten a good Friday, Saturday, Sunday, really almost four days once you count from the last practice to this practice all the players out. So, in terms of that, it’ll be based on how practice goes.”
Even without certainty at the quarterback position, Georgia is a two-touchdown favorite over Florida thanks in large part to a defense that leads the nation in almost every category, including fewest points allowed and fewest yards per game allowed. Opposing offenses have scored only four touchdowns against the Bulldogs all season.