Georgia freshman QB Eason paying dues on 3rd string offense
Mar. 24, 2016
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Strong-armed quarterback Jacob Eason is expected to bring more firepower to Georgia's passing game.
The only question seems to be when the transition to Eason will occur.
Less than two weeks into spring practice, Eason is paying his dues on the third-string offense. That's no surprise for an 18-year-old freshman.
First-year coach Kirby Smart is giving veterans Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey the first looks with the starters. Lambert, a senior, is the returning starter from last year's 10-3 team. Ramsey, a junior, also is working at punter this spring.
Eason (6-5, 211) is expected to eventually claim the starting job. Thus far, he's still settling in as he learns the terminology of the offense.
"Jacob is throwing some with the (starting) receivers," Smart said earlier this week. "They all roll in there."
Eason was the headliner of Smart's first recruiting class. He enrolled early from Lake Stevens, Washington, after he was named the national player of the year by USA Today, Gatorade and the Maxwell Football Club.
Georgia has not made the quarterbacks available for interviews this spring. Smart is trying to shield the quarterbacks from the added pressure that accompanies the quarterback competition.
The April 16 G-Day game at Sanford Stadium will be the first chance for Eason to show his skills in front of a big crowd. Smart is pushing for a sellout crowd of more than 92,000 for the game. Eason will be the big draw — even if he's not yet starting.
Smart has told Eason the pressure should be on the new coach, not the new quarterback.
Eason said on signing day in February "there is a lot of expectation from the fans and the media."
"I do look at that, but not too much," Eason said. "When coach Smart says that, it's kind of reassuring that I'm going to be able to go out and grow and do my job. As a young quarterback, it definitely means a lot when he says that."
Georgia struggled on offense with Lambert at quarterback, failing to score more than 27 points in any of its last seven games. It was held under 14 points in four games.
Lambert became a manager of games, operating in safe mode in an offense that continued to lean heavily on its running game even after star tailback Nick Chubb's season-ending knee injury. He passed for more than 200 yards in only three games.
Chubb has been available on a limited basis in practice, even dressing out in full pads on Tuesday but still only running straight ahead without sharp cuts. He won't play in the G-Day game.
Ramsey has made a good first impression with Smart.
"I've really been pleasantly surprised with Brice," Smart said before adding he told Ramsey he is "too casual" on the field.
Smart said he told Ramsey "'I think you relax a little too much. I need you to be more assertive, take a little more of a leadership role. Show me that it means something to you. Show me that you want it.'"
Smart said Ramsey is "trying to do a better job with that."
AP college website: collegefootball.ap.org