(Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

The Struggles of Starting a Freshman QB

ATHENS - Georgia fans are expected to see a freshman starting quarterback in Sanford Stadium on Saturday in Missouri’s Drew Lock.

With the Bulldogs’ quarterback play erratic, five-star commitment Jacob Eason from Lake Stevens, Wash., could at least make the spring quarterback competition interesting.

Starting as a freshman in the SEC isn’t easy, Richt said. Matthew Stafford, a No. 1 NFL overall draft pick, became Georgia’s starter during his first season in 2006.

“Matthew took his lumps a bunch,” Richt said. “I remember a couple of ballgames, it was rough. I think it’s tough to start a true freshman for sure. If guys can come in at the midyear it gives you a little bit more of a chance if you have a spring prior to it, but whether that happens or not, you just can’t simulate the speed, the sounds, the sensation of playing in front of that many people. Not only in the stands, but on national TV and the attention that is brought on about it. Being able to manage your social life, being able to manage the academics. Even the most talented guys and the most mature, they hit a wall somewhere along the way and you’ve got to help them through it.”

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Lock is in line to start for a third straight week while Maty Mauk remains suspended indefinitely for undisclosed reasons.

He was 16 of 39 for 151 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 21-3 loss to Florida Saturday. He was sacked three times.

“This is the first time he ever got hit,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “He got whacked pretty good. Welcome to SEC football at the highest level.”

Pinkel said that Lock’s demeanor “was fine. He was great,” but he needs more help from his teammates.

“If we play better around him, it’s going to help,” he said. “If we can run the ball better, it’s going to help.”

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