2016 UGA QBs: Think, Know and Don't Know

ATHENS - Dean Legge reviews what he thinks, knows and doesn’t know so far this spring about the QB position at UGA.

We know what we saw on Saturday (there’s not much don’t know on that front), and two of the three quarterbacks had pretty good days - Brice Ramsey and Jacob Eason. Eason, who is the most anticipated player to arrive in Athens since Isaiah Crowell, didn’t disappoint and gave the capacity crowd all it could handle with a very nice 35-yard strike to Riley Ridley on his third pass of the day. 

The Sanford crowd was delirious. 

Eason hit another deep ball. We know that Kirby has been talking about his ability to throw the ball. We never doubted that. He can throw the deep ball. 

Ramsey, too, had successful deep throws - a 38-yard bomb to Jayson Stanley, a 29-yard strike to Stanley and a 39-yard connection with Reggie Davis. 

While we don’t know how vanilla (but we suspect very vanilla) the offense was, if you read Matt DeBary’s comprehensive details of the passing game on Saturday and you looked at the stats UGA provided you would know that the quarterbacks had completions for the following yards on Saturday (of note - these are very close, but not perfect stats because UGA kept stats by hand at times, but these are close enough):

Lambert

6 (vs. No 1s)

6 (vs. No 2s)

8 (vs. No 1s)

9 (vs. No 1s)

9 (vs. No 2s)

11 (vs. No 1s)

18 (vs. No 1s)

18 (vs. No 1s)

20 (vs. No 1s)

28 (vs. No 2s)

Ramsey

2 (vs. No 1s)

3 (vs. No 1s)

6 (vs. No 1s)

6 (vs. No 1s)

6 (vs. No 1s)

7 (vs. No 1s)

8 (vs. No 2s)

9 (vs. No 2s)

13 (vs. No 1s)

14 (vs. No 1s)

14 (vs. No 1s)

17 (vs. No 1s)

18 (vs. No 1s)

29 (vs. No 1s)

38 (vs. No 1s)

39 (vs. No 2s)

Eason

2 (vs. No 2s)

5 (vs. No 2s)

5 (vs. No 2s)

6 (vs. No 2s)

7 (vs. No 2s)

7 (vs. No 2s)

8 (vs. No 2s)

9 (vs. No 2s)

11 (vs. No 2s)

11 (vs. No 2s)

12 (vs. No 2s)

12 (vs. No 2s)

13 (vs. No 2s) 

13 (vs. No 2s)

15 (vs. No 2s)

17 (vs. No 2s)

35 (vs. No 2s)

37 (vs. No 2s)

What seemed to be alive and kicking after a year of being completely dormant was that the UGA tight ends were not completely ignored. Ramsey targeted tight ends at least five times (again UGA’s stat taking was a little limited). Eason targeted the them six times. That duo combined to throw 20% of their combined passes to tight ends. Last season tight ends caught 9% of all total passes. Jim Chaney’s offense apparently is not allergic to throwing to the tight end the way the previous offensive coordinator’s was. 

We feel like we need to point out that while the offense seemed to have a good day we think that was for of a number of reasons: 

1. Two of the three quarterbacks either were not on campus last season or didn’t start (or were allowed to play very little). It was refreshing to see UGA return to attempting to throw deep strikes. Ramsey and Eason combined to connect on five balls that were 25 yards or further. They attempted a few more than that, but it was a nice change of scenery after a year of check downs. 

2. Kirby Smart didn’t accept penalties on the offense. Eason’s most athletic play, a wrong-foot-across-the-body completion to Brendon Douglas wouldn’t have counted in a real game because of a holding penalty. Another time it was noticeable that the play clock had run out on Eason, but a flag was not thrown. 

3. Sacks didn’t always result in the offense losing yards. Eason was sacked four times in his five offensive series. Several times the offense didn’t move backwards even though they suffered negative plays. When Lambert was sacked in the fourth quarter the offense was backed up; the same could be said for the only time Ramsey was sacked - the ball was moved backwards. Eason was backed up once on a two-yard sack, but not when disaster struck. For instance, on Eason’s TD-scoring drive in the second quarter the offense should have faced a 2nd and 17 and then a 3rd and 27 or so - instead a penalty was refused a sack didn't change the line of scrimmage. A few plays later the No. 2 unit scored. Kirby’s pro-offense rules helped scoring for the No. 2 offense

We think, however, that Kirby was correct making sure that Eason felt success on G Day. He’s still learning a lot. We don’t know how much he was under center on Saturday or how comfortable he was reading progressions or staying in the pocket in general, but it was a very positive start to a career that most hope ends in superstardom. 

4. Frankly, the No. 2 pass offense is well ahead of the No 2. pass defense. The secondary has not been giving Kirby what he wants much of the spring. And we don’t think that things get the further you get down you go. With that said - Isaiah McKinzie has been working with the No. 3 unit at WR much of the spring… not’s not really a fair fight. In other words there are far more receivers than defensive backs right now, and that’s showing up in the No. 2 offensive unit’s success.

5. UGA threw a lot more - A LOT MORE - than they will in the fall. Combined UGA’s four QB threw it 83 times. That might be 60 more passes than Kirby wants to throw in any game this fall. I get the feeling that, with as good as UGA’s running backs could be this fall, this offense is going to be about handing it off, hitting midrange balls and taking down-the-field shots. Saturday was simply about throwing the ball as much as possible. 

A 73% pass-to-run ratio this fall?

No shot in hell. No shot. 

We don’t know, but were concerned that Vince Dooley was probably suffering a heart attack as he watched the ball flying through the air so often. 

So that’s why Saturday was great to see what the quarterbacks can do with their arms. We don’t know how great a tool it was to tell you who the starting quarterback will be for the North Carolina game or for this season.


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