Greene readies for 2003

ATHENS, Ga. — From the perspective of David Greene, business major, the insurance business looks like a nice career.

ATHENS, Ga. — From the perspective of David Greene, business major, the insurance business looks like a nice career.

Greene's rationale: "That's one thing that's not going away.''

Georgia coach Mark Richt also believes insurance makes good sense. That's why Richt wants to make sure there is another quarterback ready to play behind Greene, just as he wants to develop experienced depth at any other position. At Georgia, D.J. Shockley is the insurance Richt has developed in case anything happens to Greene.

While some still don't buy into Richt's two-quarterback system, it is difficult to argue with the bottom line. Some may say that Greene should not have to share the snaps, and others may say that Shockley should transfer to another school where he would have his own starting job, but with the two working together Georgia won the Southeastern Conference title last season and finished third in the nation.

Asked about the status of the two-quarterback system for this season, senior tight end Ben Watson noted: " "We won a championship with them last year. I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it.''

Greene — the 2001 SEC Coaches Freshman of the Year and the 2002 All-SEC first-team pick by the coaches and The Associated Press — is 21-5 in his two seasons as a starter.

Entering his junior season, Greene already is second on the Georgia career records with 39 touchdown passes. With 5,713 yards passing, Greene probably will need only a handful of games to pass third-place Mike Bobo (6,334) and second-place Quincy Carter (6,447) on the Georgia career charts.

But Greene is poised to do more than rewrite the Georgia records.

At his current pace, Greene would finish his career with 11,426 yards passing, topping the SEC record of Tennessee's Peyton Manning (11,201) and the Georgia record of Eric Zeier (11,153).

And so the question: Should the quarterback who is placing his name beside the greatest players in his position in SEC history have to share snaps with anyone, even the talented Shockley?

Perhaps more amazing than the numbers Greene has posted is the poise with which both Greene and Shockley have handled persistent questions about the two-quarterback system.

"The best thing is how good Shockley and I get along,'' Greene said.

"It'd be different if it were two guys who didn't like each other and didn't respect each other's play. But we get along great.''

Added Richt, who still spends much of his time on the practice fields and in team meetings with the quarterbacks: "There's a camaraderie that I think is special in (quarterback meetings). I just don't see those guys having problems. They really like each other. They respect each other.''

The mutual respect is important, because if either player sparked a controversy with a negative comment about the two-quarterback system, there would be great potential for other players to begin taking sides behind Greene, the classic drop-back passer, and Shockley, who boasts a strong arm but also is a dangerous runner.

"All it takes is one of those two guys to say ‘It stinks,' publicly or privately, and you have yourself a controversy,'' Richt said.

"The beauty of those two guys is they really love Georgia. They have a high respect for each other's ability. They're mature guys who can handle the pounding from the media on the issue.''

As Greene became established as the starter in 2001, when Shockley was held out as a redshirt, Shockley faced more and more questions about a possible transfer. Shockley again considered transferring after last season before he finally put the issue to rest.

Greene says he did not try to influence Shockley, but he says he is glad Shockley did not leave Georgia.

"Honestly, I didn't want him to transfer,'' Greene said. "He's a great quarterback and as a person too. I like him as a person and I think he brings a lot to the team.''

Shockley isn't leaving Georgia, but that doesn't mean he is content to play behind Greene. Despite Greene's all-star status, Shockley plans to earn more playing time this season.

"I am looking forward to the expectation of my playing time growing,'' said Shockley. "There is an eagerness and an anxiousness to finding out how much I will play. I am looking forward to it.''

Confident in his status as the starter, Greene insists it is not difficult for a first-team All-SEC pick to share snaps.

"I think it actually becomes easier,'' Greene said. "I think the longer you deal with a situation, the easier it is to handle.''

Added Greene: "The good thing about it, I think we're fortunate in that we have a lot of depth at quarterback. D.J. and I have different styles of play but they can both be very productive for our offense.''

Richt says Greene is established as the starter, but he also says Shockley is ready for more playing time.

"Our quarterback situation I believe is as good as any in the nation,'' Richt said. "I believe David Greene is one of the best players in the country today, and I believe Shockley has the potential to be just as good.''

Richt says Shockley "will be playing a good bit'' but he says the percentage of playing time for either player "is not going to be etched instone.''

Clearly, like any sound insurance plan, Georgia's two-quarterback system is not going away.

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