The first day of Game Week 2015 finally brought starting quarterback decisions from Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss and Mark Richt at Georgia.
Freeze beat Richt to the punch by a few hours in naming Chad Kelly the starter for the Rebels' game against UT-Martin this weekend. Freeze called Ryan Buchanan the leader by a slim margin out of spring, but the general perception is that Kelly is the more talented of the two. For one week at least, that talent margin is winning out.
That's not to say that the battle is settled, as Freeze plans to have both of those guys plus DeVante Kincade see the field on Saturday. I'm not 100% sure what that means, because Ole Miss should be able to build up a sufficient lead against UT-Martin to put in backups at every position. It'll be telling to see if Buchanan or Kincade get full drives of their own before the game is well out of hand.
Meanwhile, Richt made a somewhat surprising move in picking Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert as his starter for Louisiana-Monroe. Brice Ramsey went through 2014 firmly in the backup role, and that experience and his rocket arm were supposed to get him the starting job. Instead, Richt is starting a guy who's only been in the program for about a month. As with Ole Miss, though, the competition isn't over.
The best breakdown of the Bulldogs' quarterback situation I've read came late last week from Senator Blutarsky. If you cared enough to follow a link to this post, you definitely should follow that one and read it in its entirety. The money quote from it, though, is this:
What I make of it isn’t that Richt doesn’t know who his quarterback should be. It’s that Richt hasn’t yet figured out how to turn the switch that makes the light go on – and stay on – in Ramsey’s head. But he believes that competition is the best tool he has at his disposal for that purpose.
There have been quotes trickling out of the program for a while that Ramsey might not be ready to handle the starting job, and it appears Richt believes that for this week, at least. The Georgia quarterback's role is primarily going to be not fumbling the snap and handing off to Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Keith Marshall, but he will need to pass it from time to time too. That the best guy for the job now is the guy who lost the Virginia quarterback battle is a little troubling, but at the same time, the UVa staff might all get fired while UGA's present head coach has been cranking out good to great quarterbacks for 25 years.
We might have to post something next week about the starters at these schools changing, but for now, it's Kelly in Oxford and Lambert in Athens.