One of the biggest questions surrounding the SEC this offseason was who would start at quarterback for Georgia?
Well, senior Greyson Lambert ended up being the answer to that question, but it was freshman Jacob Eason that helped lead the Bulldogs to an impressive season-opening win over North Carolina.
Eason didn’t post eye-popping stats—he didn’t need to with Nick Chubb running wild—but he was the guy head coach Kirby Smart turned to with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. Eason’s 51-yard completion to Isaiah McKenzie helped set up Georgia for the go-ahead field goal.
Lambert looked like the same player from a year ago. He was safe with the football, which is a good thing, but his issue is that he’s too safe. He is afraid to push the ball down the field. He quickly scans his first read and often checks down. That leads to low interception totals; however, it also leads to a lack of big plays in the passing game.
That’s the polar opposite of Eason.
Think Lambert slings that ball to McKenzie down the sideline in the fourth quarter?
McKenzie wasn’t a bit surprised, per Seth Emerson of DawgNation.
Going out on the field on third-and-5 and throwing it deep? I’m used to that. Jacob throws it deep all the time. So I wasn’t really worried about whether he would throw it. I was just hoping to make a big play.
What happened on Saturday was why Smart made Eason the primary quarterback—and now. The more experience the freshman gains early in the season, the better off the Bulldogs will be in November when they’re competing for an SEC East title and a spot in the SEC Championship.
Even UNC coach Larry Fedora noticed the difference when Eason was under center.
“You saw them open it up a little more when Eason was in the game,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. “It gave us some issues.”
That quote, by the opposing coach, speaks volumes not only about Eason’s talent level, but Georgia’s confidence in the freshman. The playbook gets bigger when Eason is under center. Coaches know he can handle it and trust him to make good, aggressive decisions.
With Lambert on the field, Georgia can win nine or possibly 10 games because of the presence of Chubb and a defense that will continue to improve.
However, with Eason as the primary passer, UGA can possibly go undefeated.
He’s that good. And will get better, too.