Kirby Smart isn’t saying who will start at quarterback in Georgia’s opener against North Carolina Saturday, even amid indications that freshman Jacob Eason will start over Greyson Lambert. There are only three possible reasons why Smart wouldn’t announce his starter.
Here’s my breakdown from Monday’s No News For You (!) Conference:
What Smart said: “No starter’s been named. We’ll get those guys ready. We’ll let you guys know.”
What Smart meant: “Do you think I wasn’t prepared for that question?”
Between The Lines: Smart either 1) Knows who will start but wants to keep it quiet until kickoff, or at least until the day before, when the team is sequestered in a hotel (favorite); 2) Is heavily leaning in one direction but wants to be sure in the next few days of practice to see how his candidate looks (also possible); 3) Really has no idea (extremely unlikely).
What Smart said (on playing “multiple” quarterbacks): “We’ll see how it goes. The first thing I have to do is figure out who’s taking the first snap before I worry about the next guy who will come in. But I think it will reveal itself in the next couple of days.”
What Smart meant: “Keep trying. I can figure out as many ways to not answer your questions as you can figure out how to ask them.”
Between The Lines: I believe if Eason starts, and he will play the entire game unless he runs into trouble. Otherwise it makes no sense to take him out. If Lambert starts, both quarterbacks will play. The difference: Eason needs playing time to develop and would be the starter in the near future regardless.
What Smart said (Eason recently handling more responsibility with playbook): “He’s done a good job. We’ve done a little more game-planning. We’ll make the decision based on the next couple of practices.”
What Smart meant: “Guys, I went to media training school in Tuscaloosa. Give it up.”
Between The Lines: Smart actually had an opening here if Eason was struggling. He didn’t take it. Personally, I think that was telling.
What Smart said (announcing a starter just to clear the air): “It’s a burden to you guys but it’s not a burden to me. For me the most important thing is making the right decision and who’s going to go out there and be successful. It’s never over. It’s continuous, just like who the right corner is.”
What Smart meant: “It’s a burden to you guys? Yea, I win.”
Between The Lines: I don’t know if I buy into the whole “gamesmanship” narrative about Smart not wanting to tip-off North Carolina. The Tar Heels’ defensive game plan doesn’t tip on this decision. I think it’s more about protecting his starting quarterback for a few more days. My guess is he hasn’t told either one of them, either. But he will soon.
If it’s even close between Eason and Lambert, then Eason will start. My guess: He starts.
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