Eason’s struggles should’ve been expected, he’ll be better next season

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason makes a throw against TCU during the first quarter of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason attempts a throw against TCU during the first quarter of the Liberty Bowl Friday in Memphis. Georgia defeated TCU 31-23. (AP photo)

MEMPHIS — Jacob Eason will be better next season. He will be better because he will have played 13 games, his offensive line and offensive coordinator can’t possibly be worse than they were this season and, for as many misfires as he had in Friday’s Liberty Bowl, he looked composed and under control down the stretch of a close game.

“My first year, I had a lot of ups and downs,” Georgia’s freshman quarterback said after a 31-23 win over TCU. “I definitely had some things I’d like to take back. But I learned a lot though it. So the biggest thing for me is to learn from the mistakes I made this season and the good plays I made and come back better.”

Eason did not have a brilliant final performance. He sailed several passes, including one when he had Terry Godwin open on the right sideline for a potential touchdown. He completed only 12 of 21 attempts and his 164 passing yards mostly were attributed to great yards after the catch by Isaiah McKenzie (77-yarder) and Sony Michel (33-yard touchdown on a check-down).

But what didn’t do was force the ball into coverage when protection broke down or the running game wasn’t there, which was often. He didn’t throw an interception (his two touchdowns left him with a TD-interception ratio of 16-8, or 2-1). He also moved around frequently in the pocket to buy time and had a 15-yard scramble. He also eluded TCU’s pass rush to get into position to complete the pass to McKenzie that turned into the 77-yarder (which set up a touchdown).

For my column on the game, click here.

I’ve written several times that expectations for Eason were far too high this season. Blame that on the obsession with recruiting. Blame it on the general I-want-it-now mentality of fans. This isn’t a sport where freshman quarterbacks often perform well, particularly in the SEC.

Eason believes he has made “tremendous improvement” from the opening game against North Carolina to the 13th against TCU. Referencing his running, he said. “At the beginning of the year, moving around wasn’t my biggest thing. But I’m more comfortable doing that now, even though running is definitely not one of my strengths.”

On his accuracy issues: “I definitely missed a touchdown throw. That’s the frustrating part of this experience. Would I like to have it back? Sure. I need to be able to hit those throws. But all in all, I’m thankful for the job everybody around me did.”

The grading curve will be tougher next season.

Of course, that won’t stop many from calling for incoming freshman Jake Fromm to start.

Please, don’t.

EARLIER: GAME COLUMN: Georgia finishes the season on a needed high note

PODCAST: Zach and I discuss Falcons’ No. 2 seed and my decision on leaving Hall of Fame voting.

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or via WSBRadio.com. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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Reader Comments 0

31 comments
UGA76
UGA76

I reserve judgement on Eason until I know if he was allowed to change the play at the line of scrimmage.  IF he can get UGA into the right play next year will determine his and the team's success.  We were spoiled for years because Murray was a master at changing the play called into the best play to run based on how many men were in the box and the defense called.

I sure wish someone at the AJC would ask that question. 

mgunter
mgunter

Didn't see much growth throughout season. Frome kid from South Georgia can give him some competition. Part of his issues are at th feet of Offensive Coordinator. As a side note ........Smart needs to allow th Defensive Coordinator to do his job and get out of his way. Substitutions were embarrassing!

Mulk
Mulk

@mgunter


It does seem like there is more than 1 cook in the kitchen.....

DawgNole
DawgNole

JS: "Jacob Eason will be better next season . . . he looked composed and under control down the stretch of a close game."

________________

In addition to that cannon arm, his demeanor/composure seems to be a strong point. Never appears to get too flustered under fire--and he obviously was under fire plenty this season.

Gotta hope for significant improvement in other facets of his game between now and September.

FlatTire
FlatTire

Won't happen if the predictable run run up the middle 3rd and long pass play calling continues. He's never going to get in rhythm with that and this offense won't either.

I was hoping to see something like we were able to see later in the game throughout the entire game to change my mind about next season

FlatTire
FlatTire

Michigan needs to pay their coaches more if they expect to at least beat a mediocre 3 loss ACC team. 9 million a year isn't enough if they want to be better

Mulk
Mulk

"This isn't a sport where freshman quarterbacks often perform well, particularly in the SEC". The games that he played well were against SEC teams. 

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Of course expectations for a true freshman QB were too high. The expectations of this second-tier school's fan base has always been wildly off track. Pretty funny these people think they "deserve" something they haven't accomplished since the Carter Administration.

dawg fan
dawg fan

No one has ever said we deserve anything you lying moron.

Mulk
Mulk

dog fan,


Great response to a post. You worked in liar and moron in one sentence.

OH:IO
OH:IO

And Boxscore put up two FG's in the Liberty.

DawginLex
DawginLex

He's better than Barrett. What an overrated fraud of a team and conference. What a joke!!!

OH:IO
OH:IO

shoulda woulda coulda says Schultz

Jack M
Jack M

I hope you are right Schultz but I didn't see any real improvement by Eason from game one to game thirteen. No mobility, average to less than average accuracy, throw the ball 80 yards but 10 feet over the receivers head, the deer in the headlights look. I'm looking for improvement but won't be surprised if Eason is just as bad next year.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@zumosa

I'm in shock that the AJC continues to allow scum like you to post.

RonMexico
RonMexico

The headline is a run-on sentence. Semicolon, not comma.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Studying up on his grammar--like you and TOJ should.

stiffneck
stiffneck

How many times did UGA run it up the middle in the first half?  How many times was it stuffed?  This went on way too many times this season.  Chaney needs to go.

stiffneck
stiffneck

In the past QB's ( Stafford, Murray ) had two previous coaches that were QB's.  Is there anyone on this staff that knows how to coach up a kid who has the tools?  Chaney sucks at the basics.  This covers it from Dawgnation -


Questions looming: What’s the deal with Jim Chaney? Georgia’s offense finally found some rhythm in the second half, but Chaney was atrocious on the play-calling front for most of the game, specifically in the first. His inability to get away from a ‘run-run-pass’ play-calling structure made the Bulldogs far too predictable, and created way too many third-and-longs. Who knows how likely Smart is to make a change at offensive coordinator in his first season, but there is a large slew of Georgia fans who would not be opposed.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@stiffneck Used to be one....but he is preparing a guy named Kaaya for the NFL now.

dawg fan
dawg fan

First he'll bask in the glow of a magical Russell Athletic Bowl Championship then he'll focus on coaching Kaaya to another pointless season in 2017, just like he did with Stafford and Murray.

No coach in history perhaps has done less with more . . .

Mulk
Mulk

@dawg fan


No coach in history? Try this season at UGAG.

dawg fan
dawg fan

8-5 with a freshman QB less with more? Try 6-7 with a freshman QB. That was your new hero Mark Richt's record last time he had a freshman QB.

Boy is Mulk a clueless idiot.

dawg fan
dawg fan

Oh, and let me know when Kirby has a roster loaded with future NFL players like Richt did from about 2006 through 2008 while not even coming close to winning the East. We have guys starting on our O-line this year who couldn't even make Bama'a roster thanks to your hero Mark Richt'a absolutely INEXCUSABLE poor recruiting of that position, but here you are running your mouth about Kirby doing less with more.

Quit running your moronic mouth like you know what you're talking about.

Mulk
Mulk

@dawg fan


My post has nothing to do with Richt.


I am sure nobody knows as much about football as you but, Smart had enough talent this year to beat Tech, Vandy, Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee. None of those teams were very good. The very definition of doing less with more. He just can't coach.


After reading your posts all year long, I don't see how you can call anybody a moron, clueless, stupid, idiot, liar, joke, etc., etc.