Richt said getting reps in games for the second string players is important for several reasons.
“Just like any position, you want your second team to play,” he said. “It’s good for morale and what happens if your starter gets injured? If you never give your second teamers a chance to play then what you probably have is a guy that’s bummed out because he has not gotten ready to play, and he’s not ready to play.”
He added that playing a second team quarterback can be difficult, however, because of the attention that position gets.
“With the quarterback it’s a little more difficult because everyone wants to make a big stink about it. Everyone notices the quarterback, but if you slip a (second team) guard or a tackle in there no one knows and no one cares. Why it’s that way; I don’t know, but it is.”
Mark Richt, a former quarterback himself, said the nuances of playing the backup quarterback can be difficult.
“You have to be mindful of the psychology of that position and that makes it pretty tricky,” said Richt.
Georgia’s David Greene has been the starter for four seasons. In 2002, Georgia’s SEC Championship season, Greene started all 14 games, but shared time with back up D.J. Shockley in some games. Shockley missed some games due to injury in 2002 and 2003, and Greene managed almost all of the snaps.
But When Shockley did not play against South Carolina two weeks ago, the first time he has missed a game while healthy, questions were asked of Richt’s quarterback philosophy. Richt said the Tuesday before Georgia’s game with Marshall that he “had a plan to use Shockley” against the Herd.
Shockley played three downs in Georgia’s 13-3 win over Marshall Saturday. Richt was asked about it after the game and responded: “I said D.J. would play, but not how much.”
Today Richt said: “In the course of a game, you might say ‘you have to play this guy more or less.’” He continued: “My goal is to play David Greene as our starter, and there is no questioning that. If D.J. Shockley plays it’s because of one of two things: We want to get him work, which is true, or we believe he is a very good player, which is true. That’s the only thought process I have,” he said.
Richt says the media has overblown the issue, and that it may now be hurting Shockley.
“I think D.J. has handled it great, but I think it’s wearing on him because I think the media is wearing out the subject, and it’s tough on him. When his name gets called to speak to the media (they ask him) ‘How do you feel about it, How do you feel about it?’ Nobody likes not playing a lot, but he’s done a good job of not making a mess of everything,” Richt said.