Georgia’s quarterbacks remain the focus of the attention of the media, but there has not been a lot of discussion from the team or coaches about any of the four quarterbacks. Anytime a question is asked about the quarterback race, the standard non-answer is given, or everyone has faith that all of the quarterbacks can get the job done. In talking with players and coaches on the record there is no real way to determine who is winning the quarterback race.
However, it seems that Joe Tereshinski is going to put up more of a fight than many expected. He might not be the most talented quarterback, but he’s got a lot going for him (perhaps it’s become stylish to underestimate his talent). He seems to arrive at each practice station before the other quarterbacks. He also seems to be more vocal than the others. Maybe that’s because he’s been around longer, or that he’s the only senior in the bunch – there is no real way to know, but you can sense it.
In my view, the top competitor challenging Tereshinski is freshman Matthew Stafford. He’s got all of the skills necessary to be the quarterback at Georgia for the next four seasons. However, with no player or coach giving any indication about who is doing what in closed parts of practice it’s hard to get a full grasp about what’s really going on. Blake Barnes could be the number one quarterback right now, but that does not seem very likely.
Running back has become the Thomas Brown show. Brown will likely remain starter for Georgia more often than not over the next two seasons. He’s got all the skills needed for Mark Richt’s offense. Brown’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield seems to have improved since he arrived, and he is reportedly the most difficult running back to tackle. He also seems to be the focus of the kickoff return team, which has struggled in the last few seasons. New coach Tony Ball is in charge of correcting the problem that is kickoff return at Georgia.
Nick Jones is the best overall offensive lineman Georgia has, and it does not seem like a close competition. Jones can play two positions, but he’ll likely stay at center, even though he is considered small. Right now Kevin Perez is his back up at center while Ian Smith sits out hurt this spring. Neil Callaway likes the way Perez plays– or it seems that way.
Georgia’s defensive ends are going to be a terror for the opposition this season. Quinton Moses and Charles Johnson continue to apply pressure in scrimmage and drill situations. I find it hard to think that both won’t be on some All-SEC list by the end of 2006. At the same time, Marcus Howard is coming on. Howard’s move to defensive end is one year old now, and he’s gotten very used to it.
The placekicking “competition” is closed in my view; Brandon Coutu (an All-America at the spot) will not lose his job to Andy Bailey. I’ve got my money on Gordon Ely-Kelso to win the holding job at some point soon.
Paul Oliver is the best cornerback Georgia has – and he’s also the biggest. There won’t be a lot of drop off from DeMario Minter to Oliver this season.
So Far Awards:
Exceeding Expectations So Far Award – (Tie) Mikey Henderson and Asher Allen. Henderson’s move to wide receiver has become a success so far this spring. Richt said he will not be moving back to defense, so the depth chart had better get ready to deal with him this fall. If he can give Georgia a third option to throw to, that will help replace Sean Bailey. Allen has been very difficult to contain. He’s been mentioned by Richt more than any other freshman besides Stafford – and maybe as much. In all but a few of Richt’s after-practice press meetings Allen has been pointed out as a playmaker. I don’t think he’ll start, but he’s going to play a lot in 2006.
Kept the Job So Far Award – Joe Tereshinski. There’s nothing wrong with what Joe T has done this spring. He’s held off the pack of youngsters behind him so far, and it seems he is actually coming on. I think it’s going to be harder than many of us first thought to replace him as the starter.
Best Overall Player So Far Award – Quintin Moses. Georgia fans should be happy he came back to play his final season. Moses is big, strong, fast and determined. Simply put, he’s taken over drills. He is the best player so far this spring.