“I’m tired of trying to figure it out,” the No. 10 Bulldogs coach said Sunday, one day after Cox relieved Stafford and led a 14-13 victory over Colorado. “We want to let it play out. We just have to live through it.”
Richt hasn’t decided which player will start and probably won’t announce his decision this week, he said.
“When y’all get to the game, you can see who will go in first,” he told reporters during his weekly Sunday teleconference. “That’s probably what will happen.”
The quarterbacks probably won’t know who will start until the morning of the 9 p.m. game, he said.
Ole Miss has quarterback issues, too, but its issues run much deeper. The Rebels fell to 1-3 Saturday after being whipped 27-3 by Wake Forest. Backup Seth Adams relieved and outplayed starter Brett Schaeffer, and Coach Ed Orgeron said Adams will start if he’s the better choice. The Rebels’ only win this season has come over Memphis.
Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has beaten the Rebels six straight times in a rivalry that was last played in 2002. Stafford and Cox will split the Bulldogs’ practice plays with the first-team offense evenly at least through Wednesday’s practice and probably Thursday as well, Richt said.
“I think we’ve got two kids that can play pretty darn good,” he said. “Right now, I think they both deserve the opportunity to play.”
Stafford, a true freshman who started against UAB and Colorado, and Cox, a redshirt freshman without a collegiate start, each have three years of eligibility remaining, but Richt is not prepared yet to think about three more seasons of deciding on a starting quarterback each week.
“It’s not a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re still finding our way a little bit. It may not have to be one guy, but maybe it is. I’m not going to sit here and try to predict what’s going to happen.”
And, by the way, senior Joe Tereshinski, who started the first two games before suffering a high ankle sprain, could return to the practice field as early as Oct. 2.
“It gets real complex here in a little while,” Richt said.
Cox was 10-for-13 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 46 seconds remaining, Saturday after taking over for Stafford late in the third quarter.
“It’s up to the coaches,” he said of the decision to name a starter. “Whatever they think is best for the team, I’ll do it.”
Stafford was 8-for-16 for 76 yards and was the victim of four dropped passes. A review of the game film convinced Richt of what he believed immediately after Saturday’s win.
“We didn’t think he played that badly,” Richt said. “He made improvements on a lot of things we asked him to improve on. I just think it matched up better when Joe was in there. It just seemed like we blocked better all of a sudden. I probably called some better plays. Joe, to his credit, the kid made the plays when they presented themselves.”
Although the situation is giving Richt some gray hairs, he’s happy his young quarterbacks are gaining a little wisdom. “I think this is just a good learning experience for these guys, handling the pressure of the situation,” he said. “These guys are learning how to handle the pressure of the job more than anything right now. It’s going to help them become better quarterbacks and to learn to focus on the only thing that’s truly important, which is your assignment on the next play.”