The former long-time quarterbacks coach at Florida State, Richt had juggled two players at the position before while winning conference championships. But others worried.
How would a two-quarterback system affect the psyche of starter David Greene? Why should Greene, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, have to share his starting position? What would redshirt freshman D.J. Shockley bring to the position that Greene was not already providing? Would the rotation upset the chemistry of the entire offense?
On Saturday, the two combined to set a Georgia record with six touchdown passes as Georgia overwhelmed Kentucky. Georgia outscored Kentucky 31-0 in the second half, and most of the time it did not seem to matter which of the two was in the game. Greene would lead a touchdown drive and Shockley would take over for the next possession. Then Shockley would direct another touchdown drive before giving way to Greene.
"It is a little strange, but I knew David was going to go in there and do the same thing,'' Shockley said.
Greene passed for 251 yards with four touchdowns and Shockley added 102 yards passing with two touchdowns and 38 yards rushing. By bringing in Shockley early and often, Richt proved he has confidence in both quarterbacks, and both delivered.
"I was hoping (the two-quarterback system) would be like that,'' Richt said. "I was hoping both guys would play well and do their thing. (Greene) has a little more experience and (Shockley) has a little more mobility, but they're both capable of helping us win.''
Most impressively, the two combined for 47 pass attempts with only one interception - on a deflected pass thrown by Shockley.
"It was great today,'' said receiver Terrence Edwards. "Both quarterbacks bring something that's special. I wouldn't trade them for anybody in the league.''
Edwards is gaining momentum as the quarterbacks become comfortable in the rotation. In his last three games, the senior has 19 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns. Already twice this season Greene has tied the school record of four touchdown passes by one quarterback in a game. He also threw four scoring passes against Northwestern State. Shockley set career highs by completing 10 of 14 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
The two shared time in the first two games of the season before Shockley suffered a broken foot, forcing him to miss four games. Now he is healthy again, and it seems clear Richt intends to continue the rotation as Georgia tries to clinch a spot in the SEC championship game.
"Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come,'' Richt said. "I really was thinking we were capable of this type of performance from the start. Hopefully this is not a blip on the radar screen.''
Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com
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