Georgia still hasn't declared an outright starting quarterback, and both quarterbacks saw the field against Missouri to make their opening case for the job. Saturday was the first time we've seen both in action since a 62 to 0 win over Vanderbilt four weeks prior.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett has taken the helm in quarterback JT Daniels' absence. Daniels suffered an oblique injury against Clemson, which limited him for several months.
Bennett did not expect to see meaningful time this season, but he took the opportunity and made the most of it. The Bulldogs are now 6-0 with Bennett under center this year, and in those contests, he has tossed 14 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Despite Bennett's impressive play, it is hard to forget what Daniels did to close the 2020 season. He had to wait for eight games before seeing the field but took off running in his first start.
Daniels set a Georgia record for most passing yards by a quarterback in their starting debut and got Georgia rolling down the end of the season. They finished 4-0 and defeated Cincinnati in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
He was touted as a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft ahead of the season, but his injury derailed his stock. At the moment, it seems that he could return to school in 2022, but he has to fight an uphill battle to win his job back this year.
Each brings their own strengths to the table. Daniels can make a variety of high-level throws and has an NFL-caliber arm. Head coach Kirby Smart appointed Daniels the "film guy" at SEC Media Day, saying he maintains a rigorous film schedule during the season.
That hard work in the film room translates to the field, as Daniels consistently makes the correct read from pre-snap to post-snap. Georgia relied on Daniels to orchestrate the offense pre-snap at the beginning of the season despite a young center still learning to play college football.
On the other hand, Bennett has impressive athleticism that extends the call sheet for offensive coordinator Todd Monken. He doesn't have the downfield capabilities of Daniels but makes anticipatory throws in the quick game.
Missouri was the first opportunity for either to separate themselves. Bennett appeared more comfortable and made several explosive plays downfield but again missed a few opportunities.
Bennett's critics aren't against his actual play; however, they point out that Daniels can make more explosive plays through the air. Last season Daniels' arm opened the offense up, which created several new dimensions in both the run and screen games.
Daniels appeared rusty in his first action in over a month. He missed on a few rythm throws, including an unfortunately timed interception. Wide receiver Jermaine Burton broke open on a post, but Daniels could not put the ball in stride.
This competition will continue for the next three games, it appears. Smart continuously declines to provide concrete answers when it relates to the quarterback conversation, and for good reason.
He has been known to keep these affairs close to the vest, but staffers indicate that there is not a definite starter as we stand today. Bennett appears to have taken an early lead, but don't discount Daniels gaining ground in the coming weeks.
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