Looking Back at Georgia's Previous 400 Pass-Attempt Seasons

Georgia Football quarterbacks have attempted 400 passes in a season just four times. JT Daniels is poised to be the fifth UGA quarterback to reach that total.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels attempted 29.75 passes per game over the course of his four starts a year ago. Over a 12-game regular season, with a potential for an SEC Championship Game along with two potential playoff games, we can safely assume Daniels will throw at least 400 passes this season. If true, Daniels would have the fifth 400-attempt season in Georgia Football history.

However, Daniels will exceed 400 attempts by design. Georgia is loaded at every position and it has a running game that would be the feature of most offenses in the nation. But to win a national title in the 2020s, an explosive offense is needed and that's what offensive coordinator Todd Monken is building. 

Knowing Daniels' 400 attempts are all a part of the team's plan, let's look back at Georgia's previous 400-attempt seasons. Was that gaudy number planned before the season? And how did those quarterbacks perform under the heavy workload?

Eric Zeier slings the ball around in the early 1990s

Zeier had the first two 400-attempt seasons in 1993 and '94, mostly because of Terrell Davis's injuries and the lack of a quality backup. Zeier performed well under the heavy load, however, exceeding 3,000 yards and passing for 24 touchdowns both seasons.  

Zeier attempted 400-plus passes because Georgia needed him to. In 1992, Zeier attempted only 258 passes, but Georgia had Heisman finalist and Doak Walker Award winner Garrison Hearst at running back. The balanced offense led Georgia to a 10-2 record that season and a 9-3 record in 1991.

The Bulldogs won only 11 games across the 1993-94 seasons with the defense surrendering 28-plus points 11 times. Without a running back like Hearst to rely on, Georgia needed Zeier to throw in abundance to have any chance of keeping up with its opponents.

David Greene the last star standing from 2002 offense

Greene had the next 400-attempt season in 2003 and he too was forced into a heavy load because of issues at running back. Georgia started a pair of freshmen that year, and one (Kregg Lumpkin) dealt with injuries. 

Greene had over 3,300 yards, but he had only 13 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Georgia's offense was putrid in each of its three losses that year. It scored only 10 points at LSU, 13 points in the rematch for the SEC Championship and 13 points against Florida. 

If not for Georgia's legendary defense, the Bulldogs wouldn't have even sniffed the SEC East Championship. In fact, without the defense, Georgia wouldn't have had victories against LSU and Florida. The Bulldogs defense held LSU to 17 points and Florida to 16 points in the regular-season encounters.

Aaron Murray saves Mark Richt's job

In 2011, Murray was the last Georgia quarterback to attempt 400 passes. Of these four seasons, 2011 was the best. Georgia won the SEC East and ended the year 10-4. Murray shattered the school record for passing touchdowns with 35 scores.

Yet, Murray still attempted 400 passes out of necessity. Running back Isaiah Crowell had a solid freshman campaign, but he was injury prone. The abundance of weapons Murray had helped make up for the issues at running back. The defense wasn't too shabby either, holding nine of 14 opponents to less than 21 points. 

Murray's 400-attempt year was a big risk for Georgia. The Bulldogs went 6-7 in 2010, lighting head coach Mark Richt's seat on fire entering 2011. Had Murray crumbled under the weight of that workload, Richt's tenure at Georgia would have ended in 2011.