by: Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman doesn’t know who will start at quarterback against the University of Arkansas on Saturday.
Georgia’s expected starter Jamie Newman who transferred in as a grad transfer from Wake Forest was generally considered the most likely quarterback, but he opted out of the season. That left USC transfer JT Daniels and D’Wan Mathis as the likely candidates. A reporter speculated to Pittman that Mathis seemed to be the likely starter.
“I haven’t had a personal conversation with Kirby (Smart) and ask him who he’s going to start,” Pittman said. “I think you’re guessing as much as we are. But I can guarantee you not you or us or anybody is going to know who that starting quarterback is going to be for Georgia until he runs out there. That’s Kirby’s belief and that’s what it should be. If that’s what he believes that’s what it should be.”
Is there a contrast between Mathis and Daniels?
“Absolutely,” Pittman said. “With J.T. Daniels, you can go back and watch the Fresno State game from last season, and I mean he’s just throwing darts and throwing any angle. He’s a shortstop, he’s a right-fielder. He can do anything he wants with the football.
“And of course D’Wan, I was there at Georgia with D’Wan and we know what kind of arm he has. But he would be maybe a little bit more of a double threat, a dual threat, because he certainly can run. He can actually fly. He’s really fast, and to be honest with you, guys I’m really excited if he plays against us. I’m excited for him. Because he had surgery that might not have allowed him to play. He’s come a long way. Certainly we’re not wanting to play against him because he’s such a talented young man. But I’m certainly thrilled that he has been cleared and is ready to get his football career back on course. A wonderful kid.”
Pittman was once again asked if he had any idea who would start for the Bulldogs and also his thoughts if he was surprised Newman opted out?
“No, we really don’t know,” Pittman said. “I know that they played both JT and D’Wan in every scrimmage, you know. So, was I surprised about the opt out? Yeah, a little bit, but Georgia’s got some good quarterbacks. I think they’re loaded enough to where it won’t bother them too much. I understand the opt out and the reasons and all those things. But they’re still loaded with at least two really good quarterbacks. Really don’t have any idea who they’re going to play for sure. They’re probably going to play them both.”
Todd Monken is set to begin his first season as offensive coordinator at Georgia. The Bulldogs also hired former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke to replace Pittman on the offensive line.
“Well, going against Georgia, we know what great talent they have and obviously how well they’re coached,” Pittman said. “They’re certainly a big football team. They’re built for the SEC. What they’re going to do on offense, we’re really not sure. They may piece a little bit in from Ole Miss, a little bit from Southern Miss, a little bit from the (Cleveland) Browns. We’re doing a little bit of all that. We’re trying to be prepared for a little of a lot of different places that Monken has been to. Obviously their O-line coach has had experience in read and gap-scheme reads. So we’re just trying to prepare for everything from the Browns all the way to Southern Miss and Ole Miss.”
Pittman does feel the Bulldogs will try to do some of the things on offense his Hogs are doing with Kendal Briles.
“Well, the great thing that we have is we have our own offense, so that will help us prepare a little bit closer than if we were just a totally 12-personnel team and go downhill and hit you in the mouth,” Pittman said. “So, I think that part of it has helped us prepare a little bit, and then certainly we have different segments of scout work right now that we’re trying to prepare for – the different schematics and the different quarterbacks that we may see.
“Therefore, you won’t get as much reps against what they’re certainly going to do than you would to prepare for everything. So, that’s always the thought behind not naming your quarterback, all those things. One is you probably don’t know who it’s going to be yet. And two, the opponent has to prepare for two or three like we’re doing for Georgia, right now.”
Arkansas and Georgia will kickoff at 3 p.m. Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Click here for D’Wan Mathis’ profile.
Click here for JT Daniels’ profile.