By way of pure coincidence, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman’s first game in his new role is against his old employer, Georgia. Like most years, the Bulldogs are waiting to reveal their starting quarterback until Saturday’s season-opening kickoff.
Quarterback battles are a staple inside Georgia’s football facility through Kirby Smart’s first five years at the helm. Pittman has been in those preseason meetings for four of them.
I know they played JT and D’Wan in every scrimmage, Pittman said in his Monday press conference from Fayetteville, Ark. Georgia has some good quarterbacks, and they’re loaded enough to where it won’t matter too much. I don’t have any idea who they’ll play for sure. They’re probably going to play them both.
Nearly 800 miles back to the east, Smart is hopeful that Daniels — the transfer from Southern Cal — will be fully cleared by Saturday. Daniels suffered a torn ACL last season in Los Angeles, and had a cleanup procedure in December for extra work on his knee. The additional surgery, Smart said, pushed back Daniels’ timeline.
Georgia has kept its quarterback choice locked and sealed inside its football offices. The same can be said for previous competitions involving Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm and Justin Fields. Now, it’s a waiting game for the race between Daniels and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis.
Plenty has been said about Mathis. Some believe Mathis, a former four-star recruit out of Michigan, has emerged after running with the first-team in scrimmages. For quite some time, the battle has been trimmed to Mathis and Daniels after Jamie Newman’s opt out in early September.
I’m excited about the guys who have competed, Smart said, adding Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett into the mix. They have all done a good job. I’m excited to see those guys go out and play. I feel comfortable with all of those guys.
Pittman has two vantage points when planning for the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks. He only has tape, like many others, on Daniels. After watching tape of the Fresno State game in 2019, Pittman had strong praises for Daniels’ arm strength. For Mathis, however, Pittman got to watch Mathis practice and develop over the past year.