For those wondering if Kirby Smart will name a quarterback prior to this season’s opener at Arkansas, do not hold your breath.
“As far as we can tell, it will probably be a game-time decision,” Smart said during a Tuesday Zoom session with reporters.
A surprise? Not hardly.
It has long been assumed that Smart would wait until the last moment to reveal whether JT Daniels or D’Wan Mathis will make their first career start for the Bulldogs
So, although Smart may or may not have an idea whole will start under center against the Razorbacks, he’s not about to drop Arkansas coach Sam Pittman any early hints.
“It’s not a problem for me. That seems to be the norm here,” Smart said of his quarterback competition. “We’ve had it before, so it’s not a cause for concern among our staff, our organization, or our kids. We talk about it a lot with our players to make sure they understand where we are.”
Daniels, the transfer from Southern Cal, is still not cleared for contact, although Smart indicated it is just a matter of time.
“JT is not completely cleared yet. He is practicing with us which he’s been doing,” Smart said. “If we didn’t think he was going to be cleared then we wouldn’t be practicing him. He’s continuing to practice and so is D’Wan, Carson (Beck) and Stetson (Bennett).”
That was not the only bit of information Smart offered on Daniels, revealing that the former five-star actually underwent a post-operative correction back in January to make a small correction to the original operation to repair the ACL.
“The part about him getting cleared, we certainly expect him to get cleared and think he will get cleared but that’s not my decision. That goes a lot into Ron [Courson] and them. That goes into flexibility. That goes into strength. How far is the left knee from the right knee? What is the girth of the knee? What is the muscle mass missing? There are a lot of things that go into it that the doctors have to do to clear him medically, to clear him to take hits, to be able to play.”
Which brings us to Mathis.
The redshirt freshman received most of the reps with the first team during Saturday’s scrimmage, causing many to wonder if the Michigan native had vaulted himself to the top of pecking order.
Smart was asked if they might be onto something.
“They certainly have a right to. It does not concern me. It was part of the rotation as far as each day, and it just so happens that they were there that day,” Smart said. “Each day we have rotated guys that have gone with the ones, and that’s the day that (Mathis’) fell on. For the most part, we’ve done a really good job for I think 16 practices, today being the 17th, that we’ve rolled—that doesn’t mean we’ve had a different guy every day, but we have a rotation that we do. That was just part of the rotation.”
According to Smart, he and offensive coordinator Todd Monken will continue to make their evaluations before making their final call.
“Each time I’ve done it has been with a different coordinator, so it’s like you learn what each one wants, what each one kind of commands,” Smart said. “You try to figure out what gives you the best chance to win, what gives you the best chance to score points. So, there are some similarities between all of them, all the competitions and the decision-making process, although I certainly like having a proven guy as well.”