Georgia may not have a de facto No. 1 quarterback for the rest of the season.
Stetson Bennett has started the four games that JT Daniels has missed due to injury in 2021. Daniels practiced fully Wednesday as he recovers from a lat strain that has sidelined him for the past month, but he may not be the team's starter when he comes back.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart told ESPN on Thursday that he may end up playing matchups with his quarterbacks over the rest of the season. The No. 1 Bulldogs are off in Week 8 before playing Florida on Oct. 30.
"I'm not sure we know who the better one is based on which game plan we have," Smart said. "There are teams we play that we have to be able to use the quarterback in the run game. Well, that's Stetson. There are teams we play that you have to get the ball out quickly and be really accurate. That's JT. But the first thing with JT is that he's got to be healthy."
It is, of course, impossible to rule out that Smart is simply engaging in a bit of gamesmanship ahead of the rivalry game. Florida's in a QB conundrum itself. Backup Anthony Richardson has flashed in his limited playing time and he could end up starting against Georgia over Emory Jones.
But Bennett's play in Daniels' absence has added a lot of legitimacy to Smart's comments about Georgia's QB situation. Bennett has been miles better than he was in 2020 in Daniels' absence. There was a clear uptick in Georgia's offensive performance after Daniels was deemed healthy enough to start after knee surgery and he ended the 2020 season as Georgia's starter. This year, there's been no noticeable difference in performance.
Bennett is 57-of-82 passing for 996 yards and has thrown 11 TDs to two interceptions. He’s also rushed for nearly eight yards a carry. Daniels is 54-of-71 passing for 567 yards and five touchdowns and two interceptions. While Daniels is completing more of his passes, Bennett is averaging more yards per attempt.
If Georgia goes with a multiple-QB system down the stretch, it'll be the first team in the College Football Playoff era to win the national title while rotating QBs. The last team that won a title while playing two quarterbacks was the 2007 Florida team that had both Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.
And thankfully for Georgia, the schedule is pretty easy for the rest of the regular season for any QB experimenting once Daniels is back. Florida and Tennessee at 4-3 are the only two teams remaining on Georgia's schedule above .500.