Skip to main content

Georgia's shaky quarterback depth evident on G-Day

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs04/15/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s depth – or lack thereof – in the quarterback room was easy to see on Saturday? The Bulldogs have their starter in Carson Beck. We all know that. Gunner Stockton is likely to act as the backup this fall while freshman Ryan Puglisi learns the ropes. However, it was just the first two that took the field on G-Day with Puglisi sidelined due to injury. While Kirby Smart told reporters it’s not a serious injury that’ll keep him out for long, it did highlight how thin UGA truly is with its quarterbacks.

“The knee injury, it’s a small stress fracture. It’s not a break or a significant injury. It’s a shut down injury and let it rest,” Smart said about what it was that sidelined Puglisi and had him on a single crutch Saturday. “We listened to what the doctor said and did that. But it’s not a long-term problem. But it did affect us in terms of reps. It probably gave Gunner more growth than ever because he took twos, threes. Gunner just took a ton of reps.”

In the grand scheme of things, Stockton taking reps with both the twos and threes this spring might not be the worst thing in the world for Georgia. It allows the Tiger, Ga. native, who threw for 246 yards on 23-of-37 (62.2%) passing, to develop his skills and continue to gain comfort in the system after having previously been behind both Beck and Brock Vandagriff – along with Stetson Bennett in 2022 – fighting for reps. Meanwhile, Puglisi was able to get his feet wet during Orange Bowl prep and early in the spring before aggravating the injury Smart said he dealt with at times in high school.

At the same time, Georgia only having two scholarship quarterbacks available on Saturday showed just how important it is for the Bulldogs to add to the room in the spring transfer portal window. They’re just a couple of plays away from counting on inexperienced options. It’s a big reason why Kirby Smart admitted he was scared when Beck got rolled up on at one point during the spring game. Needless to say, adding some support would help everybody sleep easier at night and be beneficial – not just for 2024 but potentially for the future too. It’s something Smart has expressed interest in before and tried to make happen earlier this year with UNLV transfer Jayden Maiava, now at USC.

“Coach Smart has always said he wants four quarterbacks. Four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and that’s probably what it should be at the University of Georgia,” Stockton said when speaking with reporters ahead of G-Day. “As a quarterback, why not would you want to come here. It should be a battle, a competition and everything. It’s awesome.” 

“Oh yeah, I always want to have, our goal is to have four and a really good walk-on. That’s the goal,” Smart added after G-Day about his preference on scholarship numbers for quarterbacks. “We think we’ve got a preferred walk-on kid that’s a really good player that’s coming in (Colter Ginn), excited about him. We thought he was a really good player in our state. We’ll see what happens. I can’t predict the portal, I won’t even try to. I’m worried about our guys and the retention of our players.”

In the meantime, Georgia remains with three on scholarship – Beck, Stockton and Puglisi – and has a few walk-ons as extra arms. They’ll all work to develop this offseason regardless of whether or not another signal caller joins them, knowing that if things were to go wrong, any one of them could be called upon at a moment’s notice.

You may also like