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Friday Dawg Bites is Banking on Beck

Georgia v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Well, it wouldn’t be Georgia Football if the program’s biggest win in a few years wasn’t closely followed with some anxiety causing news.

Numerous outlets have reported that starting quarterback JT Daniels is dealing with a nagging injury. Daniels has an injury to his core, rumored to be a strained oblique, that has made his status questionable for Saturday’s game against the Blazers of UAB.

Sources have indicated that Daniels could play if need be, but with a lot of big goals and big games ahead for the Bulldogs it might not make sense to risk Daniels’s longterm health against UAB.

Enter Carson Beck, who has been receiving first team reps with Daniels hampered by injury. Entering this offseason Daniels was the clearly established starter. With five-star Brock Vandagriff signing in the Class of 2021 and five-star Gunner Stockton committed in the Class of 2022, some Georgia fans have discounted Beck when talking about the team’s future at the quarterback position.

But Beck hasn’t allowed himself to be forgotten. He showed promise in Georgia’s G-Day scrimmage in the spring, and reports during preseason practices had him outshining Daniels in some of the Bulldogs scrimmages. The fact Smart and Monken went out of their way to name him the clear #2 quarterback over a guy with SEC starting experience in Stetson Bennett IV is telling. So who is he? Connor Riley at Dawgnation wrote an excellent piece on the Jacksonville, FL product and his journey to this moment.

Beck has only started playing the position during his 10th grade year at a small Christian school. He then transferred to Mandarin High School and put up 39 touchdowns and 8 interceptions his Junior year of high-school. Beck’s arm was the thing that put Mandarin over the top as they won the 8A championship in the state’s highest classification.

Brandon Sudge of the Macon Telegraph caught up with Beck’s high-school coach this week to ask him what he thinks of his former pupil potentially taking over the Georgia offense on Saturday. He said a lot of interesting things, including that Beck has the strongest arm in Georgia’s quarterback room, but chief among them is he’s not sure UGA will be able to keep Beck off the field once he gets on it.

It’s worth noting that UAB is no cupcake. They’re one of the best teams in the Group of Five and they have a defense that ranked 7th nationally in 2020. Their defensive line is so deep that the Blazers had a lineman transfer to Auburn in search of more playing time. GlimmerTwinDawg showed restraint by only finding three reasons to be worried about this UAB squad.

The good news? If Kirby didn’t trust Beck we would see Daniels. If Daniels really couldn’t go we would see Bennett. With most of UGA’s starting pass catchers hurt or limited right now, Beck should be throwing to some familiar faces. The guys he’s throwing to on Saturday spent the last year on the scout team with him.

If Beck struggles, we will see Bennett or Daniels come in off the bench to steady the ship, but I personally don’t expect him to. Everyone I have talked to close to and within the program has raved about his talent, and I think Kirby is using this as an opportunity to get Daniels healthy and find out exactly what type of hand he’s holding with Beck.

Will this turn into another QB controversy in Athens? I doubt it. But it’d be a good problem to have.