Maestro, today’s theme music:
As you can imagine there’s no shortage of takes this morning on what Jamie Newman’s decision to forego his only season in Athens means for all involved.
Connor Riley of Dawg Nation points out that Newman had a lot of potential but truly wasn’t much more of a known commodity than the Dawgs’ other options at the position. But as Connor also admits, with a front-loaded schedule having your starting quarterback walk away three weeks before the first game isn’t ideal, even if he wasn’t perfect. Point being, there’s no way to spin this as good news. But you can certainly make the argument that quarterback is one area at which the drop off may not be that severe.
It’s also worth noting that Newman was never going to have more than one year in Athens. Some of the others vying to replace him could hold down the job for a couple of years before handing the reins over to incoming blue chipper Brock Vandagriff as a redshirt freshman. Who knows?
Dawgs247 looks at the broad contours of the race to replace Newman and places JT Daniels as the favorite.
That’s a fairly safe bet, but I’d caution that you shouldn’t count D’Wan Mathis out either. Remember, Daniels is still waiting on medical clearance for his surgically repaired knee. And Mathis has probably the strongest arm and best wheels in the quarterback room. With everyone on the depth chart starting fresh in Todd Monken’s offense, Mathis may get a hard look based on his raw potential.
Kirby Smart issued his official statement on Newman’s decision, pragmatically saying that his program placed the safety and wellness of its players above all else, wishing Newman the best, and saying he’ll always have a home in Athens.
I mean, what else is he supposed to say? Certainly you don’t bring in a graduate transfer and give him a scholarship for him not to play. Deep down, I expect Coach Smart, like all the Type A control junkies who find themselves in charge of major college football programs, is frustrated, if not furious.
But these are unprecedented times and Kirby Smart has been at the vanguard of coaches pushing for players to have a voice in their own safety. He’s not going to go back on that stance now, nor should he. It is what it is.
Which brings us to your morning words of wisdom.
Remember over the summer when we talked about Georgia mental conditioning consultant Trevor Moawad and his focus on “neutral thinking?” How challenged aren’t good or bad, they just…are? Well, this is one of those times when neutral thinking is instructive. I guarantee you Kirby Smart isn’t sitting around this morning ruminating on Jamie Newman’s decision. He’s already moves on to figuring out who’s next up and making sure that guy is ready. Because the SEC doesn’t have time for self-pity.
Two things can be true at the same time. Jamie Newman can absolutely have the right to do what is in his best interest personally, opting out of the 2020 season and safeguarding his NFL draft stock in the process. Also, his teammates and Bulldog fans can feel a bit hurt that their putative starter at quarterback is leaving them in the lurch three weeks before the season starts. In the end we need a quarterback to start in three weeks against the University of Arkansas. As soon as the Bulldog coaches tip their hand on who that’ll be, we’ll be here to talk about it. Until later…