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How have Georgia Quarterbacks performed in their second year under Kirby Smart?

With Carson Beck entering his second season as Georgia’s starter, here’s how the rest of Kirby Smart’s QBs have fared in year two.

Although he is a veteran of the Bulldogs program, Carson Beck is entering his second season as Georgia’s starter and will look to build on his successes of 2023. But what does the statistical history suggest about how Kirby Smart QBs perform in year two?

Despite entering the ninth season of the Kirby Smart era, the number of quarterbacks who have served as the Dawgs’ starter for multiple years under coach Smart remains quite small. Jake Fromm is the only quarterback to finish multiple seasons as Georgia’s starting signal caller (Stetson Bennett completed only one full season as the starting quarterback). This makes total yards and touchdowns a difficult metric to use as many quarterbacks were not starters all season.

But despite the lack of evidence, there are still a handful of useful statistics that suggest what improvements (or regressions) the Georgia quarterbacks have made in their second season as the Bulldogs’ main starter. Below is a list of each quarterback.

December 31, 2021;  Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) catches a football prior to the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium.  Mandatory credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

December 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) catches a football prior to the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory credits: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

As Georgia’s most decorated quarterback, ‘The Mailman’ made incredible progress from 2020 to 2021. Although he was not the full-time starter in either season, Bennett’s second go-around as Bulldogs starter was much more successful. The interception percentage dropped significantly from 3.8% in 2020 to just 2.4% in 2021. Bennett also averaged a touchdown every 9.9 attempts in 2021, which is a vast improvement from his average of 19.4 a year earlier.

September 23, 2017;  Athens, Georgia, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) passes against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first half at Sanford Stadium.  Mandatory credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

September 23, 2017; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) passes against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Fromm, the longest-tenured UGA starter under Kirby Smart, was a model of consistency throughout his career at Georgia. However, he made modest improvements from his true freshman season, increasing his completion percentage by more than 5% and throwing for six more touchdowns than the year before. However, his average length per completion remained the same and his total yards thrown were relatively similar.

November 19, 2011;  Athens, Georgia, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) runs the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium.  Mandatory credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

November 19, 2011; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) runs the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports / Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Although he did not play under the tutelage of Kirby Smart, Aaron Murray may be the best player to evaluate on this list as he is the only quarterback to have played under current Carson Beck offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Unfortunately for Murray, his second season as Georgia’s starter was statistically worse than his first. His interception percentage rose from 2.3% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2011 and his completion percentage dropped by as much as 2%. Murray’s passer rating also dropped by nearly nine points during that period. However, he did throw for 35 touchdowns in 2011, which is more than any Georgia quarterback under a Kirby Smart has ever thrown in a single season.

Although a small sample size and numerous caveats may not paint a clear picture of what improvements we can expect from Carson Beck this season. Beck’s veteran presence, top talent and tendency to take care of the football should result in an extremely successful second season as Georgia’s starter.

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