Smart names Beck the starting quarterback as No. 1 Georgia seeks 3rd straight title

FILE - Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) throws in the first half of Georgia's spring NCAA...
FILE - Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) throws in the first half of Georgia's spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Athens, Ga. Coach Kirby Smart has made it clear that Carson Beck is the quarterback to beat. (AP Photo/Brett Davis, File)(Brett Davis | AP)
Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 9:24 PM EDT
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Carson Beck will open the season as No. 1 Georgia’s starting quarterback as the Bulldogs begin their quest for a third straight national championship.

Coach Kirby Smart named Beck the starter on Saturday, and the announcement was not a surprise. Beck was the top backup for Stetson Bennett in 2022 and ended spring practice atop Georgia’s depth chart.

“He’s done the best job,” Smart said of Beck, the junior who threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns last season. “We communicated that earlier in the week to the other quarterbacks, and we’ve kind of been operating that way. The other guys have done a tremendous job in terms of competing, and they’re going to continue to do that.”

Beck entered preseason practice as the favorite in the competition with Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton. Beck took advantage of his edge in experience over the other contenders.

“We haven’t set anything in terms of who the second quarterback is or how those reps are going to be divvied up,” Smart said. “Carson is ahead of the other guys in terms of what he understands about the offense. I’ll be honest with you; I was really impressed with the other two quarterbacks throughout camp and how far they’ve come in terms of improvement.”

Bennett’s success will be difficult for Beck to match. Bennett was offensive MVP of both national championship game victories and a Heisman Trophy finalist last year.

Mike Bobo has taken over as Georgia’s new offensive coordinator after assisting last season under Todd Monken, the new Baltimore Ravens coordinator.

“Coach Bobo has done a great job with those guys, and they both made a lot of plays with their feet and done some good things,” Smart said. “Carson has been in this offense for a year over one of them and two years over Gunner, and he’s just ahead.”

Smart said Vandagriff and Stockton “will be able to go with the ones here in the next two weeks some and get more reps and figure out if we even have a two, who that’s going to be and how that’s going to go forward.”