1958: Charlie Britt and Fran Tarkenton
In 1958, wonder boy sophomore and hometown hero of state champion Athens High School, Fran Tarkenton, set out to unseat veteran Charlie Britt as Georgia’s quarterback. Tarkenton proved to be the superior playmaker, replacing starter Charlie Britt to drive the Dawgs 95 yards for a tying touchdown against Texas in Austin in the season opener.
Head Coach Wally Butts had very distinct notions about quarterback play and the starter Charlie Britt returned to the game to replace Tarkenton. Georgia went on to lose 13 – 7. After Tarkenton started the next game against Vanderbilt, Britt replaced Tarkenton after three offensive plays. A 14 – 7 loss was the ultimate result.
Tarkenton’s treatment – along with some typically harsh words from Coach Butts – ignited a full-scale quarterback controversy and discouraged the young Tarkenton so much he quit the team during the season. Fortunately, Georgia assistant coach Quinton Lumpkin, the cool counter weight to Coach Butts fire and verve, talked Tarkenton back into the fold.
With Georgia still playing one platoon football under the NCAA limited substitution rules, Butts settled into a pattern of using the play making Tarkenton when Georgia needed points and the big and strong Britt when Georgia was in a defensive posture. The result was a 4-6 record, including a second consecutive defeat of Georgia Tech.
Next: Destiny's Quarterbacks