Georgia Football: There is still reason to believe in D’Wan Mathis

Georgia football redshirt-freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis had a rough debut, but there is still reason to believe.

Georgia football fans had long anticipated seeing D’Wan Mathis on the field for their Bulldogs. Unfortunately, his first start did not go as most would have hoped. Mathis completed eight of his 17 pass attempts for 55 yards, averaging just a little over three yards per attempt against Arkansas in the season-opener.

He ran ten times for four yards, however, he did run for 16 yards on his second play of the game but a holding penalty negated the play. He also threw an interception and had an unforced fumble.

This prompted a few Georgia football fans to completely give up on Mathis after seeing him play just 18 minutes of football at the college level. They are saying things like “he’s not the guy”, “he sucks”, and “that stupid quarterback.” Harsh words for a kid that is just a year removed from brain surgery trying to prepare for the weirdest season in college football history.

Georgia had just 22 practices and three scrimmages to get ready for the season. Most of that time Jamie Newman was seeing a majority of the reps with the first-team offense. When he opted out of the season that left Georgia football to scramble to get a quarterback ready to start against Arkansas.

JT Daniels and Mathis competed for the open starting quarterback position. Once it was clear that Daniels wouldn’t be cleared before Georgia left for their trip to Fayetteville Mathis began getting a majority of the first-team offensive snaps. However, that was just about a month ago. Mathis may have gotten around 200 to 300 snaps with the first-team offense at the most. Typically a starting quarterback gets around 1000 snaps during offseason training.

To add to the short end of the stick that was handed to Mathis, he didn’t get the tune-up game that most new SEC quarterbacks get. There was no game against a weak non-conference opponent to build his confidence against. He was thrown straight into the ring against SEC level competition, even if that team was Arkansas.

To make matters worse, the offense was completely out of sorts, and not all of that was on Mathis. However, with an inexperienced quarterback in the game and a few new starters on the offensive line, Georgia football’s offense quickly found itself in quicksand.

Here is what Kirby Smart had to say about why the offense looked “sloppy” on against Arkansas, via Georgiadogs.com:

Smart: Why they looked sloppy and uncharacteristic:

“It starts with the penalties. Also we had guys busting assignments, guys missing signals and guys not doing what they’re supposed to do. That’s 100 percent what I attribute it to. When
you turn the ball over— which we did when we had a pretty good drive — when you hold people and line up in the backfield, you’re not going to have a lot of success. That’s just not going to happen. Nobody’s going to give you plays on second-and-15 and second-and-20. It just not going to happen. You got to be efficient, you’ve got to execute, play clean. We did not play clean
today.”

Mathis will get a chance to show he is deserving of another shot to play as the season goes on. He will once again be competing against the now-medically cleared JT Daniels, Stetson Bennett, and Carson Beck. Smart and Todd Munken will be paying close attention to Mathis’ body language as well as his performance in practice.

Mathis’ confidence was shaken against Arkansas and understandably so. He is a redshirt-freshman that was making his first start in the SEC. Expect to see his teammates to rally around him and try to lift his spirits. Outside of his teammates, most of Bulldawg Nation are backing Mathis and want to see him succeed.

Hopefully, we have not seen the last of No. 2 at quarterback for Georgia. This story deserves a much happier ending.

Next: Breaking Down UGA's Shot at Another SEC East Title