After his big performance in the 2021 Sugar Bowl, Georgia football fans are once again yammering about losing Justin Fields.
The Georgia football program is in a good place. The turmoil from 2020 is behind us and the future looks pretty darned bright for JT Daniels and the Dawgs.
So why then are we once again hearing about what an unbelievable mistake it was to let Justin Fields roam off to Columbus, Ohio while Jake Fromm led the Bulldogs to the “almost land”?
Let it go, folks. Just, let it go.
Yes, on the surface, taking a cursory view of how things turned out it might seem like it was a huge mistake by Kirby Smart. However, if you really dig deep into the reasoning behind Fields leaving and what transpired, it’s not hard to understand that it wasn’t Georgia “letting him go”.
The fact is that Jake Fromm had just led Georgia to a national championship game and had nearly beaten the Alabama Crimson Tide (and the bogus Tyler Simmons offside call was the difference in that actually happening).
With that in mind, you have to know that the QB1 position was Fromm’s to lose, and Justin Fields, Jacob Eason, or anyone else on the team would have to outplay him to get it.
In the case of Fields, he may have very well been able to eventually dethrone Fromm, if …
If he had just been patient.
Fields suffered from Veruca Salt syndrome … “I want it now!” … and his father, Pablo Fields, was more than happy to help be the catalyst to get Justin what he wanted. When it was clear that Justin was not going to be the day one starter in 2018, they began their journey into the transfer portal and eventually to Ohio State.
Again, looking at Justin Fields 2020 and Justin Fields 2017, the comparison isn’t even close, but Justin Fields 2020 could be even better and sitting pretty as the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, if …
If he had just been patient.
Georgia football and Justin Fields needed time.
The system Ohio State uses lends itself to quarterbacks being able to jump in and succeed in a hurry. It’s a less complex system than the one typically employed by Georgia, and while the fruits of that system are high-yield while in college, the quarterbacks running it are often ill-prepared for the rigors of starting in the NFL.
Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Dwayne Haskins are all quarterbacks who thrived and lit up the stat sheets while in the Buckeyes current offense, yet every one of them is either looking for work or relegated to a practice squad player currently.
Had Fields showed patience and taken the time to learn the more complex pro-style offense at Georgia, there’s no doubt he would have eventually surpassed Fromm. He just wasn’t there yet in August of 2018.
In the end, Fields did what he thought was best for him, and it had absolutely nothing to do with Kirby Smart “picking” Jake Fromm over Fields. The Georgia head coach did what was best for the program at the time.
No one truly knows the conversations that went on between Smart and Fields when this all came about, but it’s probably a safe bet to assume Kirby Smart didn’t say “Go ahead, leave. We don’t need you. You’ll never start over Fromm anyway.”
Chances are it was probably a plea for patience, and a roadmap to how he could eventually be Georgia’s starting quarterback.
Justin Fields has had a nice career (short as it’s been) at Ohio State. But don’t be surprised if he’s next in the line of Scarlet and Gray quarterbacks who finds life in the NFL a lot more daunting than life in the Big Ten.