Is it time to worry if Carson Beck can lead these Bulldogs to another title?

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) warms up before the start of a game against Missouri.
Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) warms up before the start of a game against Missouri. /

Carson Beck has come under fire practically since being named Georgia’s starting quarterback after the 2023 Spring Football Game. So do the doubters and haters have some valid concerns?

Georgia football fans came into the 2023 season with some very lofty expectations of their Bulldogs, as well as what might be considered by some as a pretty short memory.

It seems Georgia fans wanted the same polished and well-oiled offense that made a massive comeback against Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and who routed TCU in the National Championship Game to step on the field right from the jump in 2023.

Not likely. Few offenses and quarterbacks have ever accomplished what Georgia and Stetson Bennett did in 2021 and 2022, and to place that kind of weight on Carson Beck as he took over under center for the Dawgs was not only unfair but a bit naive.

So here we are, entering Week 11 of the college football season, and Carson Beck has week-by-week evolved into a team leader as well as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation statistically.

But, were the doubters right? Is it time to start worrying a little?

Many experts say that Georgia’s Week 10 win over No. 14 Missouri was the first real test of the season. While the Week 6 blowout of Kentucky looked like a good win at the time, it’s become clear that the Wildcats aren’t quite the contender some thought.

Against Missouri, Carson Beck looked somewhat bleak. His usual composure in the pocket turned into a bit of a rattled mess dealing with the Mizzou pass rush in the first half of the game. He was sacked twice in the first two quarters and was constantly under pressure, even having to scramble and run for yards (something he’s not accustomed to doing).

Georgia “escaped” (as some want to phrase the win) 30-21 on the strength of a strong second half by Beck and the opportunistic Georgia defense. Now the Bulldogs must face another top opponent in No. 9 Ole Miss, who is fighting for their chance to make the SEC Championship Game.

Carson Beck shouldn’t be the concern, the Bulldogs’ defense should

Anyone who’s worried about Carson Beck’s ability to lead the Bulldogs over Ole Miss and to an eventual SEC title and College Football Playoff berth is worrying on the wrong level.

Georgia’s defense, not Beck, should be a bigger area of concern. This isn’t to say the Bulldogs have a bad defense — it’s actually very solid — but it’s nothing like Georgia fans saw for the last two seasons, and that means there’s more pressure on the offense to score points.

Missouri scored 21 points on Georgia’s defense, the fifth time this season Georgia has given up 20+ points. The Bulldogs only surrendered more than 20 points in the regular season three times in the past two years. So not only is Carson Beck re-learning how to play the game of football (as he told reporters after the Missouri game), but he’s having to make sure the Dawgs score in bunches to secure wins.

When you know your defense isn’t going to give up a lot of points, it takes a load off your shoulders as a quarterback. The game can slow down, and small mistakes like overthrown balls or fumbles that are almost lost don’t mean quite as much.

ALSO READ: The History Between Georgia and Ole Miss

Those little errors begin to pile up when your mindset is that you need to score, and Beck has been put in that position too often this season and has come through like a seasoned vet.

This isn’t to say that Beck doesn’t have a few things to work on. His decision-making could be quicker in some cases, and at times he even decides too quickly and opts for a safety receiver rather than looking for someone downfield.

His accuracy on long passes has been a bit off for much of the season, and he’s still learning when to use touch on a throw as opposed to arm strength.

But on the whole, Beck is doing exactly what’s expected of him. Through nine games, he’s completing 72 percent of his passes on 32 attempts per game and has a passer rating of 164.73, with 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions — all of those metrics better than his predecessor in 2022.

Georgia can still win the SEC and the National Championship, and Carson Beck can absolutely lead them there.

The door is wide open for Georgia to make their way to all the preseason goals and expectations. A win against Ole Miss guarantees a spot in the SEC Championship Game, and that, as much as anything is the first big hurdle towards the playoff and another national title.

Worry about Carson Beck? No. Georgia may have 99 problems, but Carson Beck ain’t one.