At 6’4”, 230 pounds, Fitzgerald looks and plays like the ideal centerpiece for Dan Mullen’s offense, which has never valued conventional polish in the pocket as much as it does big, durable athletes who can carry a full workload in the running game.
Last year, Fitzgerald ran for more yards in a single season (1,375) than any SEC quarterback ever who isn’t Cam Newton or Johnny Manziel; he also did enough through the air to succeed Dak Prescott as the conference’s total offense leader as a redshirt sophomore.
Long-term, of course, Fitzgerald’s pro future will hinge much less on the former than on the continued growth of his right arm. Not like Tim Tebow, fast-for-a-big-quarterback, scramble-for-the-first-down fast. Like split-the-safeties-in-the-open-field, take-it-to-the-house fast. That was one of 17 Fitzgerald runs last year that gained at least 25 yards, second in the SEC only to Derrius Guice; five of those went for at least 50 yards, which led the SEC.
(Even then, he managed more positive rushing yards against the Tide than Guice, Leonard Fournette, Kamryn Pettway, or Alvin Kamara.) Nothing about the way he’s been used in the first two games this year suggests that will change. Fitzgerald has had his moments as a passer, most notably in a wild, 58-42 loss to Arkansas last November, in which he finished 23-of-33 for 328 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions; the resulting efficiency rating in that game (173.2) was his best by far against an FBS opponent.
When the ground game was humming — which it usually was — he was efficient enough in wins over South Caroilna, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss, throwing multiple touchdown passes in each of those games.
On Saturday he ripped off two touchdown runs against Louisiana Tech covering 30 and 44 yards, respectively.
The list of tight end-sized quarterbacks with that kind of reliable big-play potential in the option game is extremely short, and it doesn’t include Prescott.
But generally speaking his arm did not inspire fear, and certainly didn’t warrant comparisons to his predecessor’s.
With the exception of the Alabama game and a pair of midseason losses at BYU and Kentucky, he was rarely .Otherwise, his stat line at Notre Dame was pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a true freshman on his first road trip: 16-of-29, 141 yards, one touchdown, two turnovers (one fumble, one interception), few notable attempts downfield.The interception was bad, but ultimately didn’t cost Georgia anything just before the half.Given the rest of Georgia’s schedule, that might be good enough to the take the Bulldogs an awfully long way: None of the toughest remaining tests (against Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, and Georgia Tech) look any more daunting right now than the one Fromm just passed, and there’s clearly no need to rush Jacob Eason back from the knee injury that kept him sidelined in South Bend. I dunno, something tells me the bets that drove up those odds aren’t going to be paying off. Admittedly, I was a very willing passenger on the preseason Stidham bandwagon, and it’s very possible that his nightmare outing at Clemson said more about Clemson’s absurdly talented defensive line than it did about its latest victim.Whether it was good enough for Fromm to continue to earn significant reps whenever Eason is 100 percent is another story. In my weekly Monday recap, I put most of the blame for that debacle on Auburn’s offensive line, and on a game plan that failed to adjust when it became abundantly clear the o-line had no chance of sustaining a clean pocket against an NFL-ready pass rush. Each week, QB Curve will keep you up to speed on the game’s most important position by putting a different SEC signal-caller in the spotlight and putting the rest of the field in perspective. Fitzgerald is the rare SEC starter these days who isn’t a product of Quarterback Finishing School, the circuit of camps designed to hone seemingly every 15-year-old with D-I ambitions into a prolific spread passer with his choice of scholarships.