Months of waiting have come to an end for the Georgia Bulldogs, who finally know who their starting quarterback Sept. 2 against Western Kentucky will be. Georgia head coach Mark Richt announced Sunday night that fifth-year senior Joe Tereshinski will begin the 2006 season as the starter.
Richt, who made the announcement in a teleconference with media after informing each quarterback of the decision earlier in the day, also announced redshirt freshman Joe Cox is currently Georgia's No. 2 quarterback ahead of Co.-No. 3s Blake Barnes and true freshman Matthew Stafford.
Richt said that three quarterbacks could play against Western Kentucky. Georgia's coaching staff isn't quite sure how the snaps in the game will be divided up if the Bulldogs opt to give three quarterbacks time on the field during the season opener.
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"There are still two weeks to prepare. Opinions can change. I just didn't want to make that decision right now," said Richt, who plans to conference with quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo to further break down playing time behind Tereshinski as the Western Kentucky game approaches.
When Tereshinski takes the field against Western Kentucky, the Athens native will make the second start of his career. The other came last year in place of the injured D.J. Shockley in a 14-10 loss to Florida when he was 8-of-21 for 100 yards.
"He's been very solid all the way through and very consistent, he's done a very nice job," Richt said. "He deserves the starting position for this ball game."
Though Stafford is one of Georgia's two No. 3 quarterbacks, Richt doesn't see it as a knock on the play of the true freshman who enrolled early at Georgia to get a better handle on the offense.
"Stafford's done a lot of great things. When he does it right, it's exciting to watch. He's been behind 8-ball. He's a true freshman and performed extremely well. I'm not disappointed in any shape or form."
In time though, Richt expects Stafford to be ready to be a bigger part of Georgia's offense.
"I think other guys are more prepared at this moment," Richt said. "With time, he'll get more and more comfortable."
When Richt told Stafford he was tied with Barnes with No. 3 on the depth chart, he made it a point to stress the importance of maintaining the effort that he's shown since arriving on campus last January.
"You realize this thing isn't a sprint. He knows this is a starting point. All he's got to do is keep repping, keep preparing and keep getting better on a daily basis," Richt said. "The more he learns, the better he's going to be."
Added Richt: "The main thing I talked to him about is continuing to compete and continuing to get better and seeing how this thing unfolds. It's a long season."
Cox entered preseason camp as Georgia's No. 3 quarterback behind Tereshinski and Barnes. Cox was awarded the No. 2 slot after not only overcoming Barnes being ahead of him, but a rocky G-Day in which he threw four interceptions.
"Joe Cox has done a lot of nice things himself. He's come and on really run the system well," Richt said. "He's been fairly consistent, not as consistent as he needs to be, but made lot of strides."
Barnes made strides during preseason camp after being slowed by a sore knee during spring camp that was also ended early by a thumb injury, but it wasn't enough to hold off Cox, according to Richt.
"Spring was tough on him then in camp he came in and really had a good showing," Richt said.
Richt had originally planned to inform each quarterback of his decision Monday afternoon, but thought better of it Sunday.
"They all played well," Richt said. "The thing that I said all the way was true as far as how pleased I was with them and how difficult of decision it was."