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Breaking down Georgia's quarterback battle

Georgia isn't the perfect team, but an argument can be made that the Bulldogs might be a quarterback away from winning the SEC Eastern Division and more in 2015.

Sure, questions remain on defense, especially up front and at linebacker, and the receiver situation has to be ironed out behind Malcolm Mitchell, but finding the right quarterback to lead this team might be exactly what Georgia needs to make a strong title run this fall.

Finding that quarterback won't exactly be easy for coach Mark Richt or new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. There's a three-man race for the starting position taking place in Athens, and the hope is that one of them can push Georgia's passing game back to a more elite level this year.

The contenders: Redshirt sophomore Brice Ramsey, redshirt freshman Jacob Park and redshirt junior Faton Bauta.

On paper, Ramsey, a one-time four-star prospect, is the early favorite. He's the only quarterback on the roster with real, extensive game experience. Serving as Hutson Mason's backup last year, Ramsey threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, while seeing work in eight games. Ramsey certainly showed a lot of arm strength during his relief duty. I'm not calling him Matt Stafford, but when his arm is in control it's a thing of beauty.

But he also showed that he can be wild with the football, too. Of course, for young quarterbacks with monster arms that's natural. Ramsey will have to work through that and have to develop some better chemistry with his receivers, but he also won't be handed the job this spring. Oh no, Richt envisions this thing being a highly contested battle among the three.

"I'd say it's more 1A, B and C," Richt said earlier this month. "It really is a matter of giving all those guys an opportunity to get reps and try to make it as equal as possible. I'm sure we'll be rotating who's No. 1 on any given day as far as who works with that unit. I'm sure every quarterback will get reps with the ones and the twos."

A heavy rotation is certainly a smart way of going about things, but it can get bunched up when you have three. Remember, three's a crowd.

Which brings us to Park. Now, he redshirted last year, giving him a year to learn from the older guys, get his body ready, and allowing him to sit and watch. Sometimes just watching what others do and learning visually can do wonders for a youngster.

Now, the former South Carolina Mr. Football will get to learn by going through the motions, and his athleticism gives him an advantage over his quarterback mates. He's shifty, but throws a nice ball both stationary and on the move. While the Bulldogs aren't going to run a spread offense this year, Park's ability to extend plays with his feet will give him an element the others doesn't have as much of. He also has impressed with his attitude and work ethic.

Many believe this is really just a two-man race, but you can't count Bauta out of it. He's the old man of the group, but that just means he has seen a lot more and has spent more time learning. He learned from both Aaron Murray and Mason, and while he only played in two games last year (throwing for 48 yards) he won't be spooked by the anxiety that comes with any quarterback race. He might be limited a little more in the talent department compared to the other two, but sometimes you just need someone who can take care of the football. Don't dismiss the mental game when it comes to finding a quarterback.

Now, when that quarterback will actually be found is a mystery. Richt has already made it clear that he isn't setting a date on that and I think he'd be surprised to name a starter this spring, especially with a new offensive coordinator running things.

"With the amount of transition and learning going on, I'm not certain we'll be able to make that determination at that point," he said. "The big thing is to give these guys opportunities, see how they handle it and evaluate and try to make that determination when we get there."