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Baseball background helps Georgia QB Carson Beck face pressure

Georgia football fans have plenty of reason to be happy that a former Florida baseball commit is now running the Bulldogs’ offense.

As No. 1 Georgia begins preparations to visit Vanderbilt on Saturday, coach Kirby Smart pointed to quarterback Carson Beck’s baseball background as a major reason why Beck can handle the pressures of facing a heavy blitz when leading the nation’s top-ranked team.

There’s no blitzing in baseball, of course, but Smart feels there is immense pressure in different ways.

“You know, a baseball background, I’ve learned, gives you the ability to handle pressure, because there’s no greater pressure than you have to throw a strike,” Smart said. “Nobody can help you throw that strike — no coach, no pitching coach. You gotta stand out there and throw a strike. … And (Beck) does well under pressure, and he has 10 good friends that are on the same page with him.”

Beck had a career day Saturday when Georgia crushed then-No. 20 Kentucky 51-13. He set personal highs in completions (28 on 35 attempts), yards (389) and touchdowns (four) — all while Kentucky blitzed him relentlessly. He won SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

“First and foremost, the offensive line picking up the blitz helps me. Big time,” Beck said Monday. “Not only that, but the center, Sedrick (Van Pran), and my study of film and seeing what defenses are going to try and do when they do blitz us, making the right ID as far as Mike points and changing protections and all that stuff. Having Sedrick there to help me with that and then also just studying film. Obviously, the execution of it, picking up the blitz, but that’s a huge credit to our offensive line.”

Smart cited not only Beck’s composure, but also his mental processing as keys to beat a blitz.

“You have to process information rapidly, and the more information you can handle, the more flexibility your offense has. And the flexibility of an offense is usually tied to what the quarterback can handle. And our quarterback — not only because he’s smart, because he’s also of age and been in the same system for multiple years — has been able to grow from that.”

Beck, a junior from Jacksonville, Fla., grew up a Gators fan and committed at one point to play baseball for Florida with one of his friends. Before long, football became his best sport, and his best option for college.

“Being a pitcher, playing baseball, you’re the only guy that’s really doing anything when you’re up there pitching,” Beck said. “Baseball’s a little bit more boring of a sport. When you’re sitting there pitching, you’re the guy, all the weight is on you to sit there and execute. Whether you’re throwing 80, 90, 100 pitches a game. I definitely say that can accredit to the way that I handle pressure.”

After joining Georgia, he waited patiently behind Stetson Bennett, the quarterback of Georgia’s back-to-back national title teams.

Smart was never concerned about the Bulldogs’ shift this season from Bennett and offensive coordinator Todd Monken to Beck and new OC Mike Bobo.

“I made a quick decision there because I was really confident, and we had the luxury of having a quarterback coming back that really wasn’t your typical first-time starter,” Smart said. “When you have a guy that’s been in the system as long as he has, I felt comfortable that he knew the system.”

–Field Level Media

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