Bauta adds new dimension to UGA QBs

To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice March 20, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day, and feature one player to watch at that position. We begin today with quarterbacks and freshman Faton Bauta.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Faton Bauta had no shortage of options when it came time to pick a college football program.

One of the selling points in Bauta’s choosing Georgia was that Mark Richt’s coaching staff identified his potential as a quarterback and told him he could play his preferred position.

Now Bauta hopes to spice up the Bulldogs’ quarterback competition in his first spring practice with the team. And he has the ability to do so, since he possesses a completely different skill set than the other members of Georgia’s quarterback corps.

Bauta is still a bit raw as a signal-caller, having played numerous other positions before narrowing his focus on one position as a senior at Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. His hard-nosed mentality from performing in other roles -- like linebacker -- still remains, as he can be an imposing runner when he lowers his head to take on defensive opponents.

Of course his first objective at Georgia is to sharpen his skills as a traditional quarterback by learning the finer points of the Bulldogs’ playbook and pro-style offense. Bauta wants his physical running ability to complement his quarterbacking ability, not remain his trademark.

That talent could help Bauta contribute more quickly, however, since it differentiates him from All-SEC starter Aaron Murray and backups Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay.

This spring, Bauta can make a case for Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to find ways to use him if he begins to master the offense and show that he can bring an element to the scheme that his counterparts can’t.

Bauta is adamant that he wants to play quarterback in college, not move to safety, tight end or fullback. This is his first chance to prove he can handle the job -- and make Georgia’s quarterback battle much more interesting over the next few seasons.