Stetson Bennett made his second start of the season Saturday after JT Daniels missed the game with a sprain of his latissimus dorsi (lat), the muscle that connects the arms to the vertebrae column. Coach Kirby Smart said afterward that it would continue to be a week-to-week decision on Daniels' availability.
"It's a Grade 1 sprain, and we think we're going to be able to get him back, but we don't know when," Smart said. "I know this: The men in that locker room have confidence in whoever we put out there. I know y'all don't believe me and say, 'Yeah, that's just coach-speak,' but I have confidence in our quarterbacks. ... It's unfortunate that JT can't go. It's not like we've done anything to make him worse. If anything, he's had a lot of time off."
Smart noted that Daniels was also dealing with an oblique injury coming into the season, which Smart said worsened in the season-opening win over Clemson.
"They are two separate injuries and painful. We're hoping to get [Daniels] back," Smart said. "I'm not losing sleep over it because it's beyond our control. Stetson Bennett is a really good quarterback. I keep saying that and people don't believe us, but he's a good quarterback."
Bennett attempted only 11 passes Saturday and completed seven of them for 72 yards, as Georgia leaned on its running game (273 yards) and a defense that shut out a second straight SEC opponent for the first time since the 1980 season, which produced the Dawgs' last national championship.
Smart said he has reached out to trainers with the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, and that while Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a similar injury, Daniels' injury isn't believed to be as extreme.
"There's nothing we can do but let it heal," said Smart, whose team plays at Auburn next week. Asked if Daniels was close to being able to play Saturday, Smart grew testy.
"Why is this the conversation, was it close?" he said. "He couldn't play. He couldn't go out and effectively lead the team and play. ... The story should be about the fans and these players who laid it on the line and played their butts off. ... JT is going to be OK."
Smart conceded that Daniels was frustrated about not being healthy enough to play, but Smart said the perception that "one [QB] is way better than the other" isn't true. When asked if the ceiling for Georgia was higher with Daniels at quarterback, Smart said that was an unfair question.
"That's hypothetical. ... Stetson just goes out there and does his job," Smart said.
Georgia (5-0) has now outscored its first five opponents by a combined 208-23 margin and has allowed just two touchdowns, both coming in the fourth quarter after the outcome had been decided. Smart said his message to his team will remain the same: There's no room for complacency.
"We're going to keep preaching to get better and to grow," Smart said. "We're not where we need to be, but as long as they keep buying in ... we've got this really good vibe on our team of complementary football with offense, defense and special teams."