Georgia coach Kirby Smart says JT Daniels healthy, but Bulldogs also need Stetson Bennett at QB

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Thursday that quarterback JT Daniels was as healthy as he's been since the fourth game of the season, but that doesn't mean Smart is necessarily going to make a quarterback change.

Senior Stetson Bennett has started the past three games and four of the six in which he's played. He leads SEC starting quarterbacks in passing efficiency. Daniels has been out with a sprain of his latissimus dorsi (lat muscle) after starting the opener against Clemson and then the South Carolina and Vanderbilt games the third and fourth weeks of the season.

No. 1-ranked Georgia (7-0) has an open date this week and then faces rival Florida on Oct. 30 in Jacksonville.

"JT practiced [Wednesday] and did about everything," Smart told ESPN. "I thought [Wednesday] was the first time since Vanderbilt that I could have said, 'Man, he looks like he could play.' Now, he's rusty, and [Thursday] will probably be the telltale practice because it will be the first time he's gone back-to-back throwing after he threw a lot Wednesday."

Provided Daniels is healthy, Smart said the Bulldogs would need both quarterbacks the rest of the way.

"I'm not sure we know who the better one is based on which game plan we have," Smart said. "There are teams we play that we have to be able to use the quarterback in the run game. Well, that's Stetson. There are teams we play that you have to get the ball out quickly and be really accurate. That's JT. But the first thing with JT is that he's got to be healthy."

Bennett has passed for 553 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in his past three starts. He threw five touchdown passes, all in the first half, in his first start of the season in the 56-7 win over UAB. Bennett has yet to attempt more than 21 passes in his four starts and is completing 69.5% of his passes.

Smart realizes there's a "preconceived notion" among some that one quarterback is far better than the other.

"I think the feeling in the outside world is that you can't win it all [the national championship] without JT," Smart said. "I don't know or can't say that's accurate or not. I know there's nothing that he's shown that Stetson hasn't shown us that leads us to believe that's the case."

Smart also said he's not worried about a quarterback controversy developing.

"It would be a burden if they were both completely healthy and you had a problem," said Smart, whose Bulldogs have scored 30 or more points in their past six games. "Usually, when the quarterback problem comes is when you're not productive on offense. We haven't run into that. Now, we haven't been blowing doors off, but we've scored and done a good job. The defense has set up scores. Special teams has set up scores, so it hasn't shown itself as a problem. I think that would only happen if one of them were faltering."

Smart said he doesn't feel like he's under the gun to make a decision on who will start against the Gators, especially with another whole week of practice before the game.

"We do so many competitive periods that I put a lot of pressure on those kids in practice to say, 'Show me that you're well, JT. Show me that you're healthy,'" Smart said. "They've both played enough that it really doesn't matter who's the first one out there."