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Quarterback questions abound as Georgia opens fall camp

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Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert is competing with Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta for the starting job at Georgia. AP Photo/John Bazemore

ATHENS, Georgia -- Georgia has yet to name a starting quarterback for this upcoming season, but whoever wins the job figures to be handing the ball off to star tailback Nick Chubb quite a bit.

Chubb, who ran for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns as a freshman in 2014, has no idea who's going to win the quarterback job.

"No one has asked me," Chubb said.

Chubb might be the only one in Athens who hasn't been asked about the Bulldogs' quarterback battle. Three players -- sophomore Brice Ramsey, junior Faton Bauta and Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert -- began competing for the starting job when Georgia opened preseason camp on Tuesday.

"They're all pretty much the same for me -- just hand the ball off or just drop it down to me," Chubb said. "They're all pretty much the same. They all do a great job at that."

What's going to separate them before the Bulldogs' Sept. 5 opener against Louisiana-Monroe at Sanford Stadium? Georgia coach Mark Richt said he's looking for the most consistent quarterback, the one who shows up prepared every day and doesn't make too many mistakes.

"We're all trying to perfect our trade, so to speak," Richt said. "We talk about it in terms of perfecting your trade. The more you know about your position, the more you are prepared, and the faster you can play. You'll make better decisions as a quarterback if you get in a good habit of how you think [and] how you progress through your reads."

Ramsey, from Kingsland, Georgia, might have the strongest arm among the three contenders. He attempted 39 passes in eight games last season, completing 61.5 percent for 333 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His most extensive playing time occurred in the second half of Georgia's 37-14 victory over Louisville in the Belk Bowl, when he completed 4 of 9 passes for 51 yards with an interception.

Ramsey knows he has to make fewer mistakes if he's going to replace departed starter Hutson Mason.

"That is the emphasis -- they want someone who doesn't turn the ball over and at the same time someone who isn't afraid to turn it loose," Ramsey said. "There's a happy medium there."

Bauta, from West Palm Beach, Florida, has attempted only five passes during the previous two seasons. He's considered the most mobile of the contenders.

"Our offense doesn't really allow a quarterback to run much, considering all of the progressions we have," Bauta said. "I think I am athletic enough to move on my own two feet pretty good. I don't know if it's that much better than them, but if I have to make plays with my feet I will."

Lambert, who started nine games for the Cavaliers in 2014, didn't arrive in Athens as a graduate transfer until mid-July. He has spent the past two months studying Georgia's offense, going as far as buying a small whiteboard to hide in his American history book during his final class at Virginia.

"It's been moving pretty fast, but I'm all settled in and ready to get to work," said Lambert, who played at Wayne County High in Jesup, Georgia before signing with Virginia. "I've kind of been in my own little bubble going from my house to [Georgia's football facility] to Chick-fil-A. It's been a whirlwind."

Richt said Lambert would be given a legitimate chance to win the job, despite his inexperience in Georgia's offense. Lambert, a 6-foot-5 junior, completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,632 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at Virginia last season.

"He's going to be competing for the job," Richt said. "Just from sitting in the meetings, from what I see, all the quarterbacks are able to communicate well with [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer. I think they're all going to get their opportunity. Just like I said, we're going to rotate them. Everybody's going to get a shot with the ones and twos and threes across the board. We'll keep rolling that until we get the answer."

Lambert, who has two years of eligibility remaining, knows there's still a lot to learn.

"Experience is really important, but it's not everything," Lambert said. "They have more experience in this offense than I do. I might have more game experience, but as far as knowing this offense and knowing what to do, I'm playing catch-up."

What occurs over the next month -- and not what happened in the past -- will decide who starts under center for the Bulldogs in their opener, according to Richt.

"We're going to base the quarterback decision on what they do in practice, what they do in scrimmages," Richt said. "I'm not going to say, ‘What did Brice do last year?' I'm not going to look at last year's bowl game and make that part of the factor. I'm not going to use any other time that Faton has been on the field as a determining factor of who should be the quarterback. It will all be based on the experience at Georgia, not anywhere else, at Georgia, [during] this camp and this spring in particular."