Greatest quarterback debate continues

Fans love to debate who was the greatest this, that or the other, and with Matthew Stafford much in the news of late, the discussion about UGA’s all-time greatest quarterback comes up frequently. The Athens Banner-Herald has put a new twist on the discussion by surveying Bulldog football insiders on Georgia’s greatest quarterback ever. Some of the answers, particularly, Vince Dooley’s, may surprise you. The overall winner in the ABH survey is David Greene, the winningest QB in NCAA history, followed by sentimental choice Buck Belue (a national championship is hard to trump), Fran Tarkenton, Charley Trippi (yeah, he played quarterback as well as halfback), Johnny Rauch, Eric Zeier, D.J. Shockley and Stafford. If I’m pinned down on the subject, I have to equivocate a little by saying it depends on whether you’re talking Georgia’s greatest college quarterback or greatest quarterback, period. As a college QB, I don’t think you can argue with the cool reliability and winning record of Greenie, so I’d go along with the results of the survey. But if you take their entire career as a quarterback into consideration, not just their time in Athens, I don’t see any way Tarkenton doesn’t top the list by a mile. Feel free to continue the debate. …

Elsewhere, USA Today says that if Stafford is the Detroit Lions’ first-round draft pick, history is stacked against him. … The Diamond Dogs suffered a rare road loss at Jacksonville State Wednesday, going down 9-7. That’s only their third loss on the road so far this season. The other two were also in the state of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa. Let’s hope Perno’s Pups get over their problems with that state before the SEC tournament in May in Hoover. Meanwhile, the road gets tougher this weekend with three games against a tough Ole Miss team.

103 comments Add your comment

Dave

April 23rd, 2009
11:36 am

Greene gets my nod as Georgia’s best college QB. Next, I would have to go with Z, then Tarkenton, Shockley, Trippi, Rausch, etc… I don’t think that Stafford would rate in my top 10 as I never felt he was the impact player that a QB needs to be in both the lockeroom and on the field.

Enjoy your columns.

GeoffDawg

April 23rd, 2009
11:43 am

In my opinion, this debate should mostly be relegated to what the player did in college and even though he didn’t have the best arm or throw the prettiest ball, you have got to give it to Greene for that unbelievable win/loss record. However, I truly believe that Eric Zeier is routinely unfairly discounted due to the mediocre Ray Goff teams he played for. He probably had the best combination arm strength/accuracy of any QB in program history and if you had put him on some of CMR’s teams, he’d probably have left with a Heisman to his credit.

Alabamadawg

April 23rd, 2009
11:53 am

I certainly agree that Greene was our best QB, then its open to several others for the next spots, although, I’m alittle bit surprised I haven’t heard Andy Johnson’s name mentioned…

Owen Scoti, III

April 23rd, 2009
11:54 am

Fran Tarkenton, hands down.

Owen Scoti, III

April 23rd, 2009
11:59 am

I purposely didn’t read the other comments prior to posting. I want to add that Matthew Stafford was an awesome QB for Georgia who had impact numerous times. OK, we didn’t go undefeated last year and win the BCS NC. Unfortunately, Matt didn’t play on both sides of the ball.

Daniel #12

April 23rd, 2009
12:14 pm

Fran Tarkenton, Andy Johnson, Paul Gilbert and Pete Dickens in that order. In my book the greatest QB for UGA had to have previously played for Weyman Sellers at Athens High.

Bill King

April 23rd, 2009
12:35 pm

Well, Andy Johnson is one of my personal favorites, being a fellow Athens High School Class of ‘70 grad. And if the question was best running quarterback or best athlete as quarterback, I think Andy would be the winner.

Dorsey Hill

April 23rd, 2009
12:49 pm

It all depends on how you view the question: “who is the greatest UGA QB”

If the question is who was the Best Winner at UGA its Greene.

If the question is who was the best QB to come through the program at UGA its still Fran, by a mile, as King says.

If its who is the Most Prototypical NFL-caliber QB then its Stafford.

If you go with Who won the National Title as QB its Buck.

If you start getting into ability to throw the ball accurately, Zeier has to be at the top

If its the most athletic ability then you could argue for hours about Shockley and Trippi and Goff and Carter for that matter.

I’m just glad we have so many to talk about. Can you imagine this discussion on an Auburn blog. Damn that would be a thin list. “Well you got Pat Sullivan and …???…and ??? and ????. Oh well whatever.”

Alabamadawg

April 23rd, 2009
1:01 pm

Well I’m glad nobody is trashing me for throwing Andy Johnson’s name into the mix.Does anybody know what he, Jimmy Poulous, and Glen Harrison are doing these days…

Dink

April 23rd, 2009
1:05 pm

I vote for Trippi but Matt Robinson was always my favorite.

Thanks, Bill...

April 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

…for going back and giving Andy kudos – you being an Athens native I couldn’t believe you left him off the list.

Yeah, I am as old as you, but neither of us saw Fran or Charlie at UGA! And, you are correct about Andy’s running abilities, served him well in the NFL! I guess we are just remembering him running Valdosta ragged in the 1969 high school state championship game that ended in the infamous tie!

Mad Dog

April 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

Fran Tarkenton was the best I have seen, and he did pretty well with the Vikings. You would have to consider Trippi, since he played defense too. In recent years it would have to be Green. He had leadership skills that no one has touched lately.

Denver Dog

April 23rd, 2009
1:07 pm

Greatest QB College and Pro Fran Tarkenton

Greatest College QB No doubt, Buck Belue

Greatest modern College QB Greene

Most fun to watch: James Jackson

Best all around: Matt Robinson

My favorite: Ray Goff

Right On Time

April 23rd, 2009
1:10 pm

I agree with you Geoff, Zier was the man. That October 91′ game against clemson was terriffic. The 1992 team that he was on may have been the best UGA team (talent wise) ever…EVER. techsters only think CG was a bad coach. That 92′ team should have won the NC going away and Hearst should have wont the Heisman over toretta. Yes, sour grapes.

to complete the list:

Greene, Fran, Rauch, DJ, Buck, Zeke, Johnson.

GeoffDawg

April 23rd, 2009
1:42 pm

Right On Time – offensively, I agree that the three headed monster of Zeier, Hearst, and Hastings was probably the best ever. Even better than last year’s combination of Stafford, Moreno, and Green. However, just like in 2008, Zeier had to suffer through some pretty bad defenses. Some games looked like we didn’t even have players on the field, we got picked apart with such ease and regularity. Playing Florida one year, I wanted to rip my hair out watching the slowest receiver in the SEC, Chris Doehring (sp?) get open by 10 yards or more play after play after play. If we’d had somebody like BVG as the DC back then, there’s no telling how unstoppable that team would’ve been.

Voice of Reason

April 23rd, 2009
1:46 pm

alabamadawg- I don’t know about the other two but last I heard Andy Johnson was working for a credit insurance company in Georgia, although I can not for the life of me remember the name of the company.

DawginLex

April 23rd, 2009
2:01 pm

When you look at college only, it has to be Greene.

My list:

Greene
Tarkenton
Belue
Shockley
Stafford
Zeier
Goff
Robinson
Lastinger

Wil Walton

April 23rd, 2009
2:07 pm

Hey now, there’s a name… John Lastinger. Wow! Didn’t even think of him. Personally, I think they stack like this: Zeier, Tarkenton, Rauch, Greene, Belue, Johnson, Shockley, Robinson, Lastinger, Goff. Stafford may very well move into that list if he proves in the NFL what he’s been hyped as since HS. Forgot: Honorable Mention goes to Reggie Ball. Just teasing the Tech fans.

Bill King

April 23rd, 2009
2:12 pm

I wondered if anyone would bring up John Lastinger, jokingly known as the quarterback who couldn’t do anything but win. Coach Dooley said of him once: “He’s not great at anything, but he’s good at everything.” And, yes, it’s stilfl 10 to 9 in Dallas.

Bill King

April 23rd, 2009
2:14 pm

My finger slipped. That’s still 10 to 9 in Dallas.

DawginLex

April 23rd, 2009
2:24 pm

One of the funniest things I ever heard in my life was the morning after the Cotton Bowl when Lewis Grizzard got on the radio and stated it was 7:30 in Atlanta but down in Texas it is still 10 to 9.

The calls that followed were legendary from Texas fans griping about McIntyre holding on the winning TD run.

Renegade

April 23rd, 2009
2:35 pm

AltamahaDawg

April 23rd, 2009
2:37 pm

Zeire was most pure fun to watch.

Bill King

April 23rd, 2009
2:46 pm

Andy Johnson still lives in Athens. He recently was named by the New England Patriots to the franchise’s All-Decade team for the 1970s as a running back.

UGAly

April 23rd, 2009
2:48 pm

Agree with Dave in that Stafford wasn’t the leader we expected him to be. He had the tools to take the team on his back and make things happen.

MountainDawg

April 23rd, 2009
3:04 pm

There’s been a handful of great ones, so it’s not totally clear-cut. I’d say the “greatest” was Fran Tarkenton, the best (statistically) being Eric Z, and having the most talent (for the next level) is Stafford. Andy Johnson, Greene & Bobo were outstanding as well.

Cuz

April 23rd, 2009
3:12 pm

In college talent wise, I am going with Zeier. The most heart, tie between Bobo and Shockley.

Jeff

April 23rd, 2009
3:21 pm

Hands down most wins by any college QB, Greene is #1. I will never forget watching him lead our team to victory at Auburn in 02.

BobDog

April 23rd, 2009
3:28 pm

Stafford was at a disadvantage with the O lines he had in front of him. It would have been fun to see what he could have done with an experienced, full-strength line.

Denver Dog, LOL. You don’t consider Belue to be in the modern era?

I didn’t see Trippi play. I have a feeling had we all seen him play, we would vote him #1 considering his accomplishments.

DawginLex

April 23rd, 2009
3:29 pm

I forgot about Bobo. Never lost to Tech and beat Florida in 97. Set the Outback Bowl record for completions in a row.

Probably have to make the bottom half of my list of 10(10 with him included)

tift county dawg

April 23rd, 2009
3:56 pm

Got be Quincy Carter. The man was a genius on and off the field. We cant thank you enough coach D.

shane#1

April 23rd, 2009
4:10 pm

No one has mentioned the impact a man has had on the game of football. The winner there would be Johnny Rauch. I never saw the man play but I heard My Dad speak of him so often that I feel like I knew the man. I am going by what My Dad said so I may have a few facts wrong, but I believe that Rauch Quarterbacked the Dawgs to an undefeated season, topping it off with a win over undefeated UNC in the Sugar Bowl. UNC was led by the ledgendary “Choo Choo” Justice. What I know is that Rauch took the offense that Wally Butts had installed for him into pro football. He became the Coach of a brash new team under a brash young owner in a brash new league know as the AFL. The AFL didn’t settle for three yards and a cloud of dust like the NFL, they threw the ball, all over the field. Rauch was HC of the Oakland Raiders, and he had a couple of assistants that learned the “new” football well. Walsh and Madden. The game was never the same.

shawn

April 23rd, 2009
4:14 pm

GeoffDawg

April 23rd, 2009
4:14 pm

Hmm, so the west coast offense really originated with Georgia. I didn’t know that.

Dink

April 23rd, 2009
4:36 pm

I have to mention Kirby Moore because he was one of my Dad’s favorites. Dad used to always talk about how underrated he was & said his 87 yd TD run against South Carolina was one of the best he ever saw.

Tony

April 23rd, 2009
4:51 pm

David Green. Not flashy. Doesn’t have the strongest arm, or athletic ability. You had to time him in the 40 with a calander, but he was a flat out winner. Leadership & consistancy were his values. As much as I’m a Stafford fan, he didn’t have either of those.

Tony

April 23rd, 2009
4:53 pm

Reggie Ball. Nough said.

Harry

April 23rd, 2009
5:09 pm

How bout John Lastinger who won an sec title, I would put him over stafford

Bill W.

April 23rd, 2009
5:13 pm

What about Hines Ward?

Ed

April 23rd, 2009
5:15 pm

I agree with your assessment of Tarketon – greatest overall career and an SEC Championship at Georgia makes him hard to beat. I mean, he’s Fran Tarketon, NFL Hall of Famer.

I think David Greene was great, but I give the nod to Zeir. He played on teams that had no running game and crappy defenses but he did everything a qb could do to make the team better; I really believe that’s the only reason he doesn’t enjoy Buck Belue-like celebrity status in Georgia. The guy had a great arm, lots of grit, and a cool head. Put him on any of Richt’s teams and he would be a legend.

Others that I hold in high regard: Greene, Shockley, Belue, Lastinger, Bobo, Goff and Andy Johnson. It bothers me sometimes that instead of being remembered as the SEC winning hero of the ‘76 team and a great assistant coach / recruiter, Goff is remembered as a bad head coach. But that’s life.

As for Stafford…I should be bothered that he left early, but I’m not. I actually think Cox may be an upgrade as a college qb. Nothing against him, but I can’t get over the feeling that he lacks something intangible. I hope I’m wrong and he has a Hall of Fame NFL career.

shane#1

April 23rd, 2009
5:17 pm

GeoffDawg, I would not go THAT far. Walsh is the father of the West Coast offense. However, everything has to start somewhere, there are very few original ideas. Many college Coaches, including Wally Butts, had started throwing the ball around before the NFL caught on. It seems to Me that most new systems had their start in a college somewhere. Is it just Me or does the NFL saeem somewhat hidebound to you guys?

Bill King

April 23rd, 2009
5:17 pm

Hines Ward is another fan favorite. Had he stayed at quarterback, I’m sure he would have done some amazing things and put up some big numbers. I’ll never forget him playing his heart out against Auburn on that freezing night in Athens. But in the end I’m glad Donnan finally settled on moving him to receiver, which is where his pro future was.

Ed

April 23rd, 2009
5:22 pm

Agree with Bill W – you have to include Hines Ward. Another guy that played QB on crappy teams, but one of the best all-around players UGA has ever had. And a tough SOB – I’ll never forget that crunching block he put on a Gator DB in the ‘97 game that sprung Robert Edwards for a TD. A real de-cleater. He also made a great sideline catch of a 3rd-and-long Bobo pass that took the momentum back from UF. Great player.

BARKINDAWG

April 23rd, 2009
5:36 pm

DAVID GREENE – ENOUGH SAID!

Otto

April 23rd, 2009
5:50 pm

Greene and Eric Z are the best fron the 80s until now. I can’t really rank Tarkenton, Trippi, and the other legends as I never saw them play. Eric was fun to watch. He had the best long ball I have watched at uGA.

Dawg85

April 23rd, 2009
5:57 pm

Based on college alone I’d have to go with David Greene for the combination of winning and stats. Lots of great ones listed here that deserve mention. One I didn’t see was Zeke Bratkowski who definitely deserves mention. Different eras and situations make it a tough call they were all good darned good Dawgs!

AltamahaDawg

April 23rd, 2009
6:14 pm

Doesn’t Joe Cox hold the record for best WP as a starter.

CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE THE ONLY THING!

April 23rd, 2009
6:23 pm

Buck Belue won 2 SEC Championships and 1 National Championship, therefore he is #1. After that, there can be much debate between all the guys that won 1 SEC title. No where on the list is Stafford. Leaving early without even a trip to the SEC title game ranks him even with Q. Carter. Eric Zeier is ahead of Stafford, at least he stayed 4 years to try to win titles.

shane#1

April 23rd, 2009
6:28 pm

I am tryimg to list Tech’s great QBs. UM, I’ll have to get back to you.

Ryan

April 23rd, 2009
7:02 pm

David Greene, Eric Z, Fran T, DJ Shockley and Buck Belue round out my top 5. Honestly, I really never was impressed with Stafford. UGA will do fine without him next year. Not having Knowshon back though…that hurts.