Georgia redshirt sophomore quarterback Faton Bauta has heard the critiquing.
He's misplaced in a pro-style offense. He's a situational guy at best. Even that he's a poor man's Tim Tebow.
Yet none of that serves as chief motivation as Bauta tries to solidify the backup spot for the Bulldogs behind fifth-year senior Hutson Mason. Bauta had the busiest and most productive day of his Georgia career this past Saturday, completing 16 of 28 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns as his Black team dropped a 27-24 G-Day decision to the Red.
"The motivation is to help this team the best that I can, whether that's me going in on a package or me going in and running a normal offense," Bauta said after the game. "I had a lot of opportunities to make some plays. I took advantage of some, but I didn't take advantage of others.
"It was fun to be out there, but my motivation is to run the plays to the best of my ability."
Bauta has received second-team repetitions this spring, but he attempted just five passes compared to redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey's 21 during the team's second scrimmage April 5. That led to speculation that Ramsey might be surpassing Bauta, but coach Mark Richt is not encouraging such talk.
Ramsey was just 2-of-13 at G-Day and was intercepted once, but his two completions did cover 78 yards. Bauta also had a G-Day interception.
"I'm not going to sit here and say what kind of pecking order we have," Richt said. "I think Faton certainly did a nice job, and Brice probably had his least impressive practice, but that doesn't mean all spring long that he hasn't done some really nice things."
Most quarterbacks wear noncontact jerseys in spring games, but Bauta chose to invite the defensive hits by wearing white. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder from West Palm Beach rushed six times for 35 yards, and Richt praised his decision to welcome live tackling and showcase his athletic ability in the run game.
Bauta played in three games last season -- Appalachian State, Kentucky and the Gator Bowl against Nebraska. He had two carries for 22 yards in the rout of Kentucky but did not have an impact in the bowl, rushing once for a yard.
When Bauta enrolled early in 2012 as a three-star prospect and Rivals.com's No. 15 dual-threat quarterback nationally, Mason long had been entrenched as the chief backup to Aaron Murray. Bauta would love to be the clear-cut No. 2 behind Mason in the early stages of preseason camp, but he isn't about to take anything for granted.
"Whether that's the case or not, I'm going to be in there grinding every day like I'm first on the depth chart or last on the depth chart," Bauta said. "It shouldn't matter. To be honest, it's never going to affect my motivation of what I'm doing. If I'm the No. 2 guy or No. 3 guy or whatever the case may be, my preparation and work ethic can never stop.
"I have to be prepared, because you never know what can happen."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.