Kirby Smart has an interesting way at looking at the college football season. He compares it to a 100-meter dash. He’s given different meter marks for how far along in the season the Dawgs. This past Monday, Coach Smart said that Georgia is at 50 meters. Being 6-0 at the halfway point, you would think the team could have a chance at becoming complacent. Not this team. Another one of Coach Smart’s sayings this season seems to be driving this team: “Humility is only one week away.” In these game recaps, I’ve talked about the letdown factor that has plagued UGA teams in the past. That has been nonexistent with this team, even though this past Saturday in Nashville had a few ingredients for it to rear its ugly head again. It was an 11am local kickoff at Vanderbilt Stadium, the stadium was at least 75% red and black, and there were virtually no Commodores fans there. Georgia went on a business trip, handled it easily, and returned home. Here’s what I saw from the game:
1. Runnin’ Down A Dream: First of all, rest in peace Tom Petty. One of the all time greats, and this song title also describes the season so far for the Dawgs. If it is indeed going to be a dream season for Georgia, the running game is going to get them there. Against Vanderbilt, Georgia ran the ball 54 times for 423 yards. They were led by Sony Michel (12 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown) and Nick Chubb (16 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns), but they weren’t alone. Elijah Holyfield had the biggest game of his Georgia career, rushing for 51 yards and his first collegiate touchdown. Even Jake Fromm got involved, trucking a Vandy defender in the open field in the 2nd half. Michel and Chubb got some high praise this week, as former Georgia great Todd Gurley called the duo “unstoppable”. Well, the SEC is definitely learning that so far this season.
2. Fromm Won’t Back Down: Had to get in another Petty reference… Jake Fromm continued his good play for the Dawgs against the Commodores, throwing for two scores on 7 of 11 passing for 102 yards. Fromm also didn’t turn the ball over, which shows that he’s getting more and more comfortable in the offense. His touchdown pass to Terry Godwin was a beautiful ball over the top, and the touchdown pass to swift was a great check down and showed that he’s getting better at going through his progressions. Jacob Eason came in late in this game, and fumbled the ball after getting hit on a blindside blitz. It seems like he held the ball for too long, but it was also a missed assignment. At this point, it seems pretty clear that Jake Fromm is Georgia’s guy until he either starts to struggle or gets hurt.
3. Next Man Up: Georgia’s defense was without Natrez Patrick, Reggie Carter, and Trenton Thompson against Vanderbilt, but if you didn’t know their numbers, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Coach Smart wasn’t super enthused about the defensive performance, but that’s not a surprise. They did give up more points than they did against Tennessee (although one point would have been enough to do that) and Mississippi State, but they still made plays when they needed to and forced seven Vandy punts. Roquan Smith was once again Georgia’s leading tackler (shocker), with seven total tackles. He is continuing his march towards some major accolades after the season and has to be one of the leaders for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker. Georgia didn’t get any sacks in this game, and that was cause for concern to Coach Smart, but hopefully it was just a one-time thing for Georgia’s dominant pass rush.
4. TCBY isn’t just about yogurt anymore: TCBY now stands for “takin’ care of business, y’all”, and that’s exactly what Georgia is doing. Every game this season, other than the one at Notre Dame, has been an easy win for the Dawgs. Georgia lost at home to Vanderbilt last season, so you would think that there might be a little worry about this game, but the Dawgs ended any need for worry very quickly against Vanderbilt. The special teams mistakes that have plagued Georgia in the past? Gone. The missed tackles in the open field? Gone. Coach Smart and his staff have gotten this team to buy in 100% and work together as three collective units. A lot of what they are preaching seems like “coach speak” and they have a lot of generic sayings like “attack the day”, but maybe narrowing the focus for all the players has allowed them to get better at their individual jobs. Whatever the coaches are saying to the players, it’s definitely working.
5. DawgNation on the road: What this fan base has done this season supporting this team on the road has been absolutely incredible. The contingent of UGA fans that travelled to Notre Dame has been well documented, but the Dawgs have also had impressive crowds in Knoxville and Nashville. Despite being somewhat divided after the departure of Coach Richt, Dawg fans have shown out for Coach Smart, even going back to last year’s G-Day aka 93K Day. Does this fan support come from the fact that the team is winning? I’m sure it does in part, but I also think it’s the way Georgia is winning and the culture change that Kirby talks about so much. I know that Georgia/Florida is supposed to be a 50/50 crowd, but I have a feeling that EverBank Field is going to have more red than blue in a few weeks.
6. What’s new with Mizzou?: Not really a whole lot. This team struggled last season, only winning four games, and this season, they’ve lost four straight after allowing 43 points to Missouri State in a season opening win. They’ve shown an ability to score a lot of points at times, but in their last two games, they’ve allowed 51 points to Auburn and 40 to Kentucky. Auburn is the best defense they’ve seen this season, and they were only able to put up 14 points in that game. The matchup favors Georgia in many different areas, but mostly they just don’t have the players to match up with a team as good as the Dawgs are this year. Georgia should be able to control the clock with the running game and limit Missouri’s opportunities on offense. I see this being yet another comfortable UGA win.
7. Florida… what are you doing?: Okay, this has nothing to do with UGA, but I had to talk about it. This weekend, Florida will take on Texas A&M, and they are wearing some of the most hideous alternate uniforms I’ve ever seen (If you haven’t seen them, click here). They are supposed to be “Gator-inspired” with an alligator skin pattern, and they call it “swamp green”, but it looks mostly gray with some blue and orange accents. Georgia had a bad look against Boise in 2011 with the “Power Rangers” uniforms, but these are easily worse. I get that the apparel companies want teams to wear something different every once in a while in an attempt to sell more merchandise, but whoever green lit this needs to be fired. Someone at Florida had to sign off on this, so they’re also to blame. Seriously, these may be the ugliest uniforms in the history of college football, and that includes any combination of Wyoming’s brown and yellow.