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3 Things That Worry Me About Vanderbilt

Ahhh, the friendly confines of the Classic City. But we’re coming home off of a 29 yard passing performance, a short week of practice, and the last time we were here it didn’t end so well. It’s Homecoming Between The Hedges… what, me worry?

Georgia v South Carolina
Thanks, Mo.
Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages

Here are the three things that I’m NOT worried about Saturday:

1. UGA Running Game. I said it last week, I’ll say it again: We’re okay here. Even if the line decides to regress, we have enough horses to constantly provide the threat of breaking one open. Additionally, even if Vandy is in our backfield, we have enough talent to grind out at least a couple of first downs.

But I think Chaney and Pittman are settling into a nice groove, mixing inside and out, pulling linemen from most every position, and balancing the pass just enough to keep the Vandy linebackers honest (ish).

2. Third Down Conversions. We’re not the best at this, but Vandy ain’t the best at defending it. They are allowing opponents to convert about 40% of the time, which is about what UGA is achieving with its offense. As long as we’re not behind the chains all day, I like our chances at moving the ball down the field, even against a stout Mason-coached defense.

3. Vanderbilt Offense. Vandy is 3rd from last in yards per game at 299, and is 2nd from last in yards per play (4.48). Funny thing: South Carolina is right there with them, only slightly better in each category. So we’ll face very similar circumstances as we did last Saturday night Sunday afternoon, but this time with Uga on our sideline.

Here are the three things that I AM worried about Saturday:

1. A close game. I don’t want a close game. Call it “getting everyone’s best shot”, call it “we’re everyone’s rival”, call it “playing down to our opposition”, heck… call it “we’re not as good as some make us out to be”. Whatever it is, I don’t like close games. And Vandy doesn’t either, as they’ve lost 3 of their 4 games by 1 score (including UF and SCAR). They are due for a good break… and I worry it will be against us (#PWG).

Here’s our result and margin of victory against Vanderbilt starting with 2010 to the present: Won by 43, Won by 5, Won by 42, Lost by 4, Won by 27, Won by 17. See? Right there!! Okay, this doesn’t support my theory in the least, but I do know we could sure use a foot-on-the-gas, leave-no-doubt, rest-your-starters-in-the-2H type of game. I just don’t see that on the schedule, and I sure don’t see it this week. We’ve seen how close games turn out when playing newly implemented, poorly understood with no chance of review targeting infractions utilized by SEC referees Vanderbilt.

2. Commodore Red Zone Defense. Vanderbilt has the #14 red zone defense in the nation, while UGA has the #93 ranked red zone offense. As opposed to “something’s gotta give”, I think it’s clear that UGA is on the bad side of this equation.

I grant you that most of our woes come from missed field goals and a pick last week when UGA was driving for a put-the-game-away TD. It is still disconcerting to see when we have talented slot WRs, plenty of depth at tight end, and a stable of very good running backs.

On the more bad news front, the teams ranked ahead of the Commodores in this category: Auburn is #13, Georgia Tech is #6, and Florida is #5. Expect this to be a recurring worrying point going forward, at least until it isn’t.

3. Noon kickoff on SEC Network. I don’t know our record on the SEC Network, and I don’t know our record with toe to pigskin at high noon (read: sounds like a lot of research). I do know I don’t like it. It seems we always come out flat, the stands aren’t full when the cameras first pan the stadium, and everyone is about an hour and a half from being ready to get going in earnest.

For a Saturday noon game, I’m usually scrambling around trying to get food prepped or just generally late getting everything set to hunker down and watch my Bulldogs. I know I can’t complain about the time slot, as this is not a compelling game for the nation and we’re only 4-2 with a blowout loss (at noon ET) and way-too-close victory against Nicholls State on our resume’. I still don’t want it. The only good side is that if we lose, I have time Saturday afternoon to complete chores aplenty that occupy my mind and work frustrations out, and if we win Mrs. GlimmerTwin doesn’t scorn my heavy day-drinking near as much.

What are the things that worry you about the Commodores of Nashville? Put them in the comments below, and as always…