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3 Things That Worry Me About Vanderbilt

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Your Georgia Bulldogs stay home to face another division and conference foe, under the lights, and after a game when we put the ball on the turf more than Lane Kiffin has burner accounts. Oh, and no one is super happy about the offense. What, me worry?

Kansas State v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday nights kick off:

1) Schedule fatigue. The Georgia Bulldogs have had it pretty easy so far. We all thought USCjr was going to be tougher than it was, the Mizzou game was worrisome, and you never know with Tennessee. But far and away, the tough part of our schedule starts next week, not this week. By going to LSU, then UF, then Kentucky, then Auburn, all of whom are top 25 teams currently.

By contrast, Vandy is smack in the middle of their toughest stretch. They did have Tennessee St. last week, but before that came off tough losses to SCAR and the Golden Domers. After visiting Sanford Stadium, they get to host the Gators before traveling to Lexington. Since UT is their last game, we can say that they are looking forward to ending on a high note.

2) Return of the Back. Swift, Holyfield, and Herrien all looked to be running with a purpose, and no lasting effects of injury. When our OL can hold their blocks, and that’s a big when, the burst from all three primary runners is above average and that came alive in the 2nd half of most all our games this year. Putting games away with long drives, burning clock, crushing souls, etc. is what top ‘Dawg Kirby Smart wants to do, and we now seem to have our mojo back. This will make it’s appearance again Saturday, I have no doubt.

3) I don’t have to worry about Justin Fields and his redshirt status. If you didn’t notice, Brad Nessler last week was literally drooling over his index cards to say “As Justin Fields enters the game, there goes his redshirt.” You know he’d been waiting all week to say that and come across as having inside sources and deep knowledge of the program.

Nessler aside, Coach Smart is living up to his “best players play” philosophy and I for one welcome that. We can put aside all teeth-gnashing over what the squad will look like for the back end of the season. And that will be the best Bulldogs on the field. End of story.

I try to segue into the worrisome aspect of this feature with something unique to the respective week or opponent. But looking back on last week’s entry, I admit the Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V function made an appearance, with maybe just a small tweak or two:

“We all know this game should be a cake walk. At least relative to playing a division rival, a border state, and a team that has ruined many at least one Georgia campaign. We are better than Tennessee the Commodores, period. Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch on AM radio, so here’s what I am worried about this Saturday back Between the Hedges”:

1) We have open receivers, we just don’t throw it to them. Our passing game is right at 35% of the total plays run in the current season. It accounts for about 47% of the offensive yardage, and 46% of the offensive touchdowns scored. These numbers are in line, though not exact, of what many consider to be the benchmark season of 2017 (32% of plays, only 41% of yardage).

Jake Fromm is the 3rd best quarterback nationally in terms of completion percentage. But our offense is in the bottom half nationally in passing yards. Is this indicative of the plays called? The down and distance we find ourselves in thanks to a strong running game? Check down passes being remarkably successful? Facing poor passing defenses? Of course, and none of these are bad.

Alabama actually passes it about 40% each game, but it accounts for 60% of their yardage output and a staggering 63% of their offensive touchdowns (and about double the number of UGA’s passing TDs). I’m not saying this is apples to apples, but I think it’s fair to say schedules are somewhat comparable in they played some cupcakes and some not great SEC teams, and are rotating quarterbacks. Just like Georgia.

We have a run first philosophy. We have a great stable of backs. We also have incredible talent at Wide Receiver, slot, Tight End, and do-everything kinda dudes. So is our offense merely a product of the play calls? Or bad execution by players? Or limits behind center?

2) Wild Dawg. A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t worried that we had not yet broken out this particular formation. Well, we broke it out that week. And it has been dismal. This was a mainstay during our 2017 post season run. Could it possibly be run from mid-field as opposed on only inside the opponent’s 15 yard line? I want this fine-tuned, now, or I want it to return to the TrashCan That Holds the Notebook That Shall Not Be Named.

3) The odds are stacked against us. I mean, how often can one expect to beat 4 teams from the same state in the same season?!? We’ve overcome 3 of them thus far, but are now facing the best of the four (you hear me Knoxville?). I’d like to finally say “We run your state too.”

What worries you about Saturday’s contest against the Commodores? Leave them in the comments below. And as always…