Currently, the Georgia Bulldogs are 2nd in the polls, are 5-0 on the 2017 campaign and sit atop the Eastern Division standings in the Southeastern Conference. However, Head Coach Kirby Smart was not sure whether his team is improving at the rate he wants. Namely, Smart said he is focused on righting the wrongs from the 17-16 loss suffered October 15, 2016, against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Ironically enough, Vandy was the Homecoming opponent that afternoon and they are this week’s Homecoming opponent Between The Hedges.
Georgia gave up over 250 yards in special teams to Vanderbilt although the Bulldogs out-gained the Commodores offensively 421 to 171 on that mid-October afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
“It’s extremely hypothetical because I don’t think you can say where I thought they would be,” Smart said during Monday’s press conference. “We’re a work in progress. We’re a child trying to learn to walk and then run, then sprint. And we’re not sprinting. I don’t know if we’re jogging yet. I don’t know where we are on the continuum. But we have to improve. And I don’t think any coach in the country could tell you right now that they don’t need to improve. We certainly have some areas to work on and get better at. We had those same concerns and same areas for me last year. It’s just a different team, different spots, and we have to continue to work and get better.
Another area of improvement Smart wants to see is in pass protection. Georgia has given up seven sacks through five games, ranked 41st in that department. On the first possession, quarterback Jake Fromm fumbled because the offensive line could not protect him. However, Isaac Nauta picked up the loose ball and ran for a 31-yard touchdown. But, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball four times and recovered it after each instance.
“It’s no different than a corner getting beat by a receiver,” Smart said. “So, what do you do? You go back to the drawing board and you go get better. You don’t scheme up something, because at the end of the day there’s going to be four or five one-on-one opportunities. You’ve got to win your one-on-ones, and our guys, we’re going to challenge them to do that. And we know that when we protect the passer, we’re really efficient.
Here is the Georgia Bulldogs injury report as of Monday afternoon:
RB D’Andre Swift (groin) probable
WR Terry Godwin (knee, calf) probable
CB Tyson Campbell (shoulder) probable
LB Monty Rice (knee) probable
OT Andrew Thomas (ankle) probable
TE Jackson Harris (leg), probable
WR Tyler Simmons (shoulder) questionable
DB Divaad Wilson (knee), questionable
OG Ben Cleveland (leg) out
DB Tray Bishop (internal team issue), out
RB Zamir White (knee), out for a season