Georgia Football Three Keys: Vanderbilt

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Three keys Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs don’t figure to be seriously threatened by the Vanderbilt Commodores this week, but that doesn’t mean this game lacks intrigue or a certain degree of uncertainty.

By Matt Zemek

In terms of the ultimate win-or-loss outcome, sure, this game has no drama, but there’s a real question right now about how good Georgia is. Maybe this team is simply bored out of its mind, doing just enough to get through each game and waiting for the big showdowns on the schedule against Tennessee and Florida later in the year. That could be the answer … but it doesn’t feel that way.

Georgia has been drifting through its schedule in recent weeks. The Dawgs looked like the best team in the country when they hammered Oregon by 46 points in Week 1. That was the 2021 team carrying its dominance into 2022. Where has that team gone? That version of Georgia has been missing ever since the South Carolina blowout victory ended. Kent State, Missouri, even the first half of the Auburn game – Georgia has not looked like a monstrously imposing heavyweight for several games. Beating Vanderbilt shouldn’t be hard, but there is definitely something for this team to pursue against the Commodores:

1 – Reclaim the standard

Georgia needs to get back to that Oregon-and-South Carolina standard of performance we saw earlier in the year. The Dawgs certainly have the talent to dump-truck an opponent from the beginning and establish total control of a game, playing hard and with focus for 60 minutes and not stepping off the gas pedal. Before UGA faces Tennessee and Florida, it must regain that mentality and that internal habit. Georgia doesn’t want to get into a situation where it tries to flip the switch, hoping it can simply snap back into a ruthless mentality. No. That has to be cultivated every week. UGA has lost that knack. It needs this Vanderbilt game as a chance to get back in the saddle and rediscover what it has lost.

2 – First quarter

Georgia has started very, very slowly in these recent games. Not scoring against Auburn in the first 18 minutes of last week’s game is something very few if any pundits predicted. This team needs to get out Larry Munson’s Hobnailed Boot and stomp on Vanderbilt in the opening 10 minutes. The statement wouldn’t be made toward Vanderbilt, but to the Dawgs themselves, and to future UGA opponents, especially those guys wearing Big Orange in Knoxville.

3 – Sustain defensive improvements

Georgia’s defense allowed 22 points in consecutive games. Against Auburn, we saw a more familiar and improved defensive effort. That needs to carry into this game against Vanderbilt. Georgia is way too talented to concede 22 points to Kent State and Missouri. That has to fade into the past as UGA approaches the tougher portions of its schedule.

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