Georgia playing to level of opponents — and against Vandy, that’s bad

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason is helped up by teammate Greg Pyke after he was sacked to bring up 4th and 15 in the 3rd quarter Saturday. The Bulldogs lost to Vanderbilt 17-16 on at Sanford Stadium. (Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com)

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason is helped up by teammate Greg Pyke after he was sacked to bring up 4th and 15 in the 3rd quarter Saturday. The Bulldogs lost to Vanderbilt 17-16 on at Sanford Stadium. (Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com)

ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart understands that great teams play to their own standard, regardless of the opponent. He also must know that the Bulldogs aren’t remotely close to being at that point yet — and in fact are moving in the opposite direction.

The Dogs lost to Vanderbilt 17-16 Saturday, their first home loss to the Commodores since 2006 and the first SEC road win ever for SEC coach Derek Mason (who was 0-9 before this game and 2-17 overall in the conference in two and a half seasons).

Georgia? It looks like Liberty Bowl material. For my column on the game, go to this link on MyAJC.com.  Part of the reason for the decline is the Dogs have played to the level of its competition all season, rather than with any consistency in any part of their game.

Consider:

• Game 1, North Carolina: They appeared relatively evenly matched with the Tar Heels and pulled out a 33-24 win in the Georgia Dome, a result that seemed to be a good omen for the rest of the season.

• Game 2, Nicholls State: Favored to win by anywhere from 47 to 55.5 points, the Dogs had to rally and barely hung on to win 26-24.

• Game 3, at Missouri: Stinging from that performance and favored by a touchdown over a weak conference opponent, many expected the Dogs to roll. Instead, they needed a late touchdown pass from Jacob Eason to pull out a 28-27 win.

• Game 4, at Ole Miss: Actually, this is the one time Georgia fans would’ve liked for their team to play to the level of their competition. But the Dogs didn’t come close. The Rebels jumped out to a 45-0 lead and won 45-14.

• Game 5, vs. Tennessee: The Volunteers were favored by about a field goal and won by a field goal 34-31, so in that sense it wasn’t a great disappointment. But this was a winnable game. The Dogs committed undisciplined penalties and allowed Tennessee to pull it out on a last-second Hail Mary touchdown pass.

• Game 6, at South Carolina: The final score of the win (28-14) suggests Georgia blew away the Gamecocks. But while it’s true they ran the ball for 326 yards, they blew scoring opportunities and allowed South Carolina, a wounded team, to hang around the entire game.

Game 7, vs. Vanderbilt: Favored to win by two touchdowns, Georgia allowed a 95-yard kickoff return to open the game, fiddled on offense, committed penalties, never established the run, never had a lead until the third quarter and lost 17-16. The offense converted just one of three red zone opportunities into a touchdown.

When asked about his offensive line Saturday, Smart held out his hand and moved it up and down, up and down, up and down. That’s just like his team. That’s just what he was trying to avoid.

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Some recent ramblings

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97 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Stockpiling talented depth is not done in one recruiting season. "The Process" which is always mentioned in teaching players how to play, also applies to recruiting talent and building a teams depth. Having 22 starters is good but if you don't have adequate talent to back them up it's tough to build a championship team. Injuries and fatigue are back breakers in tough games and long schedules. On the other hand if you have all of that talent and depth the coaching staff still has to "coach them up". Failing to do that results in 9-3 and 10-2 seasons which Ga. fans have seen in the past. Don't fret Richt fans, if Saban went 9-3 or 10-2 at Alabama the grumbling would start because that is below the standard expected at Alabama. Everyone there knows it's going to happen sooner or later. They wanted Saban fired after the Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Bad idea!! Richt was not fired because he was a bad coach, he was fired because he couldn't get beyond those 9-3,10-2, seasons. Richt couldn't do it in the last 8-9 seasons and you expect Smart to do it in 1 season? Nada! I'll wait awhile for the rest of the story.

DawginLex
DawginLex

Only an idiot expected a championship this year of any kind from UGA. FCS level OL. Transfer from Rhode Island is the best we have to play left tackle? Guards are 280 pounds. Center is 285. RT is a converted guard. No excuse for Saturday any way you look at it. But bottom line is the real team is somewhere between Vandy and our performance 2nd half of UNC and 1st quarter of Tennessee. He's building for the future. I am disappointed in being too stubborn in continuing to run into 9 man fronts but anyone remember Richt running the ball against Auburn in 2001 despite not having a time out left? First year coaches make mistakes and especially with a freshman QB who missed at least 3 wide open TD opportunities Saturday. And OHIO, go get a life. You are a joke and a TROLL

TideDawg
TideDawg

@DawginLex All mistakes for a new HC are magnified in a loss and forgiven in a win. Smart will make a few more costly mistakes before the end of the season. As for those who thought Smart would win the SEC this year.....shake your head and wonder where did these fans learn their football. However, losing to Vanderbilt, in my opinion, is on the OC. Not giving the ball to a power back on 4th & 1 was about the most stupid call of the year equaling the OC call by Seattle not giving the ball to Lynch at the goal line.....losing the Super Bowl.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Relax mutts......good news.......bye week!

DawginLex
DawginLex

@TOJacket  Don't worry, we will still beat your brains in like always nerd

WhistleDick99
WhistleDick99

Don't fret Doggie fans......I hear Shreveport is beautiful in  December. Ahhhhh yes......Christmas in Shreveport. What better way to ring in Christmas than a bowl game in Shreveport? Heck, you might even win!! 

TOJacket
TOJacket

What's it like to lose to a team that we beat by 31 points?.........and there first SEC road win in 2 years?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@WhistleDick99 Hmmmm....That may be better than sitting at home watching bowl games on TV. What's it like to go 3-9 and become a football fan?

FlatTire
FlatTire

an Ohio st(really just a Tech fan) posts on a UGA blog at 5 in the morning


hmmm anyone see the problem in that

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire


I think it was closer to 5:45 - 5:50. 


Early to bed early to rise....... . Ever hear that, Flat.


100% Buckeye


0.00% Tech, well, maybe 5% Tech  when they play the dogs. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire


Mrs. Landers, do you care to correct Flat's punctuation?

TOJacket
TOJacket

We will take all the support we can get!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Not hardly......he only likes being a Nancy boy with non-dawgs. .......oh wait....."lying hypocrite!!!!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

I don't want to hear about what Saban did his first 2 years at Bama. This is Ga. and Kirby Smart is the HC. He inherited this team and the only thing wrong with Ga. is a fan base that expected miracles from a talented freshman and a freshman HC. Yes! The QB played poorly, they were poorly prepared, and the play calling was poor. What did you expect.....an undefeated season?? I'll wait and see how they improve next year. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


THREE NEW DOG EXCUSE ALERTS! 


The QB played Poorly


The They were Poorly Prepared


The Play Calling was Poor


The Trifecta! 

Zino
Zino

No big deal - Nick lost 6 games in his first year -- mark left a bare cupboard -- it will take Kirby 3-4 years to get hos players

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

@MoCool Do you think the cupboard at UGA was more bare than the cupboard at Vanderbilt?  

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

If you listen closely you hear this spin put on it by more than a few doggie fans:


"But Nick Saban was only 7-6 his first year at Bama and look at what has happened since then!"

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Too early to tell whether Kirby Smart is a good hire. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO thats ok we will still beat a Big Joke 10 team in the bowl game

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

The "dog at headed"???

STILL waiting, lying hypocrite.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire


Doubt it. You won't be at that good of a Bowl. 

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

Jeremy Pruitt should send Kirby a nice gift for Christmas as he has won the lottery1

dawg fan
dawg fan

Well that definitely was not good. I remain perplexed by this team.  There have been some flashes of really really good things IMO but a loss like that is inexcusable.  The offensive play calling was atrocious.  I hope to God that Kirby is not Muschamp II like so many haters said he might be but I'm starting to have some concerns.    

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan I really wasn't excited about our new OC but I guess he was a package deal with Pippman cause Pippman brings the big up front line style of football Smart wants to play.  I have no problem with giving him a chance but seriously how do you continue to go away from using the fullback to block that has been so successful for our run game or continue to run up the middle for no gain and still continue with that.

OH:IO
OH:IO

These teams all got votes in the new Coach's:


Others Receiving Votes

Colorado 121; South Florida 108; Miami (Fla.) 74; Oklahoma State 51; Washington State 49; Virginia Tech 37; North Carolina State 18; Stanford 16; Memphis 14; San Diego State 13; Troy 10; Pittsburgh 7; Southern California 6; TCU 6; Arizona State 6; Iowa 4; Appalachian State 2; Brigham Young 1; Tulsa 1.

OH:IO
OH:IO

NEW AP!


Others Receiving votes you may wonder?


dogs?


None


dogs and now Un and None

Eric_C
Eric_C

Two bad kickoff return coverage plays have derailed the season.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

I am still overhearing disillusioned doggy fans saying things like, "I Richt was still here, we would have lost to Vanderbilt".  


dawg fan
dawg fan

@MaybeMaybeNot  If Richt was still here his fan club would be making excuses for him.  No one is making excuses for Kirby.  That in and of itself is significant progress. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

Unless our OC proves me wrong in the next few weeks Smart should be looking at other OC's


Was that another run play up the middle for no gain with no fullback lead blocking..............?

Mulk
Mulk

Wouldn't you run your Heisman candidate on 4th and 1? He is still the front runner, isn't he?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Well, look at the good news, dogs.


You (barely) beat Nichols State at home.

Mulk
Mulk

@FlatTire @OH:IO Before the season started, UGAG was favored in every game but the Ole Miss game. Now, that is an easy schedule?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO and Ohio St finally plays a mediocre team and barely gets by


Can Rutgers switch with UGA so we can get in on that easy schedule?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Mulk UGA wasn't favored against Tenn and your saying Ohio St's schedule is harder.  Thats a laugh

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire


That's the second road win over a Top 20, flat. 


This time a  Top 10. 


dogs? 


Un and None. 

The Doom
The Doom

Nothing funnier than checking in to see how Ohio is going to razz the dawg fans today. 


A few weeks ago the dawg fans were razzing the Tech fans with "Its just Vandy" when Tech beat Vandy. That's gonna come back to haunt them. 


And in other news the Crimson juggernaut steamrolls the Viles yet again 49-10. Total domination. Roll Tide Roll.  

Long Memories
Long Memories

Why do we start every first series with Chubb up the middle, and every second series with Chubb up the middle.  Note to offensive play caller.  They know what you are going to do.  Look at the stats on first down when you run the ball vs pass.  Look at the stats on second down when you run the ball  vs pass.  Look at the stats on when you run the ball on fourth down vs. pass in this game and every game.  Continually having third and long and they know you are going to throw is ridiculous.  Georgia wouldn't pass on first down until the second half.  Even with 58 seconds in the first half we ran the ball on first down.  Then when we completed a pass on second down to midfield there were only 16 seconds left.  WTH?  Georgia is the most predictable team to play against.  Special teams are still the disaster they were under Richt.  Clock management is still the disaster it was under Richt.  Discipline may be slightly better but not much. Georgia badly needs to hire a mathematician who understands statistics.