Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.
4 Vanderbilt players to watch
After the first three weeks of the season, Vanderbilt was 3-0 and looking like an upstart challenger in the SEC East. Then Alabama happened. A loss to Florida that was closer than the scoreline indicated brought the Commodores to 3-2 for the season and back to reality.
Even though Vandy’s early-season luster has worn off over the last two weeks, there are still plenty of reasons to be wary. Georgia fans are still on a cloud following two of the most dominant and complete performances from the Bulldogs in many years. But make no mistake, this is a losable game. If the Bulldogs are still in celebration mode from an emotional revenge win over the Vols, they could overlook this Vandy squad. By all metrics, Georgia should win this game. If the Dawgs travel to Nashville without the proper focus, though, Vandy has the talent to pull off an(other) upset.
Here are four Vanderbilt players to watch on Saturday.
4. Ralph Webb, RB — I’d swear Webb has played for Vandy since the Clinton Administration. He’s among the SEC’s all-time leading rushers because of a combination of his longevity and Vandy’s reliance on him. In each of his first three seasons, he received more than 200 carries, more than 250 in his sophomore and junior seasons. So far this year, his production has taken a hit. He has just 198 yards on 2.6 yards per carry. But he still has the ability to be productive. The biggest fear with Webb isn’t the home run, it’s the grind. One of the greatest strengths of Georgia’s defense is it’s ability to get off the field. If Webb can get first downs and eat clock, he could gas the defense and put it in a position it hasn’t been in so far this season.
3. Kyle Shurmur, QB — With Webb less effective than normal so far this season, the Commodores have been forced to rely more on Shurmur. The junior from Philadelphia is not outstanding, but he is an efficient and effective game manager. He’s got an 11-1 TD-INT ratio, with the sole pick coming against the vaunted Alabama defense. He doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he also doesn’t make the mistakes that will kill any chance of a win. If the defense can force a few mistakes from him, we’ll see a repeat of the last two weeks. If they can’t, Shurmur has the potential to nickel-and-dime his way to the end zone.
2. Ladarius Wiley, S — If Jake Fromm — who I’m assuming will start until I see otherwise — is as careless with his passes as he was against Tennessee, Vandy will have a few chances for picks. Wiley has one of the Commodores 5 interceptions this season, 3 passes defended and 4 pass breakups. If Fromm stares down a receiver over the middle, Wiley could jump the route and go in the other direction. The safety from Los Angeles has also proven valuable in run support. He’s first on the team in solo tackles (22) and second in total tackles (42).
1. Charles Wright, OLB — Wright made a name for himself over the first three weeks of the season by wreaking havoc in backfield. The junior from California racked up 6 sacks in Vanderbilt’s first three games. The last two weeks have been considerably more difficult for him. He registered no sacks against Alabama or Florida. That will serve as some comfort for Georgia, as the Dawgs are more akin to their SEC compatriots than they are Middle Tennessee, Alabama A&M, or Kansas State. But his 6 sacks are still good enough to tie him for second in all of college football. He has the ability to put Georgia’s offense in a hole if he isn’t accounted for on every play.
Kirby Smart hasn’t announced who start at quarterback for Georgia Saturday when the Bulldogs face Vanderbilt, but many assume it will be Jake Fromm. Count Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason among them.
“Listen, we can quit with the coaching dramatics,” Mason said Tuesday, making clear he believes Fromm will start a fifth straight game, even though Jacob Eason is healthy enough to at least return to action.
Asked about Mason’s comments, and whether Mason was right that Fromm would start, Smart declined to say.
“Derek Mason’s entitled to his opinion,” Smart said. “Derek Mason’s not at our practices. He doesn’t watch our practice tape, that I know of. So I’m not really concerned with those comments.”
Talkin’ about practice
Speaking of the quarterback situation, Smart has said for weeks now that practice will determine whether it’s Fromm or Eason who starts each week. If the practice pecking order is any indication — and it probably isn’t — Fromm is still at the top of the depth chart. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation’s Tuesday practice report:
Jake Fromm was indeed going first during a play polish drill, when the quarterbacks were handing off to tailbacks. Jacob Eason was going second, and Brice Ramsey was going third. That’s not outright confirmation that Fromm will start a fifth straight game on Saturday, but it probably would have been a surprise if Eason was first.
WLOCP among games to watch in October
For good or ill, many Georgia fans are writing off the next two games, against Vanderbilt and Missouri, as wins and staring down the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and a likely de facto SEC East championship game with Florida. But so is the rest of the country. Paul Myerberg of USA Today listed Georgia-Florida eighth on his list of games to watch in October:
Florida is still very much alive in the push for a third SEC East Division title in a row. Georgia looked much better in September. The neutral-site matchup will once again have a division crown on the line.
‘A fact which extends well beyond Georgia’
This, from Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post, might be the greatest description of Georgia football I’ve ever read:
Georgia is a football program from Athens, Ga., the best college town in the Southeastern Conference. It wins more than it loses, sometimes even thrice as much in a given year. It plays its home games between two long rows of privet Ligustrum, or, for easier pronunciation, “hedges,” and not “shrubs.” Its mascot, Uga, is a pure English white bulldog, and wait, which Uga number are they on these days? They’re on Uga X, the tenth Uga, named “Que,” which seems more apt for a French bulldog.
Because this is one of the world’s weirdest nations (a fact which extends well beyond Georgia), Uga gets a doghouse on the field. Because this is one of the world’s weirdest nations (which extends well beyond Georgia), that doghouse is air-conditioned. Because this is one of the world’s weirdest nations (a fact which extends well beyond Georgia), Uga is awarded a varsity letter upon a plaque, just like a player, and while nobody knows how much this matters to Uga, everybody knows that if you set the plaque on a floor and placed a treat atop it, he would lick it.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) October 3, 2017
This dude Roquan Smith does not play around. pic.twitter.com/92td7tuqSJ
— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) October 2, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) October 3, 2017
PFF Week 5 – SEC Team of the Week – Defense pic.twitter.com/ioIEwhoyOP
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 3, 2017
Current streaks w/out defense allowing TD: UGA 133:49, Nebraska 128:52, Bama 121:46, OhioSt 83:46, WMU 73:31, GeorgiaSt 68:55, Miami 67:37
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 3, 2017
This dog is an honorary cow.
ok it is time for a smiley pup with her cow frens
look how happy every body is we should all be so happy tbh
— darth:™ (@darth) September 27, 2017
Miss a previous edition of Good Day, UGA? Get caught up here.