ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart challenges his team in different ways each week, and the offense’s message for the Vanderbilt game is “start fast.”
Bulldogs’ tailback Elijah Holyfield and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas said the Bulldogs aimed to be dialed in for the Commodores from the opening kick at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
“I think we just have to do a better job of executing when we first come out,” Holyfield said Monday. “A lot of the stuff is not stuff the defense is doing to us, it’s stuff that we’re doing to ourselves, so just trying to work on that.
“This week in practice we’ll be putting an emphasis on starting fast, and I’m sure we will this next week.”
The Bulldogs’ offense has gotten off to relatively slow starts in each of its first three SEC games.
Georgia has had the unusual feat of scoring its first touchdown in all three SEC games this season by virtue of fumble recovery return/advancement.
The Bulldogs otherwise managed just two offensive touchdown drives against South Carolina and Tennessee, and no offensive touchdowns the first half at Missouri.
“We have to start faster, it takes us too long to get started,” Thomas said. “It’s just execution, just making sure we’re on the right mike points, and we’re going to the right ‘backers, stuff like that.”
Smart credited freshman quarterback Justin Fields with providing a spark in the second quarter after he put him under center to open the fifth offensive series of the game — the first that led to a clean touchdown drive.
“I thought Justin provided us a spark that we needed at times.,” Smart said. “He’s a very diligent worker, he’s been meeting extra, (and) he gives us an asset in the offense that sometimes provides us with a spark.”
Smart indicated on Monday that he would continue to play two quarterbacks, deciding which one to use depending the look and the Bulldogs’ plan of attack.
Whoever is under center will be expected to get Georgia off to a better start against Vanderbilt.