ATHENS — Kirby Smart was irritated by short-yardage offense questions Saturday night and surely more bothered such situations are still an issue for his football team.
After all, how can Georgia have one of the biggest, most celebrated offensive lines in college football — along with one of the deepest and most talented backfields in the nation — and not execute better in short yardage?
That great mystery grew deeper after Vanderbilt stuffed D’Andre Swift for a 3-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 and later stopped hard-charging Brian Herrien on a third-and-1.
“I’m not going to get overly concerned about the one we didn’t get or the two we didn’t get,” Smart said. “Certainly, there’s a lot of room for improvement…. We’ve got to have a lot of things to work on, that’s just one of the many that we continue to improve on.”
And make no mistake about, the Bulldogs are going back to work this week in preparation for a 4 p.m. home game with FCS Murray State.
Here are three things to consider for Georgia football during prep for FCS Murray State.
Georgia had some disappointed football players that didn’t “get on the bus” as part of the 70-man travel squad.
Offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer was injured, and linebacker Robert Beal was in line to serve a one-game suspension for his April 2 misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.
But Smart is aware those who sat home will be eager to move up the depth chart and avoid missing the next SEC road trip at Tennessee in October.
“We’re going back to work on Monday, (and) we’re going to go good on good and we’re going to put the hammer down and find out who’s going to get better,” Smart said. “We’ve got 72, 73, 74, 75 players, 77, all the way up that want to be on this trip. They’re going to come out and try to take someone’s job.”
Third down frowns
The Bulldogs were just 1-of-7 converting on third down in the 30-6 win over Vanderbilt.
This, despite Fromm receiving heavy praise from Smart for putting Georgia in the right plays. Here’s what happened on third down at Vanderbilt:
• Third-and-1 at Vandy 6, Brian Herrien gains 3 (FIRST DOWN)
• Third-and-10 at UGA 35, incomplete for Tyler Simmons
• Third-and-12 at Vandy 40, D’Andre Swift rush 8
• Third-and-1 at Vandy 17, incomplete for Demetris Robertson
• Third-and-13 at UGA 45, complete to Kearis Jackson, no gain
• Third-and-10 at Vandy 17, complete to Robertson for 3 yards
• Third-and-1 at Vandy 19, Herrien rush no gain
Smart saw enough to know the defense is moving in the right direction, but it was clear he was not satisfied his offense managed only 9 points against Vanderbilt the final 38 minutes and nine possessions.
“We’ve got to expand, do more things, throw the ball down the field, stretch the field, get the wideouts the ball,” Smart said. “I think Jake can do that. We’ve got to protect him to be able to do that.”
Smart later added, “We’ve got to figure out our true identity and figure out a way to be more dangerous in the passing game.”
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart
Georgia football vs. Vanderbilt