ATHENS — Kirby Smart’s not budging, Georgia is going to remain a power football team.
“You have to have body blow after body blow until it wears people down,” Smart said.
“You must chop wood, continue to hit people, wear them down, you’ve got to have the threat of a pass and you’ve got to do it over and over.”
The Bulldogs rank second in the SEC and 16th in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 250.4 yards per game entering their game against Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Georgia players have emphasized that this week’s goal is to start faster against the Commodores, but Smart has indicated he has no plans to change the first quarter game plan at the risk of affecting the fourth quarter.
“If we’re not running in the first quarter do we still have that effect in the fourth quarter?” Smart said, referring to the Bulldogs’ propensity of wearing down opponents.
Bulldogs left tackle Andrew Thomas said the line can tell when the wear down factor is taking effect.
“You can tell by the way the come off the ball, they start to fatigue and they get slower,” Thomas said. “From the first quarter to the fourth quarter, you can tell the difference.”
Smart said it typically takes some time for Georgia’s jumbo offensive line to have its way.
“You go across the SEC, show me a team that goes out in the first quarter and runs it for 5 yards a down against an SEC front, I just don’t think it happens,” Smart said. “I think all of us, including me, just says we’re going to go out there and run it down their throat.
“It does not happen that way in this conference. It’s hard to run the ball, especially early.”
Tailback Elijah Holyfield, who leads the Bulldogs with 368 yards and 7.1 yards per carry, said the wear-down effect is real.
“You can kind of see it,” Holyfield said. “ Every play you can see the line of scrimmage move, and that’s where you can see it break down. But SEC teams are tough, it takes a while.”