Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, we set some goals for the Vanderbilt game and look at a big official visitor for UGA basketball.
With Tennessee clearly leading the way in the SEC East, and Kirby Smart and Jacob Eason on a steep learning curve in their first years as a head coach and college quarterback, respectively, Georgia’s dictum should be to steadily improve while winning as much as possible. And since this almost certainly isn’t Georgia’s year in the East, the former half of that equation might be more important than the latter. The more this young team learns and improves in these next (presumably) seven games will go a long way to determining how competitive the Bulldogs will be next year.
At this point in the season, with six games under their belts, we can identify where players are lacking and what they need to do to take a step forward. The game against Vanderbilt, the weakest team in the SEC, provides a primo opportunity to do just that. So, I’ve outlined goals for five UGA players or units to reach for this weekend. If they can accomplish these goals, I’ll feel more confident about the Dawgs’ chances of going 5-1 or running the table to end the regular season.
Brian Herrien — +100 yards rushing
Herrien was less than 20 yards away from the century mark last week. Had he made it, it would’ve been the first time three UGA rushers ran for 100 yards each in a game. The freshman has averaged 78 yards a game in the last three games, with 82 yards against USC. He looks to be on the cusp of breaking out. A 100-yard game will just instill more confidence that Georgia can play any of its top three backs and nary lose a step.
Jacob Eason — No interceptions
Apart from last week’s abysmal showing, Eason has been fairly consistent this season. But he hasn’t always been consistent in a positive way. The freshman signal caller has thrown a single interception in each of his five starts this season. The pick against South Carolina led to a Gamecocks touchdown to make it a one-score game. We know he can throw the ball a mile and squeeze it through a small window. He has all the physical attributes a QB needs to be great. Now, we need to see mental improvements, such as throwing fewer picks. Limiting the picks for the rest of the season will put Eason miles ahead in his development than where a QB of his age and experience should be.
Terry Godwin — Catch a TD
This could actually go to any receiver other than Isaiah McKenzie, but I singled out Godwin because he has the most yards other than iMac and also the most talent. The point is, though, someone other than McKenzie has to start catching touchdowns. Whether it’s Godwin, Isaac Nauta, Michael Chigbu, Reggie Davis or whoever is pretty irrelevant. Someone other than McKenzie just needs to haul one in for the score so secondaries have to worry about more than one pass catcher, because, so far, no one else has been a threat.
Defense — +3 sacks
The defense finally put some pressure on the quarterback last week to the tune of 5 sacks, almost doubling its total up to that point in the season. Vanderbilt, like USC, is another weak offensive front. The Gamecocks have allowed 16 sacks this season, but the Commodores haven’t fared much better, giving up 13. I’d prefer another 5-sack day, obviously, but I think 3 or more will show marked improvement for the front seven over where it was at the start of the season.
Kickers — Convert a 30+ yard field goal
A proper kicking game would go a hell of a long way to making this a more well-rounded team. William Ham has missed all 3 of his attempts from more than 30 yards, while Rodrigo Blankenship missed his single shot from that distance. The fact that we have to get inside the 20 to make the kicking game viable is absurd. Hopefully, one of these guys is able to convert a long kick this weekend. If they do, they’ll get one of the most ironic, excited cheers Sanford Stadium has seen in ages.
Georgia basketball has an important official visitor this weekend: 5-star, 6-foot-10 power forward Wendell Carter Jr. out of Pace Academy.