Two general points to start with:
Georgia flipped the script. Instead of coming out slowly, especially on defense, and warming up as the game went on, the Dawgs came out and dominated on both sides of the ball to build a 21-point lead before the end of the first quarter. From there, it seemed like everyone kind of farted around. Except Todd Gurley, of course. Vanderbilt is such a bad team, it didn’t matter, but it would be nice to see Georgia maintain its focus throughout a game as it moves to the meat of its conference schedule.
On the other side of the ball, Derek Mason may want to think about dialing back the bravado. The Commodores, among their faults, are a poorly coached football team. How poor? I found myself nodding in agreement with Andre Ware’s criticism at points. That’s how poor. The quarterback substitution patterns were mystifying. And the throw back screen on fourth-and-two that Bowman managed to turn into what will be the easiest pick-six of his life was one of the dumbest calls I’ve seen this season.
Combine the two, and that’s probably how you wind up feeling slightly dissatisfied about a 27-point win. And now, some bullet points:
- Maybe instead of substituting quarterbacks for a series, the coaches ought to consider doing it for each half. For the second straight week, Mason played a solid first half (10-13, 122 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT), only to completely fall apart in the second half (1-4, 8 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT). I don’t get it. Aside from one serious mistake that Vanderbilt fortunately didn’t capitalize on, Mason did a lot of things right in the first two quarters. His two touchdown passes to Conley, in particular, were answers to much of the criticism he took the last week. That second throw may have been his best of the season. And then it looked like a totally different person was wearing his jersey after halftime.
- At this point, it looks like the coaches are sold on getting Ramsey some quality playing time. Based on what I saw, it’s a good move. We all knew Ramsey had a live arm, and he showed that again. What impressed me yesterday was how well he sold play action. He also did a good job setting up a screen pass. He’s still a little too amped up and he needs more experience reading defenses, but that’s what playing time is for. I just hope the coaches pick his spots well.
- The offensive line did what it’s done all season, played well in spots and not so well in others. Pass protection was by and large decent, but run blocking was nothing special throughout the middle of the game.
- I’m at a point now where when I have to say something about Gurley’s performance, I start giggling. 160+ yards and a couple of touchdowns seems almost ho-hum. He hurdled another defender who tried to go low to chop him down. Then there was this. About all that’s left for him to do this season is play safety and return an interception for a touchdown.
- That being said, was it really necessary for him to carry the ball 25 times against Vanderbilt? And no carries for Brendan Douglas?
- Nice to see Malcolm Mitchell’s return. What’s the story with Scott-Wesley?
- It looks like somebody got the memo about throwing the ball to Blazevich this week.
- The defense continues to live and die with the pass rush. It was dominant in the first quarter when they were pressuring the quarterback. But the pressure disappeared when Rivers came in and that led to a scoring drive. Still, overall, they did a good job defending Vanderbilt’s passing attack. Remember, the last bit of damage, a 75-yard touchdown drive, came late in the fourth quarter after Pruitt began liberally substituting.
- Another week of not-so-special special teams. Morgan missed an extra point with what looked like a low trajectory kick. McKenzie made a high school mistake with one punt return. Punting was mediocre at best and contributed to Georgia not dominating field position again. The one shining spot was kickoff coverage, which was truly excellent against a dangerous Darrius Sims.
- If the holding penalty called on Kublanow was a baseline, then Vanderbilt’s offensive line got away with murder. I saw several occasions when Drew and Jenkins were being held by offensive linemen. Other than that, Wagers and his crew really didn’t leave much of a mark on the game.
I know it’s easy to get frustrated with this year’s edition of Georgia football. What’s both tantalizing and disappointing is that it seems like almost every week there’s a stretch of sustained dominance – the fourth quarter against Clemson, most of the second quarter against Tennessee and yesterday’s first quarter – that isn’t maintained for an entire sixty minutes. The Georgia team in that spot looks like it can play with anybody; the rest of the time, you can’t help but wonder how it manages to get out of its own way. Still, Georgia sits 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference, with a chance to take control of its fate in the division this week. A little more dominance wouldn’t hurt about now.