Bulldogs head into bye week looking to redirect season

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart reacts on the sidelines during Saturday's 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs fell to 4-3.

 

 

ATHENS, Ga. — As humiliating as losing at home to Vanderbilt on Saturday was for Georgia, living with it for the next two weeks before the Bulldogs’ next game won’t be tons of fun, either.

“I hope it’s a tough few weeks,” junior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter said. “I plan on pushing our players. The leadership is going to push our players and if you’re not ready to respond then that’s going to be a rough two weeks for you. We’re going to come out in these two weeks and work. That’s all we can do is grind.”

Georgia (4-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) sits in fourth place in the SEC East after its 17-16 loss to the Commodores, a team that entered 2-19 under Derek Mason in SEC games in his three seasons. The Bulldogs are looking up in the division at Florida (3-1 SEC), Tennessee (2-2) and, yes, Kentucky (2-2).

The Bulldogs and No. 15 Gators play at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in Jacksonville.

“We’re going to keep getting better and try to win out,” tailback Nick Chubb said.

Even that probably won’t keep Georgia from missing out on reaching the SEC championship game for a fourth consecutive season.

Suddenly becoming bowl-eligible this season doesn’t look like a slam dunk.

The only sure win would seem to be Louisiana-Lafayette, which just lost 24-0 to Appalachian State.

On the road at Kentucky? The Wildcats beat Vanderbilt 20-13 on Oct. 8.

If Georgia can lose at home to the Commodores, how much confidence is there that Georgia Tech won’t win in Athens, let alone Auburn?

“Going into the bye, we’re ready to practice hard and get physical and make some improvements where it’s needed,” Chubb said.

That includes in the run game where Georgia got a lot of pats on the back after South Carolina, but it was stymied for just 75 rushing yards against Vanderbilt.

“Those guys played fast and hard,” Chubb said.

The Bulldogs went from their season-high rushing (326) to their season low (75) while they went from their season-low passing (29) to their season high (346).

Coach Kirby Smart said the scouting report he got on Vanderbilt was their size up front on defense could make it hard to move them.

The open date will at least allow Georgia two starters to mend from injuries.

Cornerback Deandre Baker missed the Vanderbilt game with what Smart said was a “really nasty” ankle sprain. Starting offensive right guard Lamont Gaillard left the game after getting hit in the back.

This is the first time Georgia has lost three out of four games since it started 1-4 in 2010 en route to a 6-7 season that ended with a Liberty Bowl loss. The Bulldogs have lost three of their first five SEC games for the first time since that same season.

“It’s a matter of where to go from here,” Smart said. “We have an off week. We have to get better. We have to grow as a team.”

 

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