The No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs are rolling right now. After beating then-No. 3 Clemson, Georgia has gained the respect of most media outlets around the country, moving into the national title conversation, even if it does not mean much this early in the season.
Georgia is currently a 35.5-point favorite over the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday and possesses a serious talent advantage over Vanderbilt. However, that has not led to a lack of focus so far this week in practice.
“As far as our focus and energy, I think it’s really been good,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart when responding to Bulldawg Illustrated’s Vance Leavy. “We’ve tried to change up practice the last two days and do some different things and have some competitions. They’ve got some similarities to us, offense and defense, so we’ve done some more ones-on-ones, twos-on-twos. We try to change things up just so that they don’t get bored. They’ve been focused and they’ve handled it the right way. I’ll feel a lot better if they do that tomorrow as well.”
Many remember that last year’s matchup with Vanderbilt was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Vanderbilt program. That led to Georgia’s seniors not getting a true “senior day” sendoff that every other class gets.
Perhaps that is what is driving the Bulldogs in practice this week, but Smart and some players said they were more frustrated from that situation than angry.
“I mean I just think frustrated with the whole process,” said Smart on Tuesday. “It was a long year. And it was at the end of it and, you know, there probably would be some guys that would say they were glad. I hate to say it, but they were probably tired and guys who didn’t think they were going to play, then you’ve got a group of guys that want to play every game because it’s an opportunity to get better. And it’s an opportunity to make a statement about who we are and, for some guys it’s the last home game, but not anger I think frustration is the better adjective.”
“I remember it vividly,” said defensive lineman Jordan Davis. “The only thing I remember about the game is that it was after I got hurt, and it was one of the games that we were planning on shooting for some recovery time, and not being able to play and having to wait another week, it was a little bit of an ‘ehh.’ At that point, you just have to move on. Obviously, for everybody, corona is not something to play with, and I understand completely, being short-staffed or having only a little bit of players. It was one of those things where you have to press on.”
Regardless, if the Bulldogs are as focused as Smart says, it could get out of hand quickly in Nashville, where there will most likely be more Georgia fans than Vanderbilt fans.