Is Dogs’ defense just what struggling Vandy offense needs?

While Georgia is about a 7 point favorite over Vanderbilt, I have to admit that I get a bit nervous when you consider Saturday’s game will be against another team from the state of Tennessee that is tough on defense and features an offense that is led by a much maligned quarterback who so far hasn’t shown much.

Joe Cox needs to have a good day, unlike his last trip to the state of Tennessee. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Joe Cox needs to have a good day, unlike his last trip to the state of Tennessee. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Vandy fans keep wondering why senior Mackenzi Adams is standing on the sideline wearing a headset, considering that redshirt sophomore starter Larry Smith is completing only 46 percent of his passes (less than 40 percent against SEC defenses) as the Commodores have thrown for just 146.7 yards per game, worst in the conference and 114th nationally. Smith has thrown only two touchdowns against six interceptions.

Yet I have nightmarish visions of Smith suddenly looking competent against Georgia’s secondary, which acts at times as if it thinks the opposing receivers have cooties.

On top of that, Smith is a threat to take off running, though so far he hasn’t done so to much effect (averaging 1.7 yards per carry) and has been sacked 14 times. His freshman running backs do better, with Warren Norman averaging 66.3 yards per game and Zac Stacy averaging 56.4 yards.

Norman also had a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Army and averages 27.7 yards per return. Bet he can’t wait to meet Georgia’s kick coverage team.

Still, Vandy ranks last in the SEC and 108th nationally in scoring offense, with just 18.8 points per game.

The Dores (2-4 overall, 0-3 in the SEC) rank 22nd nationally in turnover margin at plus-5, but that hasn’t helped much as they haven’t been able to turn those takeaways into points. They didn’t score anything off a turnover last week at Army and against Mississippi State they recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 6, but managed to gain only 3 yards on three runs before settling for a field goal — their only points in a 15-3 loss. The Commodores have scored in single digits in all of their conference games and have only beaten Western Carolina and Rice. Army nipped them 16-13 in overtime.

The Dores are more than respectable on defense, ranking No. 2 nationally in passing defense (allowing just 118 yards per game) and 22nd in total defense (fifth in the SEC) at 288.2 yards per game. They’re No. 18 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 15.67 points per game,  giving up just nine touchdowns in six games. Pro prospect Myron Lewis (6-3, 202 pounds), who has three interceptions, likely will be matched (with help) against Georgia’s A.J. Green. Linebacker Chris Marve trails only Georgia’s Rennie Curran in the SEC tackles totals, with 56.

Vandy’s run defense hasn’t been quite as tough, ranking 11th in the SEC at 170 yards per game. So this might be a good opportunity for the Bulldogs to rediscover their ground game. If not, well, Joe Cox will need to be on his game or this could turn into one of those ugly, low-scoring defensive battles.

One factor in Georgia’s favor: Vandy is terrible in the red zone, both on offense and defense.

Contrary to usual Vanderbilt form, the Commodores have been flagged for 46 penalties, only nine less than Georgia’s league high 57. Many have been false starts by their veteran but injury-hobbled offensive line.

If the Dogs can put up three scores, that should be enough to win. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the game come down to Blair Walsh’s foot like it did with Brandon Coutu two years ago in Nashville.

91 comments Add your comment

Topp Dogg

October 16th, 2009
7:17 am

A seven point favorite my how far we have come.I wonder how many points UF will be picked to smoke our ass by.

Saint Crompton

October 16th, 2009
7:31 am

((((( uga football ))))) hahahahahahahahahaha

Carlton Powell

October 16th, 2009
7:32 am

Topp Dogg:
With regard to your above concerning the Gators, start at about 70 pts.and go forward. Will be interesting to see what new and inventive ways the GA coaching staff can come up with to make a mess of this game.

joe taxpayer

October 16th, 2009
7:33 am

Can’t wait to hear from the homers about how Vandy has better talent then UGA. Maybe, their O-line has more seniors or then Defenseive ends are better or another 1 of their excuses. Just do not blame CMR and his staff.

Huntsville

October 16th, 2009
7:34 am

Probably by 20.

I have lost all confidence in the coaching staff. There seems to be no aggression or nastiness about this team. I watch Alabam and get jealous because they play hard and are prepared. Richt and company should take notes.

georgiadawg70

October 16th, 2009
7:36 am

If your are mad as I am aabout the program boycott Jacksonille. I am not paying those classless ah’s to take my money and laugh.

JB

October 16th, 2009
7:36 am

we win 17-7 and look like a broken down mule getting out of a mud hole doing it. What will happen to this team in practice this week that will be any different this week…..Pre game RAH RAH, jumping up and down last about ONE possession,then you’ve got to execute and play football. Don’t see it.

Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes

October 16th, 2009
7:36 am

This article is a perfect example of how far our football program has fallen.

Should have fired Martinez last year. Better fire Bobo after this year.

Top Dawg

October 16th, 2009
7:38 am

A loss will be a catalyst for much-needed change in the staff.

god and greyhound

October 16th, 2009
7:41 am

uga 27, vu 10

will y’all be stomping the logo again if you win?

PDawg

October 16th, 2009
7:42 am

I have a bad feeling about this game.

Jeff

October 16th, 2009
7:48 am

This season looks so much like 07 with the exception of losing to OSU instead of winning. Maybe UGA squeaks one out against Vandy again in a game that should not have won.

Btw, any QB could score against our D. I still like the Dawgs, but not by 7.

JB

October 16th, 2009
7:49 am

One bad game……..lay one egg…………………………………..just getting beat that day by a team who did what it took to win………………….we can all accept that…………………………………………………………..I went to Newsvorger this week and I’ve read 8 – 10 stories about the current state of affairs of our Football Program. When papers in S.C, Fla., alabama, Tenn. are writing stories about us mid season, you know it’s bad. I am a Mark Richt fan and supporter.
But, He needs help. he needs new blood, new ideas, new energy. I cringe when i hear him say, we’re working hard to get better. I only see and hear Fulmer trying to save his hide. I know that President Adams, As a fan I know( got Pissed and fired Donnan) does not have his head in the sand about this. I think Mark will get more chances than most, BUT WORKING HARDER IS NOT GETTING IT. He preached ( no pun intended) that ALL off season. WE are now in FULL MELT DOWN AFTER ” WORKING HARDER”.

Mikey

October 16th, 2009
7:53 am

Reading the Vandy stats, just insert UGA instead of VU- they are both very inept to say the least.
I hope we don’t make the Vandy QB look like Jay Cutler reincarnated, but we seem to have a bad habit of making not-so-good QB’s look like supermen.

GaVandyFan

October 16th, 2009
7:56 am

Very good, objective article and accurate (in my opinion) as well. If Vandy had even a glimmer of an offense, I would hold out hope for this game. Even though I’m sure Coach Johnson didn’t envision it this way, he essentially gave up the season by starting and sticking with the current quarterback with the hope it will pay off over the next couple of years. Any offense at all and Vandy would be looking at 4 – 2 at this point (possibly 5 – 1) instead of 2 – 4. Picked Snead 3 times, got inside Ole Miss’ 15 yard line 5 times and came away with only 7 points for the trouble. What’s frustrating for us Vandy grads/fans is that the quarterback on the sidelines wearing the headset is 5th year senior who only beat Auburn & Ole Miss last year and beat #6 USC on the road the year before that. Depressing.

GA 17 Vandy 3

rich

October 16th, 2009
7:57 am

LOL. Dawgs lose. LOL

JB

October 16th, 2009
7:58 am

You have a heart attack( or Martinez as your defensive coach) You get to the hospital( or we’re working harder to get better. You’ve had a heart attack( you given up 30 or more points 10 times in the last 16 games) the doctor say’s you need surgery to correct this( your told you need a NEW defensive coach ASAP)
Your doctor then tells you, just go home and eat some eggs and bacon, you’ll feel better ( Richt say’s willie is fine, it;s the same scheme we’ve always run, don’t worry)

SAY WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:01 am

GAVANDYFAN……………………………I’m sure there’s more to the story, Johnson is a well respected coach who knows what he is doing. If we lost Richt For whatever reason, I would want him on our “short list”.

59bulldawg

October 16th, 2009
8:02 am

The way we’ve prepared and played this season, I would not be at all surprised to see us struggle in this game . . . perhaps even lose. Until our staff gets its act together, almost every game will be a dogfight. It’s a real shame that the talent we have can’t be put in a better position to be successful. I’m neither a Meyer nor a Saban fan. But you give either of those coaches the group of young men we have at Georgia and they’d be 6-0, perhaps 5-1 at worst. It’s like some of our staff learned to coach by playing Madden on the Play Station. If plan A don’t work, we never seem to have a plan B . . . no one seems to know how to make adjustments. Van Gorder certainly knew how but not Willie! Hell Willie B at Grant Park (if he were alive) could probably outcoach our Willie! Perhaps Bobo too!

Let's see...

October 16th, 2009
8:04 am

…one poster says we hold Vandy to 7, another says 10,, another says 3 – wow, what UGA defense have these guys been watching?

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:07 am

Let’s see…………………………………………………….Vandy has NO offense at all. None. blind squirrel might find an acorn Saturday.

Let's see, again...

October 16th, 2009
8:09 am

“One factor in Georgia’s favor: Vandy is terrible in the red zone, both on offense and defense”.

How is that in UGA’s favor when UGA CANNOT even get to the Red Zone on offense?

Hey, JB...

October 16th, 2009
8:10 am

…the same was said about UT and Crompton!!!!!!!

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:11 am

But…………………………we’re usually what the Doctor orders for an ailing offense.

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:12 am

I know , I tried to cover that statement before you ” hey JB”

barneyb

October 16th, 2009
8:15 am

Every Dawgs fan should be VERY worried about Vandy and every other game remaining this season. I have no confidence whatsoever in this coaching staff nor the team, unfortunately. They have shown us nothing this season thus far to indicate otherwise. Fire Martinez, Bobo, AND Fabris, and if CMR refuses to do anything short of that, fire him also!

Scott

October 16th, 2009
8:17 am

Being a georgia fan…I saw something last night during the Cincinnati game I wasn’t familiar with from our coaching staff. Brian Kelly and his staff took his team on the road in a nationally televised game…had his qb go down. They made in game adjustments to try and make things work with their players they had on the field. seemed like a good concept …and they won. What do you think will have to happen for our coaching staff to do something like that? CMR and his staff don’t seem to ever make adjustments. And Kelly had his players prepared, focused and ready to play.

59bulldawg

October 16th, 2009
8:17 am

I’m with you barneyb! I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!

jsmuga

October 16th, 2009
8:17 am

Can’t imagine how much FL is going to score on this horrible defense…… This could be the most embarrassing loss in Jacksonville…..

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:18 am

If I’m Vandy, I look at the same 6-7 plays Tenn. were successful with and run them. We will be in the same Defense and will not come out of it. Note to Vandy. The TE will be OPEN ALL DAY. We never cover him and we never adjust. Last year’s Carolina game. Their TE caught 6 passes in the first half. we adjusted at half, he only caught 7 the second half. Career day for him that improved his draft status. Anybody notice 88 in Orange last weekend. Big Day. No, I don’t coach, but I have eyes.

59bulldawg

October 16th, 2009
8:19 am

Scott, what a concept! A Georgia coach making adjustments! That Cincy coach and his staff are looking better and better to me!

Tech Man

October 16th, 2009
8:19 am

GA 9 Vandy 3

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:20 am

But Barneyb…………………We’re working harder to get better………………….

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:24 am

I think the Florida game will be closer than we think. We have and open date and we can get “streaky’ at times and look OK. I say 38 to 17 or so. not 49-3 or something like that.

Okefenokee Dawg

October 16th, 2009
8:26 am

Now, let me see … we are about as good as Vandy, and they are having a bad year. We’ll need more than two weeks to prepare for Florida.

takedowndawg

October 16th, 2009
8:32 am

Jason, are you there? We all should just step back and take a big breathe, right? We know that you believe in Mark Richt and his vision and firing an assistant coach/and best friend in midseason would be uncivilized! And, everyone a winner and it not “whelther you win or lose”, but how you play the game, with Character right. What we are witnessing is not character. We remember your blogs indicating to the rest of us who were not buying in Coach Richt’s brand of football(soft-n-tender) that we somehow did not see the big picture. Football is planned, controlled aggression competitively played on a 100 yard field among 22 participates for sixty minutes. It is also the best spectator sport in the world, in some of our opinion. Our Coach, took his hands off of all areas of coaching under his responsibilty and totally delegated and as so many others have mentioned, he became a CEO instead of a field general. The program is out of control and if he does not fire someone after a poor showing at Vandy, his goose is done. And, rightfully so. Stubborness should not be confused with loyality.

lanier

October 16th, 2009
8:32 am

vandy 16 pups 14

Scott

October 16th, 2009
8:34 am

it gets frustrating watching teams who don’t have great offenses run the same 2 or 3 plays on us all game and we can’t or won’t adjust. then you see other staffs have their teams prepared and make great adjustments with less talent.

59bulldawg

October 16th, 2009
8:36 am

The extra week before Florida will be used for a pool party and BBQ. It’s not for preparation!

DAWGBREEDER

October 16th, 2009
8:37 am

VANDY WINS! VANDY WINS!!! LOL, I hope Marlon Brown is enjoying himself. I’m also thankful the Dawgs are so talented that they left the LB in Gainsville for the poor Vols. Willie, Willie he’s my man, if he can’t stop them no one can. LOL, season over!!!!!! GO VOLS

DawgNation

October 16th, 2009
8:40 am

I don’t care if we were going into this game 6-0 and ranked in the top 5. EVERY year the Vandy game scares the begees out of me. No matter what the circumstances Vandy always seems to play up for this game or we seem to over look and get caught looking forward. This year I have no doubt that the Dogs are focused more on this since we have lost 2 straight SEC games but I am leery about the ability of the coaching staff to adjust to what I know is coming against our secondary and about the abilities of the defensive ends and corners to properly adjust to the option to the right that has burned this defense every game. I think the offense will muster up some yards and might even hold onto the ball this time but only score in the 20’s. Even that may not be enough. As mentioned above Man how we have fallen to be this worried this late against this team. Still pulling for you Dogs but guys focus ok?

kennesawdawg

October 16th, 2009
8:48 am

I realize all of you are ticked off by how poorly our Dawgs have played but some of you are acting as if we have been horrible for some time. I realize we need some new blood but look what richt has done for this program since hes been here no we havent been to a nat championship game (there was 2 seasons I can think of we were pretty dang close and 2 1/2 years ago was one of them) but thats harder to do than just being good one year you have to be lucky unless you are by far the best team in the nation see FL last year. I guess what Im tryin to say is calm down and breath just a little if you want to clamor for CWM job thats fine but we are still in good hands one down year does not ruin what CMR has done here. I dont give a hoot what Lame Kitten has to say hes still ticked off about the 2 prized picks we came in and got form TN last year. Kitten will get some from GA but CMR has shown he will get his in and out of state.

JB

October 16th, 2009
8:50 am

Dawg breeder, your “coon dog Ass” been hiding under that porch of that trailer of yours so long , your brain has gone to mush. Trust me, ya’ll are NOT BACK.

Jan Kemp

October 16th, 2009
8:57 am

Vandy 20, U(sic)GA 9

Hal

October 16th, 2009
8:58 am

Hal

October 16th, 2009
8:55 am

Lets point something out if it hasn’t been already… I think anyone would agree that some of the players on VanGorder’s D were studs. But did they come here that way or were they “coached up”?

Lets review a few:

David Pollack – absolute LEGEND at UGA… 3 star fullback recruit

Thomas Davis- bad a$$ sum beech, picked up in a basketball court by BVG after NEVER watching him play football

Odell Thurmond- stud playmaker, R Curran couldn’t tote his jock, troubled kid from JC BVG made a stud from

Gregg Blue- whew, last really good safety we’ve had… barely a top 50 prospect from GA

Tim Jennings- no other school even offered the 2 star cornerback from SC- BVG made him a starter in the NFL

Jason Ferguson, Kedrick Golston, Cedric Wynn, Robert Geathers… we could go on and on and on… Brian VanGorders players got better coaching, more fire and intensity than any that have come after him. Sure we had a good year or two RIGHT AFTER he left. Residual effects of him having coached the players who stayed behind. One can lot logically argue that UGA hasn’t systematically declined over the last 4+ seasons on defense. Not even the legendary Buck Blue.

If you believe in rankings, look back at the last several years. Great recruits, 4 stars, 5 stars… sure fire studs everywhere.

On another note, for those of you grilling Joe Cox and calling for a replacement. On last nights ESPN broadcast they showed Heisman frontrunner, shoe in Colt McCoy’s numers… take a look:

Colt McCoy- 1430 yds; 11 TD’s; 6 INTS; 73% COMP
Joe Cox- 1355 yds; 11TD’s; 8 INTS; 60% COMP the 2 INT diff are the 2 prayers that came with seconds left in both the OSU & LSU games

This is an issue of coaches not getting the most from their players. Returners runnings punts out with their heals in the end zone. Linebackers sailing on play-action, running backs not running, linemen not living up to even their own performances last year. How can Belue blame the players when many of them are the same as last year or before who DID perform?

All DAWGS need to quit making excuses and fix the few issues we have. As fans, we HAVE to continue to support the team and stop turning on them. If there is a recruiting issue do you think we’re making a good showing of ourselves by killing the players? What recruit wants to come here with that crap going on. Support them and support Mark…. by God he gave you a program to be proud of. Give him a chance to get it right again… 30 yrs ago folks tried to run off Vince Dooley… how’d that work out for them?

Disgusted Dawg

October 16th, 2009
9:02 am

How low have we sunk that we are only a freakin 7 point favorite against a bottom-feeder like Vandy? Tennessee made us look like a pee-wee team. We made Crompton look like a combination of Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Johnny Unitas rolled into one. Lane Kiffin took Mark Richt to the woodshed. I expect us to lose to Vandy and to struggle against Tennessee Tech. Georgia Tech will murder us. The wheels are off the wagon. At least basketball season starts soon….bet we suck at that too.

Saint Simons

October 16th, 2009
9:03 am

Vandy 49 UGA 3 go Vandy!!!!!!!!!!!

Macclenny_dawg

October 16th, 2009
9:04 am

Wow the Vandy qb has been sacked 14 times!!!! With Martinez coaching our defense I bet he will standing in the pocket looking like a statue with all day to throw!!!! Martinez game plan going into the game is Play Zone!!!He is not a very good qb so he can’t make any throws!!! We can’t blitz because if we do and he runs he gets 15 yards!!! Yep we got to play zone!!!! Any other decent college defensive coordinator would be licking his chops telling his guys we are going to blitz and blitz some more we are going to GADA!!!!Curran you want be the leading tackler this week but you will be a sack master this week!!! Another coordinator would challenge his defense to get at least 5 sacks in this game!!!! Challenge them to get a fumble and 2 interceptions!!! But we are stuck this year with Willie and at the end of the day he will be the 2nd coming of TEBONE with his breakout game!!! Might as well have his breakout game against us everybody else does!!!! I am not sure if Ray Charles was the qb on the other team I think he would have a breakout game!!!!!!!!

coach smith

October 16th, 2009
9:04 am

I think everybody shows up ANGRY and on the SAME PAGE

Georgia rolls into the bye week with a 31-10 win over Vandy

Vandy Coach Bobby Johnson

October 16th, 2009
9:09 am

Lane Kiffin sent me the gameplan he used to whip UGA’s ass. The only adjustment I am making is to not allow the Dogs 16 points on Special Team screw-ups. We will allow UGA a cheap 3 point field goal. Final score Vandy 45 UGA 3……..Who Kicked The Dog’s Ass??? Who? Who? Who Kicked The Dog’s Ass? Any team from Tennessee…….thats whooooooooooo!!!! LMAO!!!!