Stray notes and quotes to start the week:
– If you lost count, Georgia had eight players run the ball and 10 catch it in Saturday’s win at Vanderbilt.
– Prince Miller’s punt-return stats for this season before Saturday: nine returns for 63 yards. Miller’s stats on Saturday: two returns for 95 yards. “We did the same thing we’ve been trying to do all year,” he said. “But we got some opportunities, and guys made great blocks.”
– UGA’s 34 points were the second most scored against Vandy since the start of last season, topped only by Florida’s 42 last year.
– On the occasion of Georgia’s bye week, Mark Richt was asked on his teleconference Sunday what he likes most and what concerns him most about this season so far. What he likes most: “I would say I like the players themselves as far as they are staying together, they are battling away, they are keeping the faith and they keep grinding.” And what concerns him most: “The thing I haven’t liked so much is just the inconsistent play, the inconsistency of all of our units –- some games very good, some games not-so-good. Vanderbilt was the closest we have come to putting it all together as a team and really looking like a pretty solid football team. Hopefully we can begin to predict those types of performances, but right now you’re still not sure what you’re going to get.”
– Georgia’s rushing yards in the first three quarters vs. Vandy: 53. Georgia’s rushing yards in the fourth quarter vs. Vandy: 120.
– Georgia’s last touchdown drive: 10 plays for 68 yards, all on the ground. “Very nice to see,” Richt said.
– Georgia wound up with about the same rushing yardage (173) as Vandy’s other opponents (average of 171 entering Saturday’s game).
– Georgia sacked Vanderbilt QB Larry Smith three times –- one apiece by Justin Houston, Demarcus Dobbs and Kade Weston, all in the first half. “He was running for his life, even when he didn’t get sacked,” Vandy coach Bobby Johnson said of his quarterback.
– Georgia’s offense scored touchdowns in three of the four quarters Saturday after doing so in only one of its previous 11 quarters.
– Georgia’s bye week follows a season-opening stretch of seven consecutive games against opponents from BCS conferences. “It was definitely the toughest seven-game stretch we’ve been through without an open date,” Richt said. “If you just look at who we played, there was no place to catch your breath. But we fought and are sitting where we are now [4-3, 3-2 SEC] and had good performances last week, which is very positive. I’d say in the future I could go for a little bit different look on the front end of the schedule.” It will look quite different the next two years, with Georgia opening against Louisiana Lafayette in 2010 and playing Coastal Carolina in the third game of 2011.
– With the exception of players who are out for the season –- Trinton Sturdivant, Rod Battle, Tanner Strickland, Kris Durham -– the Bulldogs figure to be healthy for the Florida game. Richt said he expects fullback Shaun Chapas (shoulder/neck) to play, and he’s optimistic about the availability of linebackers Marcus Dowtin (finger) and Akeem Dent (hamstring), too.
– Richt, on Sunday’s teleconference, mentioned an added benefit of a bye week: “Sometimes you get a little perspective on life, too, or on the season. You’re able to see something that maybe you wouldn’t if you were right in the middle of the battle.”
– Comparative scores are sort of fun to ponder, but of no prognosticative value. Florida won by 10 over Tennessee, which won by 26 over Georgia –- a 36-point swing in the Gators’ favor. On the other hand, Arkansas lost by 11 to Georgia and by 3 to Florida -– an 8-point swing in the Dogs’ favor.
– Rennie Curran, peeking ahead to the Florida game before leaving Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday afternoon: “People are going to doubt us, no matter what. People don’t have as much respect for us as Florida — and deservedly so. They’ve got that record, and they make plays.”
– Richt on what his team took from Florida’s narrow victory over Arkansas: “I think our guys know we’re in the SEC and every week everybody has got to play.”
– No final word yet, but both Richt and Mike Bobo say their current expectation is that Bobo will continue to call plays from the sideline rather than the press box. Bobo moved to the field for Saturday’s game –- first time he had called plays from there – and he liked it. QB Joe Cox said Bobo’s presence “brought some more energy” to the sideline.
– Washaun Ealey admitted he was “nervous,” making his first collegiate start Saturday. More on UGA’s continuing tailback derby here.