Bulldogs Turn Focus to Vanderbilt

By: UGA Sports Communications
By: UGA Sports Communications

Athens, GA - For the annual Homecoming game this Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs will face the Vanderbilt Commodores between the hedges for their second consecutive game in Sanford Stadium. In overall Homecoming contests, Georgia is 69-17-2 and 18-3 against the Commodores.

During his weekly Sunday conference call with the media, head coach Mark Richt said he knows coming off a win against Tennessee will help the team.

“The big thing is that everybody got a taste of what it feels like to play a solid game on the offensive, defensive and kicking side. When people feel that, they are anxious to continue in that light. This week we will continue to get after each other on Tuesday and keep the tempo the way it should be.”

Although the Bulldogs won in Nashville last year 34-10, the Commodores left Athens in 2006 with a 24-22 victory, ending Georgia’s 11-year winning streak in Homecoming games. Richt hopes to add a win to his 8-1 against Vanderbilt and said he will probably be leading the team onto the field again this game.

“I had a little fun, and I think I’ll do that again. That is the first time I’ve done it, and I enjoyed it and it got my blood pumping a little too.”

The Bulldogs (2-4, 1-3 SEC) and Vanderbilt (2-3, 1-1 SEC) are both looking for another Southeastern Conference win, and Richt knows that his team still has things to work on.

“Our players just need to keep learning, and we need to hang onto the ball better. Aaron (Murray) threw a ball that could have gotten picked and ran back. We just have to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have to continue to be very diligent in hanging onto the football and not throwing any balls that can be picked. We also had a couple things happen defensively, so we still have to continue to get better there as well.”

Both teams are coming off wins and put a combined total of 93 points on the board against their opponents last week—Georgia 41-14 over Tennessee, Vanderbilt 52-6 over Eastern Michigan. Richt commented on the progress of the offensive line.

“(Kenarious) Gates did a nice job. He did not faint or have a bunch of busted assignments. He had maybe one or two busts, but that wasn’t a problem. He pass protected pretty good. Overall he did well and we will more than likely keep that same combination up front. (Trinton) Sturdivant is doing pretty much what we thought at the beginning of the year. We knew it would take time and be a process. When it comes to pass protection he is more comfortable than he is with the run block so he needs to continue to get better on the run block. The harder you play, the safer you are and he is figuring that out.”

The Georgia-Vanderbilt series first began in 1893 in Nashville, and the Bulldogs lead the all-time series 50-18-2, winning 14 of the last 15 meetings. Richt would like to carry the momentum from the win against Tennessee into the SEC matchup this Saturday.

“It was good medicine for me personally, for our staff, our players, our fans and our families. It was a win and a well-played game. It was played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Plays were made on both sides of the ball. It was a great team effort and victory, but now we have to get back to work.”

Kickoff in Athens is set for 12:21 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised live on SEC Network.

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