ATHENS — Greetings from Sanford Stadium folks. It’s an absolutely beautiful day for football today. It’s 65 degrees with a light but steady breeze, wispy clouds if any at all. Enjoy it while you can because the Georgia Bulldogs are not going to back here for more than a month. The next four games after today’s tilt against Vanderbilt are all away from Athens.
As for today’s game, here are some storylines to watch for …
1. Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley: The two wide receivers are available to play for the first time this season. There was a lot of chatter Saturday about Mitchell possibly not being able to play today. I was just down on the field and he was fully dressed out and running on the field. I even heard him tell someone he was going to go today. But I wouldn’t make too much of that. Even if he does go — and UGA is leaving it up to him — I don’t see him making a significant impact on the game. His first practice in eight weeks was six days to go. I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to be ready to carry an offensive load that quickly. However, I do see the speedy Scott-Wesley, who has been working out full speed for the past couple of week, to possibly make a difference in Georgia’s passing game.
2. Hutson Mason’s response: I can’t remember a time when I’ve heard more discussion about the play of a Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, including from that quarterback himself. Mason readily admitted he has been over-thinking and trying to be perfect in Georgia’s passing game. There’s even been talk about possibly playing or platooning another quarterback. I don’t necessarily expect that to happen at this juncture. But seeing how Mason responds to all the sudden attention is going to be interesting to witness today.
3. Secondary play: Based on their body of work to date, it’s hard to see the Commodores providing a formidable test for Georgia’s defensive backfield, which incurred more attrition over the last 10 days. Coach Jeremy Pruitt lost cornerbacks Shattle Fenteng (shoulder surgery) and Rico Johnson (medical DQ) and safety Sheldon Dawson (quit) in that time. None of those guys had started this season, but it leaves an already-thin and overmatched position even more vulnerable. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Vanderbilt has the worst offense in the SEC (and one of the worst in the nation) and will be playing without its starting quarterback today (Patton Robinette).
4. Tailback U: The good news for the Bulldogs is No. 3 Todd Gurley is dressed out and ready to go. So are Nos. 27 Nick Chubb and 22 Brendan Douglas. It will be interesting to see how Georgia manages the carries at that position with Sony Michel (shoulder) and Keith Marshall (knee) now out of the rotation. I suspect the Bulldogs will put their Heisman Trophy candidate on ice as soon as the score and situation will allow. If the score and situation allows.
Now let’s watch some football!