It’s easy to make a case that running back Todd Gurley would have made a difference for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in Nashville. Keith Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett might have, too.
It’s easy to make a case that having a better defense would have made a difference. Or that if the officials had not have made a few atrocious targeting calls. Or if Georgia had a special teams coach, it might have beaten Vanderbilt.
But those are just excuses.
People are tired of the excuses for Georgia football.
Sure, there were reasons Georgia did not win Saturday, but don’t bury the lead here. The Bulldogs had absolutely no energy on the field and looked totally unprepared to handle a team that rebounded after being down by 13 points.
That’s exactly what Vanderbilt did, and Georgia had to sit there and watch and had no idea of how to stop the bleeding.
After going 3-1 in September and seemingly surviving the toughest schedule in the country, Georgia has had a nightmare October. Just think if Tennessee’s Pig Howard had held on to the ball in overtime in Knoxville two weeks ago. Georgia probably should be below .500.
This is not something that can be chalked up only to injuries and youth. Adjustments must be made by a coaching staff when a catastrophe happens, and this staff hasn’t made them.
Are the injuries and youth excuses for being unprepared and unmotivated?
How were the players unprepared? How about the starting tight end -- Arthur Lynch -- running onto the field as Georgia was kicking an extra point? Should we even bring up special teams now or wait until later? And how many times have we seen defensive players have this “What do I do” look as they look to the sidelines for help?
Why were they uninspired? When Vanderbilt was making its run, why didn’t someone on the Georgia sideline get furious? Instead, we saw Mark Richt pacing back and forth with no emotion. We know he was not happy, but he has to do something to make his players feel they can still be in the game instead of looking like he is simply being patient.
It’s one thing if Georgia loses back-to-back games to Florida and Auburn, but the Bulldogs just lost back-to-back games to Missouri and Vanderbilt. There is a difference.
The past two weeks the offensive line has been ordinary. Why? How can it take a step back in the middle of the season after it played its best game in years against LSU last month? There are no injuries on the offensive line to have as an excuse, and it was awfully difficult for Georgia fans to hear the television commentator repeatedly say how much Vanderbilt was winning the battle on the lines of scrimmage.
Why was the play-calling so conservative? Sure, the receiving corps for Georgia is depleted, but does that mean Aaron Murray can no longer throw the ball downfield? Murray’s longest completion was for 17 yards -- to a running back, J.J. Green. And the two tight ends -- Lynch and Jay Rome -- had a total of two receptions for 15 yards. Shouldn’t they be targeted more with so many receivers missing?
Sure, the defense for Georgia is horrendous. The Bulldogs lost to a backup quarterback for the second week in a row. In two weeks, Florida’s Tyler Murphy might just continue the streak. It’s going to be tough to take if Georgia can’t stop Florida’s pitiful offense in Jacksonville, but it might actually be just what the doctor ordered to make the Gators look good.
The special teams play? It’s just embarrassing to see how bad that unit has played this season. But we continue to hear how it wouldn’t help to have one coach dedicated to teach that important part of the game. Perhaps when it’s a dumpster fire like this, it would be beneficial.
Things have not gone Georgia’s way. It has been a tough year. Not many teams could have survived all the injuries. But it’s no excuse for the lackluster performance. Not many had confidence in Georgia going into this game against Vanderbilt anyway, which is maddening considering the Commodores have beaten Georgia just three times since 1974 prior to Saturday’s upset.
But James Franklin’s team wanted it more. His team outscored Georgia 17-0 in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt deserved to win the game. Georgia didn’t.
No one will get fired. No one will take the blame. And there will not be a Shawn Williams callout like last year to save the season.
They have their excuses. Just like always. That’s just the Georgia way.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.