NASHVILLE — Though Georgia may be breaking in new offensive coordinator James Coley, not much has changed in the Bulldogs’ offensive philosophy.
The Bulldogs relied heavily on their run game in their 30-6 win against Vanderbilt. Of their 479 total yards, 323 yards were accumulated off rushing plays. Georgia shared the wealth, with six different players recording carries on Saturday night.
"When you're getting 10, 15 yards a pop, it's really hard to stop [running the ball]," junior quarterback Jake Fromm said.
Long runs highlighted many of the night’s most explosive plays. An 18-yard touchdown run from redshirt freshman James Cook gave the Bulldogs their second touchdown in the first quarter. Junior D’Andre Swift’s 36-yard rush set up senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship’s 50-yard field goal in the third quarter.
While senior Brian Herrien earned the starting job in Nashville, Swift, last year’s leading rusher, led the Bulldogs on the night in total rushing yards with 147 yards on 16 attempts. Swift averaged 9.3 yards per carry — almost a first down every time he handled the ball.
"I love the way [Herrien] runs," head coach Kirby Smart said. "He runs with reckless abandon. He has no regard or concern for himself. He tries to be physical on the tacklers. He's very patient."
Herrien came right behind Swift with 65 yards on 12 carries. Redshirt freshman Zamir White came in third with 51 yards on five attempts.
White entered in the third quarter to a fanfare from the large Georgia crowd that took over Vanderbilt Stadium. White was sidelined for all of 2018 with an ACL injury. He caused the stadium to erupt in cheers when he entered the game.
"I love him, too," Smart said. "To see him go out there and have some success, he's so deserving of that."
White had five carries, at one point breaking free for a 23-yard rush in the third quarter before fumbling the ball out of bounds.
Wide receiver Demetris Robertson racked up 29 yards on two carries, with Cook and senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons rounding out the list.
Georgia rushers consistently broke free from tackles and exhibited physicality in the ground game. The rush-heavy attack helped the Bulldogs run the clock down in the second half after leading 21-6 at halftime.
"We've got good backs," Smart said. "We've got to figure out our true identity and figure out a way to be more dangerous in the passing game."
The Bulldogs were able to run the ball down against the Commodores thanks to effective blocking from a talented offensive line. Georgia’s O-line, touted throughout the preseason as one of the SEC’s best, featured junior Andrew Thomas starting at left tackle, junior Solomon Kindley at left guard, sophomore Trey Hill at center, sophomore Cade Mays at right guard, and redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson at right tackle.
"The offensive line, they played great," Fromm said. "They were moving people."
The Bulldogs recorded more rush yards (323) than the Commodores accumulated in total (225).