ATHENS, Ga. - Changing offensive coordinators isn't changing Georgia's identity if last Saturday's football opener is any indication.
The Bulldogs were a run-first offense last season and tilted even further in that direction in their 51-14 rout of Louisiana-Monroe. Georgia opted for 38 rushing plays and only 14 passes in the opener, which was halted with 9:54 remaining.
"We run the ball at Georgia, so I think that's what we're going to do," junior center Brandon Kublanow said Tuesday afternoon. "It was a good game."
* No. 10 Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-0) * Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville * Saturday, 3:30 p.m. * CBS and 102.3 FM
Last Saturday marked the Bulldogs debut of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is succeeding new Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo. It also was the debut of quarterback Greyson Lambert, a redshirt junior who transferred this summer from Virginia.
Under Bobo last year, the Bulldogs averaged 43 rushes and 25 passes a game, which was an unbalanced recipe that produced a school record of 41.3 points per game.
"You know my definition of balance," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "If people just overload us in the run game, we've got to be able to throw it well and vice versa. If people just start playing two-deep and start playing coverage on us and doubling the receivers and things of that nature, we better be able to run the ball well.
"The ability to handle those situations is balance for me."
Georgia, which dropped from No. 9 to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll this week, opens its Southeastern Conference schedule Saturday afternoon with a trip to Vanderbilt.
Lambert completed 8 of 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in a confidence-building performance, but that's not what has Commodores head coach and defensive play-caller Derek Mason concerned this week. Mason was asked during Tuesday's news conference whether he would study film of Lambert with the Cavaliers.
"I'll tell you what I do," Mason said. "I look at them running the football, because everything stems from their running game. You've got to control their running game before you're able to rush the passer."
Schottenheimer's run-oriented play selection last Saturday had a familiar feel, but his location did not. Unlike Bobo, who preferred to operate from the coaching booth, Schottenheimer worked from the sideline.
Sophomore tight end Jeb Blazevich, who caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Lambert in the first quarrter, liked the change.
"It's good to see him around and interact with him during the game," Blazevich said. "He can coach us up, and I just like the face-to-face as opposed to putting on a big headset if you need to ask something."
The Bulldogs rushed for 243 yards against the Warhawks, with sophomore Nick Chubb leading the way with 16 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Chubb knows he headlines a run-first attack but said Tuesday that he expects the Bulldogs to throw more than last year, when Hutson Mason threw for 2,168 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Richt doesn't expect his Bulldogs to be a "super-heavy" running team throughout the year, citing that the passing game could be crucial as early as this week. Fifth-year senior Malcolm Mitchell was Georgia's leading receiver last week with 52 yards and a touchdown on just three catches, but he is willing to live with whatever transpires.
"I'm OK as long as we win," Mitchell said. "With this being my senior year, there are a lot of things that could distract me from the end goal - statistics being one of them. For me, it's more about winning, because if we win, we move forward.
"If we move forward, I could care less about everything else."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.