Georgia’s dominance has left it in a strange place with its fanbase this season. Even though the Bulldogs enter Game 7 of the season undefeated with bright prospects for the rest of the season, they have occasionally apologized for not winning more decisively. For example, there were some groans last Saturday after the Bulldogs led just 14-0 at halftime before finally pulling away with a 21-point fourth quarter.
“We let people tell us how we should feel about a 42-10 SEC win over Auburn,” Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett said Saturday. “Like, enjoy it. Yes, we have things to clean up, but that’s football. We are not perfect. We want to be, but we shouldn’t kill ourselves if we are not.
Georgia’s lopsided wins over Oregon and South Carolina (48-7) early in the season only fueled the beast of high expectations.
“I don’t apologize for winning 42-10,” coach Kirby Smart said Saturday. “What I’m saying is we have to improve. The monster that is created is that you have to live up to that expectation.
The best news for the Bulldogs is that what Smart previously described as a “beaten football team” is getting healthier.
The Bulldogs are expected to be without preseason All-American defensive tackle Jalen Carter (sprained knee) for at least a week and likely longer. However, Smart said linebacker Smael Mondon (hamstring) should be able to return to the field after sitting out last Saturday, and he expects running back Kendall Milton (groin) to be able to play as well.
“Smael was close to being able to go (against Auburn),” Smart said. “He didn’t train last week; I hope to get it back this week. And the same with Kendall.
Starting wing AD Mitchell (ankle) returned to the field last Saturday after missing the previous three games. However, he only got a few snaps and wasn’t targeted in the match.
Only two SEC teams have pitched fewer times than Georgia’s 14 this season, and that’s Tennessee and Florida, with 12 each. But most of the Bulldogs’ punts have come lately — five times against Auburn and three against Missouri. That’s after not punting but once at the end of Oregon’s game and not at all against Kent State.
But little Smart has seen first-year Aussie punter Brett Thorson, he likes it. Thorson is averaging 42.9 yards per punt, with eight being downed inside the 20-and-10, resulting in a good catch. He is not rated by the SEC or NCAA because he does not meet the required minimum of 3.6 punts per game.
“I thought his punt on Saturday was one of the positives not only in terms of bowling (inside 20) but the stroke and distance was really good,” Smart said.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Thorson came to Georgia from Victoria, Australia. There he played as an Aussie Rules football player before attending Prokick Australia academy, which trains “footies” to play the American game.
“They’re doing an amazing job preparing these guys to come to the United States, to be part of a college atmosphere, to be part of a team,” Smart said. “And he took it very well.”