The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Behind Enemy Bylines: Georgia Bulldogs

Ahead of Saturday’s matchup between Vanderbilt No. 1 Georgia, The Hustler spoke with Owen Warden of The Red & Black to learn more about the back-to-back defending national champions.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Quincy Skinner Jr. running on Oct. 7, 2023 against Florida. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Having lost five games in a row, the Vanderbilt Commodores will welcome the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs this Saturday, Oct. 14 in search of a rebound victory. To get the inside scoop on Georgia, The Hustler went Behind Enemy Bylines to speak with Owen Warden, Assistant Sports Editor of The Red & Black.

The Vanderbilt Hustler: How has Georgia looked without Stetson Bennett as quarterback, and how has the transition been?

Owen Warden: So it was interesting at first as it was a little bit quieter, it wasn’t as big and bold as the performances we kind of saw Stetson Bennett have early on in the season, especially with the new start in Carson Beck. There are a lot of short passes, trying to gain, trying to get the run game involved early. That was the first four or five games. And then slowly but surely, especially this past game against Kentucky, it felt like the offense really came alive and suddenly Carson Beck started making dynamic throws and dynamic plays and stuff like that. Without Stetson Bennett, Carson Beck, especially last week against Kentucky has really found that and has been incredibly effective and has even been making some throws that Stetson Bennett hasn’t been able to make — a little bit of touch, a little bit more arm accuracy than Stetson Bennett could even have. So the team has been playing really well. Especially last week without him and thankfully for the Georgia offense, Carson Beck is really starting to come alive. We’ll see how that progresses going forward, but I think the transition has been just fine.

VH: What makes this team different or similar to last year?

OW: Well, I think all you have to do is look at the big pieces of course, a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. But a lot of the plays are the same and the offense is starting to find its way and find its explosiveness. But I think the best way to point to is the defense because even the defense I would still categorize as elite but in different ways. I think the secondary is as good or if not better than both of the national championship secondaries. I guess combined, just because of all the players at what point of development they are.

VH: Do you think the Vanderbilt defense will be able to stop Brock Bowers this year?

OW: I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen a defense that’s been able to stop Brock Bowers so far this year.  I hate to say it because it’s really mean, but I think the only way that Vanderbilt will stop Brock Bowers from being impactful is if they go down early and Brock Bowers gets the rest of the second half. I think that’s the best way Vanderbilt can kind of limit his numbers.

VH: What is your score prediction for Friday’s game?

OW: Again, I do hate to kind of trash Vandy because this was a team I was really excited for coming into the year, I thought they had potential, I really did. I really thought they could get six wins. My answer from yesterday is different from today, but I think what I’ve decided to settle on is I think Georgia gets its third straight shutout victory against Vandy for the past three years this time.

VH: And one final question, I heard y’all have a real bulldog as your mascot. Can you tell me more about him?

OW: Of course! We recently actually retired the previous guy, an English Bulldog who  went by the name Que. Now, we’ve got a new little one-year-old English Bulldog named Boom. He was crowned official mascot in a collar ceremony this past April. All of the Georgia Bulldog mascots are related through 10 generations. No matter how the game is going, it makes it easier because you see a bulldog walking around on the field and it’s like “Oh, good, good boy!”. Even if it means you start to miss your own dog at home.

The Commodores will face Georgia on Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. CDT.

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