After the second week of the season, most people had written off Georgia. They had lost consecutive games to Boise State and South Carolina and Mississippi State, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech were all looking really good.
Now the Bulldogs are 8-2 and clinch a trip to the SEC Championship game with a win on Saturday against Kentucky.
So how did Mark Richt do it?
The most important thing to realize is that he did not have to do much different because Boise and USC are both great teams. They are both ranked in the Top 15 nationally and the Gamecocks had a completely healthy Marcus Lattimore and Stephen Garcia was playing good football.
Then the rest of the teams started to show their true colors. Mississippi State lost two games and was fresh off game with Louisiana Tech that required overtime to get a win; Florida had lost its previous three games before taking on the Bulldogs and Auburn is a terrible road team under Gene Chizik.
But certain things did change, primarily on defense. Linebacker had every one of his ten sacks in games after the first two weeks and the same thing can be said about Cornelius Washington, Abry Jones and John Jenkins. The team as a whole went from letting up an average of 40 points to never giving up more than 28 points including seven of eight games with 20 or less points.
Georgia currently ranks 12th in scoring defense and fourth in yards allowed and they did it after being set back with 80 points and 785 yards in the first two weeks. Part of the development has been because of the players becoming more comfortable with the new 3-4 defensive scheme as well as the emergence of players like Armarlo Herrera and Bacarri Rambo.
Offensively, Isaiah Crowell has learned to block better and tight end Orson Charles has become much more of a consistent player—he was held without a catch against South Carolina.
It has been a team effort to get Georgia back from 0-2 but with a soft schedule and the emergence of key players on defense, the Bulldogs are a win away from playing the SEC Championship.