ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Senior day is packed with uncertainty for No. 11 Georgia as it prepares to play its final home game of 2020. On the other sideline, the big question for winless Vanderbilt: Will Sarah Fuller get a chance to put up some points?
Saturday could mark the farewell for wide receiver Demetris Robertson and other Georgia seniors — or maybe not.
Before this pandemic-affected season, the NCAA approved a blanket waiver for fall sports athletes to be given another year of eligibility without affecting a team's scholarship limit.
Robertson says he'll participate in the senior day ceremony, but hasn't ruled out coming back for another season.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Robertson said. “I really want to graduate, and my family wants me to graduate, so we will sit down and see what happens. ... You can’t shut any doors. You just have to weigh every opportunity, every possibility.”
Georgia (6-2, No. 8 CFP) will be looking for its third straight win with JT Daniels at quarterback.
Vanderbilt (0-8) is seeking its first win. The Commodores have endured an emotional week after coach Derek Mason was fired on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch is the interim coach.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said it is too early to talk with seniors about the possibility of returning in 2021.
“We don’t really have a lot of those conversations as far as the return,” Smart said. “They’ve got the opportunity to do that. Each kid is in a different scenario. Some have a Senior Bowl invite, some an opportunity to grow and get better, some an opportunity to graduate. So, we do not really get into it right now.”
The Vanderbilt spotlight will remain on Fuller, who last week at Missouri became the first female to play in a Power 5 conference football game. Fuller, a keeper on Vanderbilt's soccer team, joined the football team after other kickers were sidelined by COVID-19 issues.
Fuller handled a squib kick on the opening kickoff of the second half. She didn't have a chance to kick an extra point or field goal because Vanderbilt was shut out 41-0.
Ryley Guay, who made 9 of 11 field goals for Vanderbilt last season, returned to practice this week. He’s currently in medical school but has eligibility remaining.
“We’ve got two players there,” Fitch said Wednesday of his options at placekicker. “... We'll pick the person that gives us the best chance on a kickoff or obviously on an extra point and field goal. So I’m hoping we have both of those players available and using those two people to kind of make one. And Ryley hasn’t kicked in the year and that kind of thing. So I’m sure he’s working through some things.”
Smart said Fuller would not be treated differently by Georgia blockers on the field if she kicks off again.
“I've never had that conversation before,” Smart said. “I'm not going to change and have that conversation now. We don't account for the kicker on our returns. I don't think anybody in the country accounts for the kicker.”
Smart noted that soccer also can be a physical sport so this isn’t new territory for Fuller.
“She plays a very difficult sport and to be honest with you takes some very brutal collisions without a helmet, without gear on," he said. “So I'm sure she can take care of herself when it comes to that.”
FOCUS AN ISSUE
Fitch said it has not been easy to conduct a normal practice week after Mason was fired.
“This obviously is a big distraction,” Fitch said. “You want to try to eliminate as many distractions as you can so you can stay focused on the task. And that’s what we keep on talking to our players about. ... And I think we have to lead by example, because if they see us running around and unorganized and things like that, then they’ll have the same reaction.”
SACKS A KEY
Pass protection will be a key for Vanderbilt as Georgia leads the Southeastern Conference with 23 sacks. The Commodores gave up four sacks to Missouri after allowing only a combined five sacks in their previous four games.
Georgia will be the fourth ranked opponent Vanderbilt has played this season. The Commodores lost their season opener 17-12 at then-No. 11 Texas A&M and also has losses to LSU and Florida.
Vanderbilt led No. 6 Florida 10-7 after the first quarter, the Commodores’ first lead after the opening quarter against an AP Top 10 team since leading then-No. 4 Florida 7-0 on Oct. 13, 2012.
AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
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