October 16, 2012

Getting on the same page

Head coach Mark Richt isn't going to publically lay blame for any miscommunication issues which have plagued his team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

However, with his Bulldogs about to begin the second half of the season, making sure everybody is on the same proverbial page is something he admits will be a key to what future success the team is able to have.

"Every game you're going to have some miscommunication here and most of the big plays we've given up has been due to some of that," Richt said Tuesday. "But we're not going to sit here and make excuses other than we've got to do a better job."

Players on both sides of the ball have mentioned the "M" word, particularly since the Bulldogs' 35-7 loss to South Carolina two weeks ago.

"One thing we learned was how important assignments are. When you have missed assignments - even if it's just one guy on a specific play - it might not seem very important, but it can disrupt the entire thing," offensive guard Chris Burnette said. "Sometimes you don't realize how important communication is, especially playing in an atmosphere like that."

But it's been the defense and a penchant for giving up big plays which has been the biggest problem for the Bulldogs.

Of the 17 offensive touchdowns scored by opponents, four have come from at least 43-plus yards away. Georgia opponents have also scored 94 of their 145 points in the first half, which according to linebacker Christian Robinson, have been largely due to everyone not paying attention to detail.

"I think a lot of the reason is that we might have certain coverage in and we aren't communicating with each other about who needs to be where. I think we have guys in the same position that aren't executing until the whistle," Robinson said. "This bye-week has been huge in allowing us to talk things out and fix these problems. A lot of the reason is that we're putting new stuff in every week. Because we've been in this defense so long we've been able to mix things up and add in things but that can cause confusion sometimes."

Richt agreed.

"I know we've given up some big plays off not communicating well on the back end, we've had some mistakes, being over-aggressive sometimes on the play-action fake, for example," Richt said. "I wouldn't say offensively there's been a ton of that. I'm sure guys, if you lead the question a certain way, are going to answer it the way you want it. But I haven't seen a ton of missed assignments. When you do have negative yardage plays it is more of a guy turning someone free rather than just getting whipped.

"I don't want to talk about South Carolina any more. They beat us, they beat us soundly and congratulations to them and we've moved forward from that. Now, correcting mistakes is important."

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera can relate.

Against Tennessee, Herrera admitted to taking a wrong angle on running back Rajion Neal which resulted in one of his two touchdowns.

"Sometimes it's something as simple as mixing up who is supposed to be covering the running back and sometimes it's more complicated than that because we have a lot of things going on," Herrera said. "If one person doesn't understand what they really have to do then it could mess up anything."

Richt refuted the notion that issues of cohesion are causing part of the problems.

"If I start talking about that then it sounds like I'm trying to make excuses for the boys, but it's just like any other position group," Richt said. "If you've got a group of linemen, defensive backfield or any group where communication is important, the more reps you get the more chance they have of not making those mistakes."