Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turnovers, Penalties the Norm for Dawgs

You gotta coach 'em up.

A true enough statement. The ultimate responsibilities of coaches are to get the most out of available talent, and to get all 11 players on the field to function as a unit on every play. Beyond that, penalties and turnovers are going to happen, and it's on the coaches to do everything within their power to minimize them...but to what extent?

There's the age old saying, "I am as God made me," which was later, and perhaps more eloquently echoed by Popeye's "I yam what I yam." As a coach, to correct and/or limit foot-shooting mistakes like turnovers and penalties, you can basically do two things: Teach fundamentals and technique over and over, and you can offer up punitive responses ranging from running stadiums and gassers to limiting or denying playing time for a player. I have no doubt Georgia coaches are doing both these things, short of completely denying playing time (they've only got so many players to work with). It seems, to this point at least, that Georgia's most talented and capable players are somehow innately prone to turning the ball over or committing foolish penalties.

Take starting right tackle Clint Boling. Here's a two-year starter that was even named the SEC's offensive lineman of the week after the Arkansas game. He was simply out of sync on Saturday night, committing an unforgivable false start that really hamstrung a drive for the Dawgs. He knows what to do and how to do it, but it didn't stop him from having simple lapses in concentration a few times. As a matter of fact, the whole offensive line was "starting falsely" for seemingly the entire night, after committing 6 such infractions the week before against Arkansas. This from a unit coached by Stacey Searels, who is widely regarded as one of the finest O-Line coaches in the nation.

Then there's RB Caleb King. He was well on his way to earning even more playing time, as RB Richard Samuel was less than impressive, and King was running with quickness and determination. Although one of his own linemen got pushed into him, King allowed the ball to get away from his body, resulting in a fumble.

Should Georgia bring on Jimmy Caan as
an anti-turnover consultant?

It begs the question, can anything really be done to correct it?

The only possible solution I can see would be to immediately bench a player for the ensuing series if he commits a foolish penalty (false start, lining up in the neutral zone, illegal formation, etc), or turning the ball over. The issue here is that coaches would be forced to implement a double-standard of sorts. If AJ Green happened to commit a false start (for argument's sake), would you really want him riding the pine for the next series in a tight game? Suppose two different offensive linemen committed false starts on a series. Would you really want a walk-on or two playing the next series?

Georgia has been both lucky and unlucky to have escaped with wins the past three weeks in spite of all its turnovers and penalties. Lucky, because, well, the Dawgs are 3-1, and 2-0 in the SEC. Unlucky, because a lack of lessons learned could be resulting.

With LSU looming, and by barely escaping against a team that, I think, Georgia's players and coaches felt they should have easily handled, last week was the final straw. If we see another penalty and turnover-laden game, you pretty much just have to say, "This is what these guys are."

No comments:

Post a Comment