Bulldogs paid price for penalties in loss

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ATHENS, Ga. --- Mark Richt appears to have finally reached a tipping point concerning Georgia's penchant for penalties.

"I've got to send a stronger message than we've sent to this point," the Bulldogs coach said. "That's probably my No. 1 priority right now -- to make sure that I do that."

Georgia skated by with wins in its first four games, but against an Alabama team whose offensive line kept Georgia from getting to the quarterback and a defense that shut down the running game and pressured Matthew Stafford, those penalties were magnified.

The Bulldogs had 10 penalties for 81 yards in the 41-30 loss to Alabama. The Crimson Tide had two for 9 yards.

Georgia has had 10 or more penalties in four of its five games. Its 53 penalties for 437 yards are the most in the NCAA this season. The Bulldogs average 10.6 penalties per game, trailing only Texas Tech's 10.75 per game.

No penalty was more costly than a roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Akeem Dent on Alabama's first drive. It negated a fumble that Georgia recovered and gave the ball back to the Crimson Tide, who scored a touchdown.

"That was a very crucial penalty," Richt said.

Georgia's coaches want their players to compete aggressively while also playing within the rules, but killer penalties are cropping up too often.

"It's a thing that's really hurting us," said safety CJ Byrd, a North Augusta alum. "We said it, man, that it's going to come back and bite us in the butt. We've just got to do better. It's nothing you can practice. Individuals just have to think."

Defensive end Jarius Wynn was also flagged for roughing the passer during Alabama's second drive when he hit John Parker Wilson after he completed a pass.

But not all penalties are bad ones.

Cornerback Prince Miller was penalized 15 yards for pass interference against Alabama on a play that probably saved a touchdown.

"Prince Miller grabbing a guy going into the end zone was a smart thing to do," Richt said.

Too often, though, Georgia has not been smart when it comes to toeing the line on playing by the rules. That's something Richt admitted his coaches must do a better job of addressing.

"Whatever we've done," Richt said, "it hasn't slowed down, so we've got to crank it up even more."

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@onlineathens.com.

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YellowHammer
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YellowHammer 09/30/08 - 07:44 am
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That's definitely a problem

That's definitely a problem for them. But a penalty-free game would've still resulted in a loss Saturday night. They just ran into a better team.

That is all.

CanDawgsDoMath
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CanDawgsDoMath 09/30/08 - 08:50 am
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Shows a poorly coached team,

Shows a poorly coached team, a coach who uses untimely black out gimmicks in place of true discipline and planning. The dogs again an above average team, with some talented individuals. Not championship calibre. Dawgs should be satisfied with just being on tv, national at that. What entertainment it was saturday night......Couldn't figure if it were a comedy or a tragedy; but it was a delight :)

brimisjoshan
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brimisjoshan 09/30/08 - 10:12 am
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Listen Rusty, Mark Richt is

Listen Rusty, Mark Richt is one of the best coaches out there. Unfortunately the dogs get little respect because they play in the toughest league out there. I hope you enjoyed pouncing upon the dawgs who did play terribly that day but they are not the first to have a bad day. Things will get better and who knows they just might be champions. LSU did it with 2 losses last year

superman6282000
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superman6282000 09/30/08 - 11:07 am
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Rusty's right, you can't lead

Rusty's right, you can't lead the NCAA in penalties and think you are a great coach. When it comes to recruiting, few can match Richt. But as far as game management and flat out coaching, Richt is probably at the lower echelon in the SEC. He has offically become the new Mack Brown... A great recruiter who can't win the big one..... Mack did clear that hurdle 3 years ago, maybe Richt can do the same.

paulwehitherspoons
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paulwehitherspoons 09/30/08 - 01:19 pm
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As I said yesterday Richt,

As I said yesterday Richt, must enstill discipline in his black players. It is obivous they have had little to this point in life.

I4PUTT
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I4PUTT 09/30/08 - 02:44 pm
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I still think we were robbed.

I still think we were robbed. I'm sure I saw at least one holding violation that wasn't called on one of the 12 touchdowns by BAMA in the first quarter!!!!LOL

Georgiais1
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Georgiais1 09/30/08 - 05:53 pm
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He had won 11 games in a row

He had won 11 games in a row up until Saturday night in one of the toughest conferences in the country, if not the toughest.. Yea he is a really bad coach. Oh and one of them was Alabama last year I believe. I don't see anybody going unscathed this year to win the N.C. Ga. still has a good as chance as any of them if they get back on track. Go DAwgs and Mccain!

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