On turnover margin and penalties

It’s too early, probably, but I checked out the NCAA stats on Monday. Two things jumped out:

– 1. Among major-college teams that have played two games, Georgia ranks next-to-last in turnover margin.

The Bulldogs are minus-5, meaning they have lost five more turnovers than they have gained (6-1), and only one team has a worse turnover margin through two games, Virginia at minus-6.

Georgia lost the turnover battle 3-0 against Oklahoma State  -– and lost the game 24-10. Georgia lost the turnover battle 3-1 against South Carolina –- but won the game 41-37. The six Georgia turnovers in the two games have led to 26 opposition points,  or 23 more points than the Dogs have gotten off their opponents’ lone turnover.

– 2. Georgia is back in familiar territory in penalty stats, which is to say near the bottom. The Dogs currently rank 108th among the 120 major-college teams in yards penalized per game.

Through two games, Georgia has been penalized an average of 83 yards per game — 108 yards (on 13 penalties) vs. South Carolina after  58 yards (on 7 penalties) vs. Oklahoma State.

The average per game is actually higher than last year, when the Bulldogs finished the season with an average of 72.2 penalty yards per game, which ranked 115th among major-college teams.

It’s just a two-game sample, yes,  but these two stats surely set off  some  alarms.

54 comments Add your comment

now that's funny

September 15th, 2009
4:44 am

Richard Samuel has not fumbled.


September 15th, 2009
6:56 am

Where does UGA rank in terms of fan defection nationally?


September 15th, 2009
8:09 am

The coaches say they are doing everything they can to correct penalties.I believe some referees call more penalties on UGA because of Mark Richt’s demeanor. He is not like many coaches who will question the calls. He doesn’t get in the head of the referees like a Saban or Miles.Some of the penalties against UGA have been bogus such as the leading with the head penalty in the OK State game. We all know that many SEC ref’s call a tighter game against UGA because of who their boss is, a GT man.


September 15th, 2009
8:11 am

Mallet will throw for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns. Michael Smith will run for 350 yards and Arkies will beat the Dawgs 84-3. Dawgs will get 22 offensive plays, have six fumbles and seven ints. Cox will be sacked 12 times. The Arkie center will score from the 40 on a lineman eligible pass play with 12 seconds to go. Are we frustrated with this coaching effort so far. Soft. Lost. No fire. No future. Athens is stinking it up now.


September 15th, 2009
8:11 am

Mallet will throw for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns. Michael Smith will run for 350 yards and Arkies will beat the Dawgs 84-3. Dawgs will get 22 offensive plays, have six fumbles and seven ints. Cox will be sacked 12 times. The Arkie center will score from the 40 on a lineman eligible pass play with 12 seconds to go. Are we frustrated with this coaching effort so far? Soft. Lost. No fire. No future. Athens is stinking it up now.

Michael cox

September 15th, 2009
8:21 am

Not a surprise! This is a topic which created heated discussions between VanGorder and Richt.. Van
G. Felt the team was getting sloppy and needed morr fundamental focus. Eh…..more tenacity. Not so..this has been culminating
For a while. The Coaching is to weak and sloppy! The Family atmosphere is wonderful and nice for
Recruiting but we need to find a harder edge. This team is not only missing an identity its missing discipline.


September 15th, 2009
8:28 am

Boy, those officials sure do hold a grudge don’t they?


September 15th, 2009
8:59 am

It’s coaching, plain and simple. Donnan was winning 8-10 games a year and that was enough to get him fired. Richt has brought in top 10 recruiting classes year after year and he’s winning 9-11 games a year, with the occasional SEC championship. Since the early years under Van Gorder, we have faded to top-middle of the SEC. So my question is, how long will the boosters and brass at UGA put up with this? By the way, did anyone see how Van Gorder’s Falcons defense played on Sunday?!?!

coach smith

September 15th, 2009
8:59 am

As an ex-defensive player and a high school defensive coach. I bristle up when people look at the Final Score and say the defense gave up so and so points….let me explain

That Pick 6 gave SC a touchdown that had NOTHING to do with the Dawgs’ D and niether did the 2 point Safety……

Take away those 8 points (that had nothing to do with the defense) and the Dawgs win 41-29 (by two TDs) and NOBODY is talking about how bad they look

Furthermore: lets look at two of SC’s TDs….one was after a turnover and they only had to go 23 yards for a score and the other was after a fumbled kick return and SC only had to go 7 yards for that score…

Take away those two turnovers where SC only had to go a combined 30 yards for TDs and the 8 points that had nothing to do with the defense and the game is NOT CLOSE because SC could not drive the field and score a TD….The Dawgs’ offense handed them 23 total points

That is not to say the defense doesn’t need to adjust….it just means that everyone needs perspective on what they ACTUALLY saw not just the Final Score


September 15th, 2009
9:02 am

ChipperDoodle, you are right on the money…time to clean house of the coaching staff, including the supposed golden boy Richt

coach smith

September 15th, 2009
9:03 am

Why does everybody keep talkng about how “great” Ryan Mallet is?

The dude has started 1 game at Arkansas aganist South Mizzou St

He has no experience and Arkansas has not been tested at all by playing Sout Mizzou St and then having a BYE

Mallet has NEVER been in a SEC game

Houston will be back for Georgia and they shake Mallet’s cage….count on it


September 15th, 2009
9:11 am

i have to agree that the entire team, not just the defense seems to have lost that “edge” for some reason. Not sure what it is, but it needs to be fixed. I have complete confidence in Richt; however, something needs to be done (and quickly) to return to the days where there was an obvious fire in the belly of the players. Have not seen that in way too long.


September 15th, 2009
9:14 am

That’s right-condemn the coaches for a calm demeanor. Ever heard of Tom Landry,John Wooden, Dean Smith, Walt Alsotn, and even Bear Bryant and Vince Dooley. Among others, they were noted for a relatively calm demeanor ON THE SIDELINE.

Richt has not forgotten how to coach. Do changes need to be made somewhere? Maybe, maybe not. But people who blog in and cannot even write a correct sentence do not need to be the ones to cause it.

Those coaches above were big on what you know-it-alls are condemning- loyalty. Is it suddenly wrong?

coach smith

September 15th, 2009
9:43 am

it is NEVER as “simple” as it looks

If you take a LB and use him to cover the TE and then another LB to cover the back out of the backfield…you are left with your pants down

This is becuase you only have 4 guys to rush the passer and one LB left in the middle of the field to defend the RUN

You literally spread yourself too thin from side to side and leave yousrelf wide open up the middle for SLANT passes (Spurrier’s favorite and tunnel screens, crossing routes, and stack routes) ALL of which would lead to huge plays

The bigger problem was the CBs not stepping up after the LBs get to the point where they have to release the TE and RB (you see they follow them a few steps then they are supposed to release them to be covered by the DBs and Safteys)


September 15th, 2009
9:59 am

Tell them gt and Coach Smith; I agree some things like fumbles, interseptions and slopy play like unnessary penalties drive this former player crazy. However, playing younger players will have this affect. I believe the Dawgs have a lot of heart and fire and CMR and team will have another 10 win year. I am also suprised at the lack of grammar the bloggers nation wide have. Just some thoughts.


September 15th, 2009
10:03 am

One of the things that HCs like Saban, Meyer and the like do is argue a call with a ref to not get that call overturned(that’s not going to happen). They argue to get that make up call later in the game, hopefully at an important time. CMR doesn’t do this. He just accepts the call and moves forward. The PF on Jones in the OSU game… The refs wre not going to change the call, but if CMR was to argue, it might would have set a favorable UGA call later. Same as the BS call on Jones again in the USCe game. Jones drags a WR out of bounds by his shoulder pads and gets a PF. Later in the game, AJ gets his helemt ripped off and nothing, no call, and it was right in front of a ref. CMR will not step up and defend his players in battle. He just accepts the penalty and moves on.

UGA gets alot of BS calls as a result of the endzone celebration/UF. This will not change as long as CMR is at UGA. Fair or not CMR and UGA have been branded a “Dirty Team” by SEC refs. I actually thought the USCe game was officiated decently except for the afore mentioned calls. The OSU game was the same. It’s just that there are always 1 or 2 crucial calls that go against UGA at the worst possible moments during a game, and UGA cannot seem to overcome them; with the exception of last SAT’s game.

Jared Jones

September 15th, 2009
10:11 am

wasn’t Florida like, the second most penalized team in the SEC besides us last year? So is the issue REALLY penalties? Its easy to look at a game and say that penalties lost it for us but its not quite that simple.


September 15th, 2009
10:11 am

OK gt I’ll take the bait. You know what else all of the coaches you mentioned had in common? They didn’t accept mediocre effort from their squads. Wooden was a teacher first then disciplinarian. It was his way (which worked) or the highway. Not one of these coaches would allow any of their players to keep making the same mistakes over and over and all of them got their teams up for THE START of the game.

Bear and Wooden stressed fundamentals and discipline…even if they were calm. Our teams don’t seem to have the best fundamentals (see the defence always tackling around the shoulders/head instead of hips) and they certainly aren’t disciplined at all. Just because nobody got arrested this year doesn’t mean we suddenly have a disciplined team.

A calm demeaner isn’t always productive…the proof is our Bulldawgs!


September 15th, 2009
10:15 am

Jared…Florida is good enough to overcome 150 yards in penalties a game. We are good enough to overcome about 30.


September 15th, 2009
10:21 am

Hey Jason..you don’t have the slightest idea how Mark Richt interacts with officials, so just ‘lay off’.

So, the fans in Arkansas are united behind a pip-squeak like Petrino. I mean a guy that can’t relate to, manage and/or inspire adult athletes…one that, apparently, must rely on being able to berate, belittle and otherwise dominate college-age charges through fear of losing their scholarships, ain’t much. Of course the idea that their fans would be supportive of a guy like this isn’t all that surprising…after all, what do you expect from a bunch of people that have a pig for a mascot and are proud of it?


September 15th, 2009
10:23 am

DirtyDawg, it is easy to tell. He just stands on the sideline like a statue. you can also tell by how UGA never gets a call go their way.


September 15th, 2009
10:24 am

I’m man enough to admit I was too hard on the coaches and Cox after the OkSt game and for that I would like to sincerely apologize to them.
I admit I may have jumped the gun a bit after the OkSt loss, and things aren’t nearly as bad as I thought or many still think. -See Coach Smith’s comments which are dead on.

Also, I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that OkSt lost to Houston, I think they are still a pretty good football team, and that game shows how much they put emotionally and mentally into beating the Dawgs, and they had a let down, which can happen after a big win. They shot themselves in the foot several times in that loss, and it doesn’t mean we lost to a bad team. As for SC it was just a wierd game in a lot of ways, but let’s not forget they ALWAYS play us close, just don’t think anyone expected the explosion of points on either side. Cox played much better with the exception of the pick. As long as he continues to improve I think we will be okay (it was just his 2nd start in 3yrs).

After doing some analysis this is what I think will make the Dawgs better:
Overall I think the staff is doing a good job, but if they can just TRUST their own creativity and players and get more aggressive I think it would be the thing that would put us over the top.

Many have said our coaches don’t “coach em up” I respectfully disagree. I think they simply again coach “tight” and “play it safe” rather than turn them loose. I truly think if they just turn the players loose and trust them to execute we’d all be surprised at the positive results.

What message does conservative play calling send to the players? Players take on the persona of their coaches and if the coaches are coaching from a state of fear and conservative or “tight” then how can we expect the players to play otherwise? Just something to think about.

On the penalties- from a positive we had nearly 1/2 as many last week as in week one. Still too many, but some of the calls (like the ones on Jones) were just bad calls.

The sky is not falling, and I think we will put everythnig together against Arkansas this weekend. Would still like to see what Brown and Wooten can contribute to the offense, but I trust the coaches will get them in when the time is right.
Go Dawgs!


September 15th, 2009
10:24 am

I think the Dawgs are one of the worst teams in the nation in regards to generating turnovers, and they have never been great in this area. Even when Van Gorder was there, I think the most they have ever gotten was like +11( compare this to Florida’s defense where they had +18 in 2005 and +22 last season). The defense had at least 3 opportunities to pick off passes in the Oklahoma State Game and couldn’t do it. They really need work in this area. It’s amazing how many blowouts a team can register when they’re generating turnovers on defense and making big plays in the special teams.

Wheres the Fire

September 15th, 2009
10:27 am

CMR needs to study Mike Smith and Willie needs to study VG. You see Mike Smith running down the sidelines to acknowledge the players…he is in the refs ear….he gets excited about the team and there play. If the player messes up, he is in there ear. Same with VG. The issues lie within the coaches at UGA. They lack fire and intensity and that carries over to the players.


September 15th, 2009
10:32 am

Why in the world are you fuzznut yellow jackets on this blog. You don’t need to worry about the Dawgs right now, Miami is licking there chops and ready to open an azz whopping on you. You better worry about what is in front of you and watch, they will come on here and complain about why or what caused them to lose instead of admitting they simply are not that goood. Go away bug nats, we will see who’s talking come friday morning….Mean time, dawgs will be okay…Go Dawgs,,,,Sic Em!!!!


September 15th, 2009
10:50 am

dawgs havent had that fire since the sugar bowl against Hawaii


September 15th, 2009
11:07 am





Hungry Dawg

September 15th, 2009
11:19 am

“JaxDawg” Great post and I completely agree with you and your analysis.

It’s easy to tell the true Dawg fans from the pretend Dawg fans by the fact that no true Dawg fan would ever even suggest getting rid of CMR. To compare him to Donnan is laughable. Donnan had a losing record to GT, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida (1 win) where Richt has a winning record against GT, Auburn and Tennessee with 2 wins against UF. Donnan never came close to playing in an SEC Championship where Richt has taken us to 3 in 8 years and won 2. Richt has a home at UGA for as long as he wants to coach here.

Go Dawg’s Sic Em, Woof Woof Woof!!!


September 15th, 2009
11:42 am

It’s common knowledge in football coaching circles the three leading causes of penalties are:

1. Players are out of position.
2. Lack of technique.
3. Discipline.

I believe all our pre-season focus may have been on #3. Oops! Our priorities are out of whack again. No worries… Our ‘big play’ makers will atone for our shortcomings in execution.


September 15th, 2009
11:51 am

Coach Smith…that’s good stuff.

My concern about the defense has more to do with the offense as well, and that’s the friggin time of posession. It seems like the offense is preoccupied with showing off all of their toys, and forget to just get the first down…they’re always swinging for the fence and giving the ball back to the other team.

Richard Samuel looks really good and potentially fantastic. There’s nothing wrong with a four yard run on 1st down. I’d really like to see him in more, churning out yards, taking time away from the other team…and most importantly….keeping our defense rested.

Go Dawgs!


September 15th, 2009
12:06 pm

Anyone who believed the defense played “well” Saturday doesn’t know anything about football. SC shot themselves in the foot(penalties-receiver covering up the tight end) on 2-3 occassions that cost them touchdowns and enabled GA to win. If not for SC’s blunders, they win. Pass after pass was there for them, the QB keeper was there for them, the only thing they lacked was a good deep threat. I guess we bent but didn’t break, but it certainly didn’t remind me of any of the good defenses we have had in years gone by.


September 15th, 2009
12:21 pm

they have enough talent, their weakness is coaching and the ability to adjust to their opponents during the game. this is nothing new though…


September 15th, 2009
12:31 pm

I wonder if fan support would help restore that fire in the belly. Call me crazy, but I never thought calling for the heads of coaches really inspired anyone to perform well.


September 15th, 2009
12:33 pm

Measure the size of the DC’s stones by his squad’s turnover margin.


September 15th, 2009
12:34 pm

I’m telling ya, it’s not the defense. If we could reverse the turnovers and cut out some ill timed penalties were a pretty good team. People want to blame a lot of this on the coaches. But think about this, whats been the changing variable part of the equation for the dawgs this decade? The coaches or the players? What I’m getting at is we had roughly the same coaches in the earlier part of this decade but we didn’t make the same mental mistakes.

I think we have received some players that are good on paper, but are missing some things upstairs when it comes to the game of football. It happens. Good news is you can correct mistakes, you can’t correct speed. I think this team has the ability to both beat and lose to anyone in the country.

Georgia Headlines – 9/15/09 | MrSEC.com

September 15th, 2009
12:41 pm

[...] six times in two games.  That’s no way to have a good season.3.  The Dawgs are once again committing too many penalties, too.4.  Everyone in Arkansas is sold on Bobby Petrino.  The same can’t be said for folks in [...]


September 15th, 2009
1:29 pm


September 15th, 2009
1:32 pm

nice perspective JaxDawg

ed pinson

September 15th, 2009
1:40 pm

i have read several articles about stat comparison, ypg, ypg allowed, pts, pts allowed. but at this early point they can be very lopsided due to competition. we have played two major programs. not troy and charleston southern. we are young and need a better turnover ratio and fewer penalties. i really think they will improve and the stats will even out.


September 15th, 2009
1:51 pm

Those are good posts coach smith

SOS Dawg

September 15th, 2009
2:03 pm

RX dawg are you on dope? BVG is the missing link plus some good players from the Jim Donnan era. In 2005 the trend reared its ugly head in the Auburn game then the Sugar bowl against WVU. IMO its the coaches period. They coach, they recruit the players and they play call. Has it occurred to anyone of you that opposing coaches have figured out UGAs vanilla schemes? A lot of people like to go back and point to the 2007 season which Im still not convinced that we deserved our final ranking. We lost to SC at home and got blown away by Tenn. Yes we did beat a Injured Tebow and Fla.but man did we pay for it last year. So it points to one thing and that starts with CMR whether we want to believe it or not.


September 15th, 2009
2:34 pm

RxDawg, Now you are pointing at the type of player CMR is recruiting. Here’s the question. Just when in the heck are we going to start correcting theses mistakes that have been happening the past 4 years?


September 15th, 2009
2:55 pm

You do have a point- a VERY BIG POINT. Wooden,Smith,Bear, and Dooley were not tolerant people. I know many first and second hand stories about their not accepting poor efort, discipline, etc.


September 15th, 2009
3:11 pm

So, is it the coaching or there lack of, or is it the type of player being recruited? Either way, it lays at the HC’s door step. CMR will seal his fate by the loyalty shown to incompetent asst coaches and coordinators. I think he needs one experienced and seasoned coordinator on the team, preferably a DC. A seasoned DC could help train CWM. CWM has talent to be a good DC, he is just inexperienced as is Bobo. At UGA and in the SEC, There isn’t time to groom a coordinator. The high stakes of winning will not allow for it.

One other point, for all the talk about us being young and playing alot of Frosh. Where is the strength of this team? I thought it was the OL and the interior line. Well, both units have been subpar so far, We can’t run the ball consistent behind 8 returning OL with starting experience (7 now). And we can’t generate any pass rush with our 3 Senior DTs. Those 2 problems right there are exposing a young, talented, but inexperienced CBs, and also setting up our young, talented, and inexperienced skill players.

Starfish Dawg

September 15th, 2009
3:24 pm

All I know is we need to close or squeeze the gaps underneath our pASS defense. We are being violated like heII.


September 15th, 2009
3:53 pm

For those of you who can’t realize that Van Gorder has been gone for what, 4 years…Has everyone forgotten the reaction when Richt hired VanGorder??? WHOOOOOOOOOO???
Give Richt some credit…he knows talent and is cognizant of what it takes to be a good coach.

If memory serves me Richt stressed the penalty issue in pre-season camp. I feel confident that mental errors versus agressive play penalties are being hashed out and will be corrected (2 games)

Coach Smith great points. Offense HAS to tighten up on TO’s and quit putting D on short field!!!!!!!!


September 15th, 2009
4:18 pm

On the defense- look at Coach Smith’s post from 8:59 this morning, he nails it.
Also, in the BVG vs WM argument, consider the fact that the points are the main difference, the yardage yielded is close, so from that perspective what’s the difference?

BVG got to work with a good offense that didn’t have a ton of “3 and outs” or turnovers. He also got to work with a special teams group that was among the best in the SEC at the time.
This resulted in better field position and his defense not being put in as many poor situations.

Consider this:
SC: 37pts
2 came from a saftey
6 came from Cox’s pick 6
So we’re at 29pts the defense is responsible for.
Of those 29, 7 came from a SC drive that started on the Dawgs 23 following an OFFENSIVE turnover.
7 more came following a drive that started on the Dawgs FREAKIN’ 7 YARD LINE following a kick return fumble!

Let’s just for a second suppose those two things don’t happen and replace them with 2 possessions that start on the other side of the field which greatly increases the chances that they don’t score, then the defense would have given up only 15pts. Would anyone be complaining then? Doubtful. It’s hard to hold the defense accountable for those when the opposing offense only has to move the ball 30yds for TWO TDs!

Get a grip and get off Willie’s back. We get Justin Houston back this week and the front 4 should be able to generate more of a pass rush.

Go Dawgs!


September 15th, 2009
4:43 pm

I completely agree with JaxDawg, Coach Smith, and Where’sTheFire. I think if our coaches got more pumped up, the players with. I like that Coach Richt isn’t a whiny jerk like Meyer and Spurrier, but I do wish he’d get more fired up. Remember games like the Auburn Blackout two years ago?? All the players AND coaches were going crazy, jumping up and down, standing on the benches, etc, and it kept the team going the entire game.


September 15th, 2009
5:16 pm

Jason, you are absolutely right about our coach being a “girly-man” with the officials. Gene Stallings at Bama worked the officials from the beginning to the end, and Alabama always got the benefit of the doubt. So does Saban, Meyer, Carroll, Joe Pa, and all the successful coaches. And, all of you who say “it’s not our defense”…you are wrong! It is our defense or more correctly, our lack of defense. With our speed, we should be playing man-to-man. This bend but don’t break will wear out your defensive players as they they are on the field too long. Fire CWM, and take CMB with him.

My wife is a football observer

September 15th, 2009
7:05 pm

After dinner tonite, my wife and I were talking UGA football. She was in the Dixie Redcoat Band and has seen quite a few games up close. I asked her what she thought about UGA football this year. She said first, that Richt looks up and away from the field toward the scoreboard a LOT, she wondered what he was looking at, when the game is on the field. Next, she said Richt has little or no emotion. I asked her what she thought about Cox. “He is doing as good a job as he can”, which I took to mean he wasn’t gifted in atheletics. She added that this team is better than Johnny Griffeth’s teams, which we know was really bad football. About penalties, “they don’t know the rules of football or how to avoid penalties”. The players lack DISCIPLINE was a big point Finally, before she changed the subject, she said Richt is not your typical coach in his actions. There you have it fans, straight from a UGA grad and band member.