The No. 7 Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) beat Louisiana-Monroe 44-7 in a game that was sloppy enough that their good-natured head coach was admittedly a little “bent out of shape.” His mood improved when he watched film from the game, he said Sunday.
“I was doing my coaches show last night, and I realized we only had punted one time,” he said. “I was like, ‘We only punted once? Well, gosh we might have done a couple things good. It really wasn’t all that bad. We averaged over 10 yards a play.”
Defensively, Georgia players missed only three tackles, and the Bulldogs’ kickoff coverage was “as good as it’s been,” Richt said.
“Overall,” he said, “it was a lot better performance than I probably felt when the game ended.”
Georgia takes the field again Saturday when it faces Mississippi State (2-1, 0-1 SEC) at 9 p.m. ET in Starkville, Miss. The game will be televised by ESPN2. Mississippi State beat Tulane 21-14 on Saturday.
Even Georgia’s penalties against Louisiana-Monroe didn’t look so bad on tape. Richt guessed after the game that most of his team’s infractions came from aggressive play and not laziness or bad technique and the film verified that, he said, particularly when it came to holding and blocking in the back penalties.
“Their effort and attitude toward getting their job done was great, but when it gets to the point where you can’t get in position to make a legal block, you have to back off,” Richt said.
The Bulldogs had gains of 13, 28 and 7 yards (and a first down) negated in the first half alone. It made for a tense halftime in the offensive line meeting with assistant coach Neil Callaway, center Russ Tanner said.
“It wasn’t like chairs being thrown or anything like that, but there definitely was a tone in his voice,” Tanner said.
Georgia was flagged 11 times for 99 yards Saturday and has committed more penalties this year (28 for 254 yards) than any SEC team.
Last year, the Bulldogs finished with the second-most penalty yardage in the league, and Richt is beginning to wonder what it’s going to take to get his players to learn their lesson. The Bulldogs have always made players perform extra running on Mondays for their Saturday penalties and also perform extra physical training for most practice penalties. “I guess you can run them to death,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to bother them. We may have to double it up or just start taking playing time away if these guys don’t do a good job of cleaning this up.”