So Georgia’s players have dealt with the consequences of their excessive penalties – more than 10 per game so far – this week as Richt and the other coaches have made a point of drilling home the significance of so many flags on the field.
“There’s a greater awareness of how damaging they’ve been, and they’ve got to do something about it,” Richt said.
The flags had a significant impact on the Bulldogs’ loss to Alabama when an early fumble recovery was overturned because of a roughing-the-passer flag and the Crimson Tide gained 25 yards of field position via Georgia penalties on another first-half drive.
“We’re killing ourselves with some of this (stuff),” defensive end Jeremy Lomax said. “We put at least 21 points on the board last (game) with penalties, and that’s ridiculous.”
The solution, Richt said, is group discipline.
Richt said he didn’t want to discuss specifics, but a limit is in place on the number of penalties Georgia can be called for before the entire team suffers the consequences.
“Instead of it being one guy that pays the price, the whole team pays the price, which tends to provide a little peer pressure,” Richt said.
Of course, Richt is taking plenty of the blame for the high number of flags himself.
“Before I was a little reluctant to make such a strong point, I was concerned about some aggressive play and all that kind of thing,” Richt said, “but my strategy and my thoughts were wrong. The penalties have not slowed down and have cost us. I did a poor job on the front end of this.”