Crowd noise and the offensive line: whatever happened to just deal with it?

I confess:  this I do not get.

Playing at home, coaches and players say, will help the line.

Georgia was forced to rely on a silent cadence against Clemson’s home crowd, which played into the pass protection problems some. Clemson racked up four sacks and forced a fumble.

Quarterback Aaron Murray said David Andrews even had trouble hearing him when he was behind center, but he wasn’t blaming it all on crowd noise.

“We made mistakes and we can’t make those kind of mistakes in big-time games and expect to win them,” Murray said.

Has something changed about the art of pass protection that I missed?  Georgia’s played in front of plenty of hostile, noisy crowds during Richt’s tenure, so why are we now hearing about the problems the line is having with silent cadence?  (Remember that was blamed for some of the line’s woes in last year’s South Carolina debacle, too.)

This one’s a coaching issue.  Somebody needs to figure out a fix to this in the next month.

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68 Comments

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68 responses to “Crowd noise and the offensive line: whatever happened to just deal with it?

  1. sUGArdaddy

    More teams are having trouble with it now because almost all teams go to the line, then look over to the sideline and listen for checks. This has helped offense become more proficient, but it’s created a problem in noisy stadiums.

    Of course, it’s fixable, and I’m sure we were prepared. However, all it takes is 2-3 miscommunications over the course about 33 pass attempts and you’ve got issues. And that can happen no matter your system.

    • TennesseeDawg

      Which I don’t understand. We have a 5th year senior at QB. Why can’t he make the checks at the line instead of waiting for the coaches at least in noisy road games

      • D Basham

        I’m kinda amazed that a 5th year Sr. either does not know the offense well enough or doesn’t have the coaches’ confidence to make his own audibles. I am pretty sure Greene did as a Sr. and Stafford did as a Jr. Heck, it seemed like Stafford would call an audible on most of the Dawgs’ plays in ’08.

        • sUGArdaddy

          It was a tactical decision. Murray actually made more checks his freshman season. He still does, but we simply had to do what the rest of college football does. It has nothing to do with Murray. He’s one of the brightest in the game, and we ask him to do more than most colleges do.

          The way the game is played now, everyone has the coaches. It’s not looking to the sideline, it’s the fact that the coaches in the box can see things that no one on the field can see. The sideline is signaling what the guys in the box see will work. We were one of the last to go. Us and Stanford were the dinosaurs, but we still ask QBs to make a lot of checks. Tebow couldn’t make a check to save his life back in the Meyer days. They did all the thinking for the QBs.

  2. I submit we will not play in front of any disruptive crowds the remainder of this season. TN fans are whooped and will not be very loud and the Nerds don’t put enough butts in the seats.. The most disruptive crowd for the remainder of this season will be the home crowd booing when Clowney gets a sack or Murray throws an INT..

  3. CrawforDawg

    Oh yeah, it’s fixable. How? Take the crowd out of the picture…possibly by tackling on defense and calling a play to score on offense rather than calling a play that caters to the”balance” sheet.

  4. Hobnail_Boot

    I can tell you that Memorial Stadium was extremely loud, and that their band/fans/PA system kept it loud up to each UGA snap.

    With the notable exception of LSU, I’ve been to all of the major SEC stadiums and Clemson more than held their own on this department.

  5. I was late coming to work because the cars were noisy in the highway.

  6. Krautdawg

    I had similar thoughts when I read the post-Clemson quotes. What happened between 2002 and 2013 to make visitors’ stadiums so difficult for an OL?

    Also, what was the difference between the first 4 drives and the ensuing sackfest? I understand Venables brought different pressures, but does “using a silent count” mean “our OL didn’t know whom to block?”

    • @gatriguy

      We used to have a defense that snuffed out the other team’s crowd. Back then we had an overall philosophy to make the game ugly as possible, win on defense and special teams, and it we could get to 20 points, we’d win. Those days are long, long gone.

  7. Merk

    I understand a few false starts here or there cause it is super loud, but saying that well our guys just could not handle the noise is crap. If that is the case, then Richt needs to tell Friend to fix it or get out of town. Pretty sure we could bring in a decent OL coach from somewhere.

  8. cube

    Can we also blame this on Malcolm Mitchell’s injury, Brent Venables’ calls, and our drug/alcohol discipline policies? Maybe Rodney Garner too?

    This program may have more excuse makers from top to bottom than any in the country. That includes board members, presidents, administrators, coaches, players, and fans.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Blame anything but Grantham…he’s from the NFL.
      That’s right, the N….F….L.

    • Bulldog Joe

      Bob Knight’s “The Power of Negative Thinking” would be good reading for this staff.

      Regardless of what you think of Mr. Knight as a person, he advocates addressing your own weaknesses first, and then moving forth with an achievable plan to exploit the opponent based on your strengths.

      In the last two meetings with South Carolina, our offense and special teams surrendered four touchdowns. They surrendered none.

      It is apparent we to skip the first step and go straight to the second step in preparing for big games.

      That is huge mistake.

    • Minnesota Dawg

      My thinking as well. “If it weren’t for ________, we’d have won by double-digits” is so very, very tired.”

  9. Matt B.

    I’d love a post about how dominant we were on the road through 2005, and then how the wheels came off on our stellar road performance. Was it simply a case of “so goes the defense, so goes the road-game warriors”?

    • +1 – when we had a defense that could shut teams down especially on the road, you take the energy out of the crowd. Defense comes in and gets a 3-and-out. Offense comes in and surgically takes apart a defense for a score. Rinse and repeat. That’s exactly what Alabama did to us in 2008 in that horrific 1st half.

  10. Gravidy

    Soo,,, last week I read a story about how the crowd noise forcing a silent snap cadence would be helpful to the offensive line because the defense wouldn’t be able to learn/anticipate the snap counts. This week we are being told it was a detriment.

  11. Scorpio Jones, III

    If this was the fifth or sixth time these guys had played together, the crowd would not have been as much of a problem, but the first time out…I know folks who played on the offensive line in college…in the SEC…the only thing they all agree on is that offensive line play is the most complex equation in the playbook. Even Bama’s offensive line made mistakes…at home.

    • cube

      And if this was the first or second or third time recently that we’ve had major issues on the o-line, I think people would be more willing to give a pass. But it’s not. Not even close. This has been a consistent theme for years and years.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I am not saying anything about a pass…what I am saying is that consistent offensive line play is the most difficult part of football…there is no way to simulate a hostile environment in practice…none. And, despite that, we could have won the game. If we had opened with Buffalo, none of this would have been apparent. Until this week.

    • Merk

      bama was in the dome, not home

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Judging from the colors of the crowd it was a home game for Bama, thus the crowd not really a factor, but yes, you are right, Bama played VT in the dome.

  12. I Wanna Red Cup

    Any of you READ the whole article ? The writer said the silent count contributed to SOME of the line issues. Certainly was not an excuse given for missed blocks. Later AM is quoted as saying we made mistakes and need to correct it. Those are not excuses. My god what a bunch of whining ignorant pussies our fans are. Lose one game, we have to fire the coach, the president, the AD, and change QBs.

  13. fetch

    Maybe it’s because we don’t play many big-time games in hostile environs anymore. Most of our SEC away games the past few years have been agaisnt second tier teams and we managed to take the crowd out of it fairly quickly. They keep telling us we always avoid the big teams from the west, and the big teams in the east are UF (neutral site) and SC (ugh!).

  14. Bright Idea

    When your left guard taps the center when Murray is ready and the play clock is down to :03 you can bet the DLine knows when to tee off, home or away.

  15. Ubiquitous Ga Alum

    We need to change our silent count when in the shotgun because it’s the exact same thing every time … guards looks back at QB who gives a signal then guard taps center on the leg who then snaps … need to mix it up.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      It looked like the Clemson DEs were getting the jump on the Georgia tackles and that probably did come from having figured out the silent count. I heard an analyst say the same thing about the UGA-Clemson game and why he thought the O-line played badly.

  16. dawg

    I was in Deaf Valley the other night. All I can say to the “DAWGS” who are in Sanford Stadium this weekend, YELL UNTIL YOU ARE HOARSE! IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

  17. dawg

    Deaf Valley makes Sanford Stadium sound like a church service.

  18. Bulldog Joe

    As an offensive lineman, you need to know not only your responsibility, but the responsibility of the guy(s) next to you on each play.

    We interchange our guys on every series, especially our guards and tackles.

    If in each series, you and the guy next to you are playing a different position, you have to rethink these responsibilities and too often the snap count takes a back seat.

    This is why we get so many delay of game penalties, holding penalties, and whiffs in blocking the wrong guy.

    With our depth this year, there is no excuse for us to keep doing this.

  19. pantslesspatdye

    I’m curious about the pshychadelic, flashing scoreboard in Murray’s front that ABC cut to briefly during the game. I’ve been to a lot of games and I’ve not seen this before – is this new or unique to Clemson? We lost the game and theres no excuse, but this seemed crazy and I was wondering if anyone had any background on this practice.

  20. Ginny

    I was at Death Valley, and minus the Blackout game that was easily the loudest and most electric football game I’ve been to. I would love for Sanford to be that intimidating to opposing teams, but sadly it is not and that is at least partly on our fans. We need to do better. It does make a difference.

      • Atlas Shrugged

        Having played on the OL in the ’80′s for Coach Dooley there is no excuse for the OL struggling w/ communication & being able to get off on-time. We played at Clemson, SC, Aub, … etc & you learn to deal w/ the noise as well as to focus on only the voices of your fellow OL & the QB. Just like a parent can always hear their child, a lineman can always hear his QB. But even if the QB’s cadence is faint, you can use your peripheral vision to see ball movement just like the DL is taught to do. It’s a pretty simple skill to master.

        To use one of Coach Dooley’s sayings, “Proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance.”

  21. Skeeter

    Also, the neck of the new uniforms was itchy.

  22. mg4life0331

    When Stafford was the QB, I don’t remember anything other than the line just sucking every once in a while. Never was an excuse of “We couldn’t hear” or any of that nonsense. We had Inman, but damn it wasn’t cause he couldn’t hear.I don’t remember this crap when Shockley or Greene were around either.

    Speak up Murray.

  23. Slaw Dawg

    So that’s it, it was the crappy “O Line couldn’t hear” excuse. Jesse Palmer says it’s Aaron Murray’s fault for leaving a couple hundred passing yards on the field. Some have, surprisingly, blamed Bobo for running it up the middle over and over and over and over and… Then there’s the fact that the secondary sucks and we can’t stop the run. Of course, the turnovers and drive killing penalties probably really did it, we all know the penalties have been a problem ever since Saint Mark came to campus. Then again, the kicking game let us down as expected. Apparently, Coach Grantham is as big an idiot as Coach Willie, except that where the latter couldn’t draw up a wheel route defense to save his life, the former has no freakin idea how to stop the run, no matter how large a NG he uses.

    Lousy, dumb Oline. Incompetent QB. Epically suckituded Defense. Special teams from Hell. Unbelievably boneheaded coaching.

    Damn! No wonder this program has been in the basement so long!

  24. IveyLeaguer

    ["Has something changed about the art of pass protection that I missed? "]

    No, Senator, the noise thing is an excuse. Nothing more.

    Another thing that bothers me is we were obviously not in good condition. Apparently, being in condition to play 60 minutes in hot, humid conditions is too much to expect anymore. At least for Georgia.

    I wrote last week how worried I was that there’d been no mention, anywhere, of us taking extra conditioning during camp to offset the cool weather conditions. Looks like we didn’t.

    Bobo admitted that the OL got tired and essentially wimped out the entire middle section of the game. And that began at a time when we had the momentum AND the lead (21-14). Put together a drive or two there, and we have a different game. Instead, we kill 6 consecutive drives with mistakes.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take the learn the lesson, but we’re never going to achieve our goals being soft. That NEVER works in this League, and it NEVER HAS.
    ~~~

  25. WarD Eagle

    I want to be sure someone blames Stacy Searels.

  26. 69Dawg

    I am out of blame. We just have not been prepared for early season tough openers lately. If the AD truly wants us to win the East every year ala UF he needs to set us up with one or two cupcakes at home every year for the first 2 games.. This would require that the SEC moved the USC game. This may not matter since as game 6 last year they beat our butts but at least the fans would have a 2-0 start rather than a 0-2 start and the euphoria would last a while before reality raised its ugly head.