“I think you’ve got to harp on ball security every single day.”

You may be surprised to hear this, but for the second straight week Georgia faces a conference opponent ranked lower in all major team offensive and defensive categories, i.e., scoring, total, passing and rushing.

One place where Auburn clearly has the upper hand, though, is turnover margin.  At plus-5, the Tigers are third in the SEC.  Georgia is eleventh, at minus-2.  Most of the difference isn’t on the defensive side, it’s by the offenses, where Auburn has turned the ball over ten times, compared to Georgia’s sixteen.  Considering what a pick machine Jeremy Johnson was before being benched, that difference is even more pronounced over the past few games, as Auburn has only turned the ball over once in its last five games while Georgia has lost thirteen over its.

So it should be no surprise to hear this.

Ball security is being emphasized heavily this week after Georgia had three fumbles Saturday against Kentucky, losing two of them.

“Guys that hold that ball have to hold it like their life depends on it,” coach Mark Richt said on his radio call-in show Monday night.

Georgia has eight lost fumbles in nine games, which ranks 12th in the SEC and 88th nationally. The Bulldogs had seven lost fumbles in all of last season in 13 games.

18 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

18 responses to ““I think you’ve got to harp on ball security every single day.”

  1. Russ

    Man, I’d hate to lose a game because of a turnover, but that’s why they are key. If we’re even or win the TO margin in this game, we will win.

    Both teams have a fragile psyche, so avoiding mistakes while forcing mistakes on Auburn will be key. The defense seemed to have Auburn figured out last year. Hopefully those lessons still apply.

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  2. Derek

    “Gentlemen, it is better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.”

    John Heisman

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  3. Those TO numbers are staggering. Yeesh. We’ve had sooooo many fumbles this year.

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  4. Side note (and shameless plug) I did a Q&A with an Auburn beat guy asking him about Auburn’s resurgence and what the vibe is around the program after a dismal year.

    https://theeruditefan.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/auburn-insider-predicts-big-win-for-tigers-over-georgia-and-hates-on-future/

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  5. Will (The Other One)

    I also remain more than a little concerned about Auburn’s return averages (which are quite good).

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  6. Spoke

    agree. only major difference between Gators & us is turnover margin.

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  7. Macallanlover

    Steele had a section in his magazine about teams that performed well the year before with a plus double digit turnover margin crashing and burning the next because a falloff is almost inevitable (77% had the same, or worse, record the next year going back to 1991). UGA was fourth in the nation last year in turnover margin at +16. You certainly cannot blame our 2015 performance exclusively on turnovers but I can think of a couple of huge ones that started a big change in momentum. And we seem to get very few TOs when we could really use one to slow/stop the bleeding. Sometimes it is the bounce of the ball, other times just focus.

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  8. W Cobb Dawg

    I imagine we’ve probably run far fewer plays and had significantly lower time of possession than last year too. So the D can’t be as aggressive as they otherwise might be.

    By jingo, somethings got to be dome about that offense during the off season! STs too!

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  9. Sh3rl0ck

    The sad thing is that most of those fumbles are from holding the ball improperly. High and tight, fellas; not away from your body in one hand. I know for a fact that they teach the guys how to carry the ball properly in spring and fall camp. Multiple players regressing to holding the ball like Michael Vick is a coaching failure.

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    • Keep in mind that two of last week’s fumbles came from guys playing with busted hands.

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    • Brandon

      Do you really blame the coaches for not taking time out of practice to teach all the safeties how to correctly carry the football? This stuff is taught in grade school. Anybody playing at this level knows how to carry a football. Same with everyone who jumped on the coaches for the miracle at JH in 2013. Apparently they should be practicing batting footballs down every day too. Sometimes it takes a little common sense and execution from the player, they are human, not robots controlled at all times by the coaches

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      • Macallanlover

        Interestingly he states he knows the coaches teach them that (they do), then later says it is a coaching failure. Kind of like it was a coaching failure when Davis dropped the TD pass against TN, or muffed the punt against FU (after backing up five yards from the 10 to attempt the punt catch!). The staff cannot implement for them folks.

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        • Sh3rl0ck

          You play like you practice. For Sanders INT return, that can be an isolated incident. For the skill guys, it is a coach failure. There is no way that Godwin, Davis, and iMac are all carrying the ball properly during practice and then get loosey-goosey with the ball during the game. The players about whom I am complaining are all WRs. BMac has failed to correct this problem in practice. For all I know, he has bigger problems to fix. Again, I am not talking about an isolated incident. This has been going on all season.

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      • Sh3rl0ck

        I am not talking about an isolated play. I am talking about a trend amongst several players, especially Reggie Davis, iMac, and Godwin. They routinely carry the ball improperly. The team is ranked 115th in fumbles with 19. Luckily, they have only lost 8 of them. This isn’t just a regression to (or beyond) the mean. This is poor fundamentals.

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        • Spoke

          I think the defense is working on tackling, and not trying to strip it every time and miss tackles. Sort of pick your poison, less forced fumbles or less missed tackles?

          Alabama doesn’t try to force fumbles, they rarely lead the conference in forced fumbles or interceptions. They don’t take too many risks on defense, they tackle.

          Where Bama was great is they used to not turn the ball over on offense when they were run heavy (08′ to 13′ finished in the top 3 in least conference turnovers every time).

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  10. shane#1

    The fumble after the int was bad. If you see three defenders closing in get down. You are a DB, not Nick Chub. That’s like a point guard trying to dribble between two defenders. Almost a guaranteed turnover. I saw Jacob Eason in a HS game a couple of weeks ago, when he runs he tucks the ball high and tight. He also made some throws that I don’t think any of our current QBs can make. I know it was just a HS game, but DAMN, he LOOKS like a QB.

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