Here’s what he told USA Today about that:
“Penalties and special teams would concern me because I think that’s always your fear in the first game is, I don’t mean undisciplined penalties, but just poor decisions and dumb timing efficiency penalties, you know getting in and out of the huddle, jumping offside, that kind of thing. And then the special teams is something every coach is concerned about in these games because you haven’t been able to simulate the live situations. There’s such great contact on those. So those are the two things that would concern me.
“But as far as what’s going to fire me up, the flipside of that is great special teams play, great effort, but also then defensive players running to the ball, getting lined up quick, and offensive players blocking on the perimeter and covering down and keeping people off our skill players. Effort-type stuff is what I’m looking for. I mean, I know we’re going to have some screw-ups, but I’m looking for the effort and toughness that we want to create here.”
He hasn’t said much about special teams in his first offseason, so it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see that as a major concern — not that I’m complaining. It’s an area that most of us have had the feeling, at least as an on-again, off-again basis, never had quite the sense of urgency and sensible approach (remember Fabris and his challenge?) from the coaching staff that it had at other schools. Knock yourself out, Shane Beamer.
I think what he’s really saying there is that if the players give the kind of effort and toughness he’s looking for, the coaches will take care of keeping the screw-ups to a minimum. That’s why we keep reading about all these little details being address in preseason practices, like this one.
The play ends and Georgia’s defense huddles quickly. They break and run to the new line of scrimmage as quick as they can.
The coaches have a timer in hand to record how long it takes for the defense to line back up. It’s all designed to ensure Georgia can quickly recover and defend a potent offense that’s known to score points in bunch.
That’s been one of the drills the Bulldogs have been doing to prepare for North Carolina’s uptempo attack.
The Tar Heels do like to operate their offense at a fast pace but can go in and out of various tempos. But due to their ability to rush down the field when plays are connecting, Georgia knows it has to be sound defensively while getting each of the calls in correctly.
“It’s a hurry-up offense,” junior safety Dominick Sanders said. “We’re going to be sound. Energy-wise, we gotta be hyped up and ready to get back to the ball. If anything happens, get up, get back to the huddle, get the play call and keep going. It’s a fast team, a fast-ball team.”
I know the fan base is going to be looking first and foremost at Georgia’s backfield Saturday night, but it’s going to be very interesting to watch whether this attention to detail pays off. It’s just as important as who lines up under center.