October 30, 2010

Defense scuffles with up-tempo scheme

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Back during Tuesday's weekly press conference, Georgia coach Mark Richt expressed concerned regarding some of the offensive modifications Florida's Urban Meyer hinted he planned to break out Saturday against the Bulldogs.

Turns out Richt had every right to be worried.

Not that the Bulldogs weren't surprised to see Trey Burton played a key role at quarterback, but it's pace the Gators used the freshman and junior John Brantley that caused all sorts of issues, particularly in the first half of the 34-31 overtime loss.

"They were going with the no-huddle pace and a pretty quick pace. That was a plan when they had someone else in there other than No. 12 (Brantley). What they were doing early on was starting out with maybe No. 8 (Burton) in the backfield and we had to check for that," Richt said. "Then they would have (Brantley) jump in there and play quarterback shifting back into there, so we had to make sure we were ready to go back to the original call. Once we got a hang of what they were doing, we were able to make the right calls at the right time. It took us a little while to figure that one out."

Unfortunately, the final numbers were still ugly.

Florida gobbled up 450 yards, including 231 on the ground. The Bulldogs came in as the league's top team against the run, giving up a tick under 100 yards per games. That average went up considerably after Saturday.

Burton was responsible for 110 of that total on just 17 attempts, including a 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

"Anytime you a run a quarterback, it's 11 on 11 and anytime somebody gets out of their gap, there's no depth in the defense so all of a sudden those 3-4 yarders become a 50-yarder," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "But we kept fighting, grinding and chipping away so I was proud of the effort."

Unfortunately, the results were not there.

After forcing nine turnovers in their previous three games, the Bulldogs only caused one against the Gators while the offense lost the ball four times, including three interceptions by quarterback Aaron Murray.

"We've got to do a better job of that," linebacker Justin Houston said. "We've got to force turnovers and today we didn't do that."

One week after winning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, the Gators kept Houston in check, holding him to just three tackles and one-half of a sack.

Bacarri Rambo led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles, followed by Akeem Dent with 13.

"We're by no means where we want to be," Grantham said. "We're a work in progress, but if you look we have made improvements. Guys do play fast, but I think as we learn football, as we learn the system and as we learn what it means for a guy to be in this spot, I think as they learn that and it comes second nature, you'll see us start to be consistent for 60 minutes."

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