The protection from the offensive line and the tackling on defense are two of the biggest concerns to come out of Georgia‚Äôs 38-35 loss to Clemson on Saturday night.
We‚Äôve addressed them in stories already this week, but here are two factors to consider that we didn‚Äôt touch on much.
Playing at home, coaches and players say, will help the line.
Georgia was forced to rely on a silent cadence against Clemson‚Äôs 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‚Äôt blaming it all on crowd noise.
‚ÄúWe made mistakes and we can‚Äôt make those kind of mistakes in big-time games and expect to win them,‚Äù Murray said.
On the tackling, the injuries at safety in the preseason left Georgia‚Äôs hands tied some to a certain extent.
‚ÄúIt was kind of tough to get better when guys weren‚Äôt practicing,‚Äù coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúWe have a lot of healthy bodies right now and I think it‚Äôs going to help us practice with some physicality.‚Äù
Safety Connor Norman said the team went ‚Äúlive‚Äù during the camp portion of the preseason and after but that‚Äôs just practice.
‚ÄúGames are obviously different than practice,‚Äù Norman said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs something we‚Äôve really got to improve.‚Äù
Richt said Georgia didn‚Äôt want to risk further injury at safety to a beat-up bunch and the fact that Josh Harvey-Clemons was already out with his one-game suspension also hurt the depth.
So Georgia backed off some in the week before Clemson because of injuries.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs concerning when you see people score a touchdown off of a play that ought to be a 10-yard gain,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs a problem obviously. Believe me, Clemson missed a bunch of tackles, too, but they won the game so nobody‚Äôs talking about it.‚Äù
He hopes having junior Corey Moore and sophomore Harvey-Clemons at safety against South Carolina ‚Äúwill equate into better tackling.‚Äù
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