ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia football coach Mark Richt doesn't believe it's a lack of energy hurting his Bulldogs at the start of Southeastern Conference games but an inability to adjust.
The Bulldogs allowed touchdowns on their first defensive series against South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State. They trailed wire-to-wire in losses at South Carolina (17-6) and MSU (24-12) and managed to pull even twice with the Razorbacks, once in the first quarter and again late, before falling 31-24.
"Any time you play a team, they're going to do something new, and whatever is new, they're going to give it to you in the first series of the game," Richt said Tuesday. "You can prepare for everything that you've seen on film, but the bottom line is that you're probably going to see something that you haven't seen that needs to be adjusted to. When you see something new that first series, you hope you adjust well to it, and we just haven't been able to."
Georgia's offense has scored four touchdowns the past three weeks, which is tied for the fewest with Vanderbilt among SEC teams, but the Commodores didn't play last week.
"I feel like we just need to execute," senior receiver Kris Durham said. "We've moved the ball up and down the field, but we're not able to execute in the red zone. That has nothing to do with play-calling. That's about players needing to take a look at themselves, dig down deep and focus on that."
The defense under first-year coordinator Todd Grantham has suffered from busted coverages and missed tackles. The Bulldogs rank next-to-last in the SEC with five forced turnovers and are tied for last in third-down conversions allowed (41.8 percent).
"I feel like with us that it's not just one issue," inside linebacker Christian Robinson said. "It's a theme, and I think the theme is execution and discipline. I'm practically quoting Coach Grantham."
The senior citizen
Of the 12 players from the 2006 signing class still playing for the Bulldogs, Durham is the only one who competed in the '06 win over Colorado at Sanford Stadium. The former Calhoun star made his second career start that game, when the Bulldogs rallied from a 13-0 deficit to win 14-13.
"I think I'm the only one who had played against Mississippi State," Durham said. "I know I'm the only person who has played against Virginia Tech, so I feel like I'm the old man."
The 6-foot-5 Durham, who ranks third in the SEC behind South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery (124.5) and Arkansas' Joe Adams (97.2) with 81 receiving yards per game, suffered a pinched nerve in his neck during the fourth quarter in Starkville. He said he will be fine for this week's game and practiced Tuesday in a green jersey.
Odds and ends
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said after Tuesday's practice that Caleb King or Carlton Thomas would start at tailback Saturday and that Washaun Ealey would get reduced playing time because of fumbling issues. ... Richt is 33-8 in opponents' stadiums as Georgia's coach, but he is 3-4 in his last seven. ... Georgia is the second SEC team to visit Folsom Field and the first since 1979, when LSU went to Boulder and won 44-0. ... Colorado will be honoring its 1990 national championship team at halftime.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.