The Chemistry of Calisthenics

ATHENS - An old dog can teach new tricks - is that the old saying?

Mark Richt’s Georgia team, which was down a touchdown coming out of the locker room at the half in Jacksonville, didn’t quite perform the way he wanted it to.

Florida, a desperate team that had done nearly nothing on offense in the first quarter and scored one of its two touchdowns on a special teams play, got the ball back and marched the field to put Georgia down 21-7.

Richt realized too late that day, but knew that he would have to change the nature of his team coming out of the locker room. I was on the sideline that day (as I always am) and saw the look of determination of the Bulldogs before the kick of the second half.

They had a determined look. But body wasn’t with the mind - and the Gators’ upset win was complete about a half hour later. Only midway through the third quarter, down 24-7, did Georgia finally wake up.

It was too late.

So Richt acted and changed his team’s physical requirements coming out of the locker room. Instead of jogging to the sideline and doing individual running in place, Georgia would now form as a team and take the field for team calisthenics.

The next week in Lexington, strength and conditioning whistles tweeted in the air as the Dawgs formed lines and ran around in order. Georgia’s defense, again, would take the field first. This time they were protecting a lead, but a lead that had shrunk going into the half.

First defensive play: turnover. Next defensive series: three and out with a punt return for a touchdown.

Game over.

Against Auburn, and clinging to a ten-point lead, Georgia took the field and the kick, but moved the ball to midfield before punting.

The Tigers grabbed the ball - again Georgia’s defense forced a three-and-out. Georgia scored on the following possession. Down 24-7, Auburn secured two first downs before being confronted with a 4th and 8 from the Georgia 43-yard line.

After Nick Marshall’s pass fell incomplete to C.J. Uzomah Georgia took the ball and added another field goal.

In all, Georgia’s last two third quarters have resulted in as many Georgia scores (5) as opponent first downs (5).

Amazing. Calisthenics do work as it turns out.

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