Yellow laundry a problem for Dawgs

ATHENS – The single game record for yards penalized for Georgia came against Georgia Tech in 2001 when the Bulldogs were flagged for 134 yards. On Saturday, Georgia was penalized 13 times for 120 yards, only 14 yards shy of the school record.

"I am concerned," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. Against LSU, the Bulldogs were not penalized. It was the first time in some years the Bulldogs had gone unnoticed by the zebras.

But lately it has been a different story. The Bulldogs have been flagged early and often in their last two games. Saturday two personal foul calls on third down extended Vanderbilt drives. A week ago what looked like a long kickoff return from Bryan McClendon was wiped out when Leonard Pope was flagged for holding.

Penalties on kickoff returns have been particularly difficult for Richt to handle.

"They are not getting into position. Because they are out of position they don't want their man to make the play. That makes them try to get a little piece of them to make sure the return man does not get hit by their guy. A lot of times it's just a little bump, but if you bump from behind it's a penalty," Richt said.

Richt said he thought last week's call against Pope was incorrect, however. Still, Richt said during half time of the Bulldogs' contest with Vanderbilt, he begged the return team not to commit an infraction.

"I pleaded with the kickoff return at halftime to just run one play without a penalty. I don't care if we get the ball at the 12, just as long as we don't go half the distance to the goal line," said Richt.

Penalties are a problem Richt's teams have had since he arrived in Athens. 2003, 2002, and 2001 his squads rank first, second, and third in most yards penalized in school history. This year's club is on pace for 742 yards penalized, which would put them fourth worst all time in school history.

"They are difficult to deal with," said defensive tackle Gerald Anderson said of the penalties Georgia has racked up in the last few games. "It's even worse when they come on third downs when we stop them."

"It happened to me. We had a third down stop and they called roughing the passer on me. That's tough because they get a first down and another chance to score," said Anderson.

Georgia's offense was flagged six times for various holding calls. Tyson Browning, Ken Shackleford, A.J. Bryant, Des Williams, Jeremy Thomas, and Chester Adams were all flagged ten yards for their fouls.

"I have been looking at them and we have to be more disciplined with our hands. If your hands get outside the framework of the defender's body then you are going to get called for holding. We haven't had that many blatant grab and tackle to the ground kind of stuff, but as we are setting up the defenders, and doing a nice job of getting good hat placement, but when you get your hands outside – even just for a moment – you run the risk of getting that holding call," Richt said.

In their last two game Georgia has been flagged 25 times for 202 yards.

"I'm not real thrilled about the penalties he have had," said Richt. "For the last two games we have had too many. We've had opportunities to stop drives and have allowed their offense to continue to drive the ball because we are not taking advantage of how good we are playing because of penalties."

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