Oliver showing the way for secondary

ATHENS – Georgia's Paul Oliver surely must lead the nation in preseason interceptions.

Barely a day goes by that Coach Mark Richt doesn't mention an Oliver pick, which often is accompanied by a defensive touchdown.

"That's kind of getting to be a broken record," Richt said.

Most of the Bulldogs' defensive backs, in fact, have shown a knack for making plays.

"It is a more athletic group," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "That shows when the ball is in the air because they're very hungry and they want the ball."

That's only half the story, though, Martinez said. There's also a downside.

"It's nice that we're doing that, but at the same time we've given up some big plays, by the same guys who are catching the ball," he said.

Often the hardest thing for an athletic young defensive back to learn is when to take chances on big plays, and, just as importantly, when not to, Martinez said.

"They've been getting away with it maybe in high school, but when you're dealing with better quarterbacks and the wide receivers they're going against, it just compounds the problems," he said. "They don't understand the severity of it when it does happen."


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