Defense Holds Players Only Meeting

ATHENS – Once can be an aberration, Darryl Gamble said. Twice can be a fluke. But when the defense allows 38 points or more in three straight games, there's a problem that needs to be fixed.

Georgia's defensive leaders held a players-only meeting Monday to discuss those problems, and the result, Corvey Irvin said, is a new mentality for this week's game.

"We really weren't having fun out there (last) weekend," Irvin said. "That's why we're going to set everything else aside – all the BCS and all the other stuff – and we're just going to play football this week. Georgia's main goal is to just get our swagger back and have fun. We've got to punish, man. We've got to punish. That's it."

In the past three games, Georgia's opponents have averaged more than 41 points per game and more than 190 yards rushing per game. While Irvin credits a good game plan by the opposition, the majority of the blame falls on the Bulldogs.

"Injuries, lack of leadership, the defense is just not motivated," Irvin said. "But like I said, we'll have a whole different swagger this week."

Gamble said Irvin and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Rennie Curran spoke with passion about the defense's need to step up for the remainder of the season to send the seniors out on a high note. It was a lecture Gamble said had been a long time coming.

"It's just not the same as in the past," Gamble said. "Guys aren't as vocal as they've been in the past. Guys like (former Georgia safety) Kelin (Johnson), he'll say something, and it will just stick with you. I think these guys are more about example rather than more vocal."

That won't happen this week, Curran said, and the new attitude needs to start in practice. Last week against Kentucky, Curran said the Bulldogs missed too many assignments, something he attributes to poor practice habits.

"We need to practice everything like it's in the game, really," Curran said. "It's something we've been not doing too well."

Once the game starts, he said, the most important thing the Bulldogs can do is pay attention to the little things and make sure they are handling their assignments. While fans have jumped on defensive coordinator Willie Martinez for Georgia's shortcomings the past three weeks, Curran said the problem hasn't been the game plan – it's the execution.

"(Martinez) can call the best defense out there, he can change everything around and put us in the best position," Curran said, "but if we're not running to the ball and playing assignment football, it's not going to make any difference."

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