Holding on to the Ball?

ATHENS – In many ways, Georgia and LSU have had similar seasons.

Both teams rank near the bottom of the conference in rushing yards, have seen highly regarded offensive lines struggle and have failed to get a consistent pass rush.

But if there's one statistic that starkly contrasts the Tigers and Bulldogs, it's the turnover margin.

Through four games, LSU leads the SEC with a plus-seven turnover margin, while Georgia is among the worst teams in the nation with a minus-nine.

While that's a concern for head coach Mark Richt, he said the past doesn't have to be prologue to what happens Satuday.

"Turnover ratios are important, but what's happened in the past I don't think is very important at all," Richt said. "I'm more concerned about the turnover ratio Saturday than I am what we've had to this point, so hopefully we'll get that thing turned around and be in a whole lot better shape."

To ensure that happens, Georgia's coaching staff has taken a more disciplinarian approach to preventing turnovers during practice this week, but that's not always a solution.

"We work on that every day at practice," wide receiver A.J. Green said. "I don't know what's the problem. It's not like we're not trying, but it's just happened."

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the team actually enhanced its discipline for fumbles and interceptions during practice last week, making the entire team do calisthenics when one person coughed up the football. The result was yet another three-turnover game.

"This week we (did) a little more ball security at practice," Bobo said. "But at the same time, I don't want to talk about it to the team every day. We want to practice it to where they're consciously doing it in practice. It's like telling somebody after they drop a ball, ‘Hey, catch it.' Well, why did they drop it? You've got to coach it up."

Linebacker Rennie Curran hopes the increased focus on protecting the football works because with No. 4 LSU coming to town Saturday, the Bulldogs can't afford to give away offensive drives and set the Tigers up with easy scores.

"When we play a team like LSU, we have to have a perfect game," Curran said. "We can't give them any room to breathe. We have to get ready to play our best game of football. We have to put all the mistakes we made behind us, get ready to have a great game and put it all together."


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