Charles Wants the Penalties Gone

ATHENS – There was no epiphany – Orson Charles always knew.

The Tampa native and starting tight end for the Bulldogs knew the Dawgs were shooting themselves in the foot last fall.

"Pretty much all of the game we beat ourselves last year," Charles said. "We did not get beat by a team physically. We actually helped them beat us. It was frustrating. Some seniors stepped up and said we were not having that this year."

So the work started for Charles and the team – the goal was to work in the summer and pre-season to limit penalties as much as possible for the 2010 season.

"We are working to reduce some of the penalties we hurt ourselves with last year right now," he said earlier in August.

But the Bulldogs, at a minimum, have been viewed as one of the most-penalized teams in the SEC over the last two years. Many of the penalties have been of the 15-yard varieties. Some, like the infamous "celebration" penalty called on A.J. Green in last year's loss to LSU had a direct effect on the outcome of the game.

"Coach Richt told us that we were the most penalized team in the SEC," Charles said. "When everyone was talking about Georgia that's all they would talk about. It is just getting tiring. This year we want to change that."

Charles, too, has done his part in chastising teammates for making mistakes.

"You still play hard, but you think more," an aggravated Charles said. "Sometimes the heat will get to you, but you need to think more. You need to concentrate and think more. You have to concentrate and focus on what you are doing. Everyone has to play their own role and then come together and play as a team."

But there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Richt said Tuesday after practice that the Bulldogs had their best practice of the year with regard to penalties.

"For the first time this fall, the defense had zero penalties. And the offense only had one penalty. Overall, that was the fewest of the fall. That's pretty good."

Pretty good indeed.

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