ATHENS -- Dominick Sanders doesn’t want to talk about it.
He doesn’t want to talk about Nick Chubb or injuries in general. He doesn’t want to talk about last year. He definitely doesn’t want to talk about the games against Alabama or Tennessee.
Talking about the past just isn’t Sanders’ thing.
“After the last two games, I just put that to the side, don’t even ... try not to bring it up,” Sanders said. “(I) try not bringing up the injury with Nick. I just don’t look in the past. I worry about what’s next.”
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Sanders might be able to avoid conversations about Chubb and last year, but avoiding the secondary’s recent struggles isn’t an option for the sophomore as the group searches for a solution to the woes that have plagued it the past two games.
Saturday’s game added a new problem in need of correction after the unit struggled to make tackles against Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs and his receivers.
“One thing we’ve done is we’ve tackled well. (On Saturday), we didn’t,” defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said. “The bottom line is you have to finish on good players.”
The tackling problem is only a small part of Georgia’s secondary issues.
In September, the Georgia secondary allowed 664 passing yards in four games -- 166 yards per game. It allowed just three touchdowns and forced five interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks completed just 54 percent of their passes and had a quarterback rating below 100. That was all done with Georgia opponents being down by large deficits and throwing the ball 31 times per game.
Through just two games in October, Georgia already has allowed 502 yards, nearly 100 more yards per game than last month. It already has given up one more touchdown than it did all of September and has just one interception. Opponents are completing more than 62 percent of their passes with a rating north of 150.
The unit has had missed assignments, blown coverages and left opposing receivers wide open in Georgia’s two losses.
“We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Sanders said. “That’s just going to be a thing for a typical defense; everybody’s going to make mistakes. We learn from them, and correcting ourselves will be a big thing for us.”
Some of the issues can be related to attrition. Georgia lost cornerback Rico McGraw for two weeks with a knee injury, and Alabama was his first game back.
Some of it can be related to the youth of the group, too. Quincy Mauger is the only upperclassman who has started in the Georgia secondary this season. That list includes true freshmen McGraw and Johnathan Abram.
“Everybody played a lot of snaps,” Sanders said. “A lot of young players are playing, and they have to know that in this league you’ve got to go, play as many snaps as you can.”
But it isn’t just the young players making mistakes. In the fourth quarter of the Tennessee game, Dobbs rolled out of the pocket and faked a screen pass. Two players, including eldest statesman Mauger, bit on the fake, leaving tight end Ethan Wolf totally uncovered for a 34-yard completion down the sideline. That drive ended in a touchdown.
To Sanders, all of these mistakes can be traced back to communication. And that falls on the shoulders of Sanders, Mauger and the other leaders of the secondary.
“Making mistakes is really based off of communication,” Sanders said. “I feel like building that communication with everybody in the back end and the front end, our defense will be a lot better.”