ATHENS -- Jake Ganus did not enjoy Monday’s film session.
All of the glaring mistakes Georgia’s defense made in Saturday’s 38-31 were playing out again, making it tough to watch. But the only way for the Bulldogs to improve upon Saturday’s performance was to look at what transpired and correct the mishaps made.
“It was sickening because of the missed tackles and missed assignments,” Ganus said. “We know we’re better than that and can do better than that. The focus this week is just cleaning up those little things. Then again, when we do tackle and communicate, we’re a good defense. It shows against whoever we play. We just have to put it all together and play a complete game.”
Missouri’s offense struggled mightily against Florida last week, totaling only 257 total yards in a 21-3 loss. But Tennessee’s offense, specifically its passing game, had been inconsistent entering Saturday’s game against Georgia. The Volunteers ended up with 519 yards and scored 28 unanswered points after falling behind 24-3.
Although the Tigers are going with true freshman Drew Lock in just his third career start, there is some concern the back-to-back SEC East champion Tigers will try and implement what the Volunteers did well Saturday.
“That’s what most offenses do,” Ganus said. “They look at what other teams had success doing. We’re going to correct those things Tennessee did against us and be prepared.”
While watching the Tennessee film, Ganus said the defense’s play was mostly inconsistent. He would watch the defense force a three-and-out one series and then surrender a 20-yard run with four broken tackles on another. On one occasion, Ganus met Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd in a hole and pushed him back, only for Hurd to slip away from the tackle.
Ganus wasn’t the only one who felt ill after reviewing the film. Defensive end Sterling Bailey said it was tough to get through the session with all of the mistakes Georgia put on tape.
“It has a sick feeling, like, ‘This is not us,’ ” Bailey said. “What we watched on film, that’s not the way Georgia football should be played. That’s not how we want to play. It was a sick feeling.”
Bailey pointed to the fact Georgia’s defense was on the field for 90 plays as a disappointment. Ganus said he and linebacker Tim Kimbrough played almost all of the 90 snaps. Freshman Trenton Thompson, according to the website Pro Football Focus, played 61.
Being on the field that long against a high-tempo spread offense can wear down a defense, which is something Georgia wants to avoid.
“We got to do a better job getting off the field,” Bailey said. “As a defense you don’t want to be on the field for that many snaps. That means something isn’t going really well for you.”
Through Georgia’s first four games, the defense allowed an average of 273.3 yards and 13.5 points per game. Against Alabama and Tennessee, those numbers increased to 449 yards and 38 points.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he and the coaching staff will need to figure out how to fix the defensive issues before Saturday’s game against Missouri.
“We weren’t having a lot of missed assignment problems, but this last ballgame, we had more than most,” Richt said. “So we’ve got to look at ourselves and say, ‘Are we giving them too much?’ And if we are, we need to make sure that we reduce -- when you reduce learning, you usually increase the ability to play fast. The more certain a guy is of what he’s supposed to do in all situations, the faster he can play. And that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to react fast.”