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Nobody's "snickering" at Georgia's ability to create turnovers

Georgia has 14 interceptions, two each by seven different players.
Georgia has 14 interceptions, two each by seven different players. (Radi Nabulsi)

Who knew a Snickers candy bar could serve as motivation for a Georgia defense that’s become one of the best in the SEC when it comes to forcing turnovers?

Alas, it’s true.

The Bulldogs (7-4) come into Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech having forced 23 turnovers – including an SEC-best 14 interceptions – numbers linebacker Davin Bellamy joked comes as a result of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s propensity to reward stellar practice play by doling out the candy bar at the end of the day.

“We have to get a certain number of turnovers and whoever gets the most at the end of the day gets a Snickers,” Bellamy smiled. “So, you’ve got everybody fighting for the Snickers and it’s carried over to the game.”

Bellamy joked that he’s earned his share.

“I think I’ve got three on the season,” he said, admitting others have more.

“Probably Roquan (Smith) … Lorenzo (Carter) is up there, but Roquan definitely has the most Snickers,” added the Bulldog junior.

“I’m pretty sure I have the most as far as the outside linebackers,” Carter said. “He’s a little fat boy so he gets excited for Snickers.”

Whatever works, right?

“Coach Tucker and Coach Smart, they emphasize playing physical, getting the ball, attacking the ball and I think that it’s showing,” Carter said. “We’re really focused on attacking the ball, having fun, just going for it and trying to get turnovers. That’s what we’ve been doing and we’ve been doing it pretty well.”

It’s not just one or two players getting the job done, either.

Seven different players - Dominick Sanders, Malkom Parrish, Aaron Davis, Maurice Smith, Juwan Briscoe, Quincy Mauger and Deandre Baker - have intercepted two passes each for the Bulldogs, a coincidence that Sanders says is indicative of how much the entire secondary has bought into what Tucker teaches.

“I’m just thanking God for letting everyone have an opportunity to have them,” Sanders said. “I think we’re all tied right now, but it’s a blessing to have everybody do it. We’re just trying to be a defense that has a good turnover margin.”

Carter has naturally been impressed with what he’s seen.

“It’s crazy. I’m proud of all the DBs, especially (Deandre) Baker, he’s come in and did a great job,” he said. “The way they play in the secondary, they never give up. If you do that you can make things happen.”

Sanders said that’s what it’s all about.

“It’s about just taking shots at the ball,” Sanders said. “If somebody catches the ball, take a shot, punch the ball out. If the balls in the air, turn into a receiver and get it.”

The Bulldogs will have their work cut out improving that number against Georgia Tech.

Granted, the Yellow Jackets don’t pass the ball a ton working out of the triple-option, but in 124 attempts, quarterback Justin Thomas has only been picked off one time.

As a team, the Jackets have only thrown three, including one by backup quarterback Matthew Jordan and another by halfback Dedrick Mills.

“They have plays in the passing game that can be explosive,” Sanders said. “Thomas, he gets out there on the play action and takes shots down the field, so as a DB we have to keep our eyes on our keys and make sure we do the right things.”