Mar 4, 2009

Anyone remember to find a kicker?

David Hale over at the Bulldogs Blog had some interesting news about Georgia's search for a kick-off specialist: it apparently never happened.

Does anyone remember last season? Remember how difficult it was for our kickers to get the ball to the endzone on kickoffs, often resulting in the opponent starting around our 40 yard line? And then remember how Coach Richt (jokingly) said we would give two scholarships to someone who could kick the ball out of the endzone? Well, either they couldn't find anyone who could kick that far (unlikely), we were out of scholarships to give, or it was just forgotten and ignored.

So despite the kickoff troubles last season, we remain with Blair Walsh and two walk-ons who were already on the team, Andrew Jensen and Jamie Lendley.

There was also a bit of worry over freshman kicker Blair Walsh's season on field goals.

After starting 1 for 1 with a 52 yarder against Georgia Southern (which was admittedly very exciting), he was sent out to try a 57 yarder in the next game against Central Michigan, but that miss was very understandable. The Arizona State game saw his next miss, but it was another 50+ attempt.

But things went downhill starting with the Vanderbilt game at home. Up until that point, he was 10/12, and things were looking fine. But from that game onward, he finished the year 4/10, with only one of those attempts being 5o+ yards, and only 2 of those being 40+. Most frightening, there were two misses during the Florida game in Jacksonville, VERY close to being good, but missed from 37 and 27 yards. Good kicks there could have made a difference in that game. (But the weather wasn't great, and the wind was blowing, so it's hard to cast blame for those two misses.)

One thing I was asking for in the Capital One Bowl game was for Walsh to redeem himself and help us regain confidence by hitting a long one, and he sort of did with a good 32 yarder.

But it does make one wonder: Is our kicking (kickoffs AND field goals) really set and prepared for next season? For that matter, are our special teams as a whole going to get better?

They don't seem like huge problems, and maybe that's why they are generally ignored. But there's no doubt that those kickoffs, field goals, punts, etc. are very important throughout every game. Speaking of, things weren't exactly looking great for kick/punt returns either.

Let's just hope our coaches are well aware of this issue and are secretly working things out. I would guess they are.

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