Competition at kicker?

Coach Richt didn’t take too long to do something with Dexter Moody’s scholly.

Junior college kicker Brandon Bogotay has signed a letter of intent with the University of Georgia football team according to an announcement Thursday by Bulldog head coach Mark Richt.

Bogotay, a native of San Diego, Calif., competed as a freshman at Grossmont College (El Cajon, Calif.) in 2008 and was named to the Southern Conference’s All-Conference First Team. He finished 15-of-23 on field goals, including a long kick of 52 yards, and was listed at the No. 3 spot on the California Community College Athletic Association’s list for most points scored kicking last season with 72.

“We’re excited to have Brandon joining our 2009 signing class and look forward to him competing on our kickoff, field goal, and extra point teams,” said Richt.

I believe in some circles that’s referred to as “message sending”.  We’ll see how Walsh responds to the challenge.

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UPDATE: Marc Weiszer has some more details about Bogotay – and some video!  Groo adds some info on his kickoffs here.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Competition at kicker?

  1. Turd Ferguson

    I really don’t understand this whole kicker situation. I mean, Bogotay’s numbers look, at best, comparable to Walsh’s numbers coming out of high school.

    Since about mid-way through the 2008 season, I began to think that Walsh’s problem had more to do with the fact that we don’t really have someone (to my knowledge) on staff that really knows how to coach a kicker. Surely our coaches realize that there’s a difference between flat-out inability, on the one hand, and an unpolished technique, on the other. And it’s just so difficult for me to believe that a guy who can kick 50+ yard field goals with ease is flat-out unable to kick a ball into the endzone on a kickoff.

    What’s the use of another big leg if we’re not going to coach him up the way we should be?

    Sure, a message has been sent. But if I were Walsh, this is the message I’d be getting: “We don’t actually know how to properly coach a kicker, so you either fix your problems on your own, or we’ll just replace you. Oh sure, we’ll invest lots and lots of time and attention into our quarterbacks, etc., but you’re on your own, kid.”

    • Macallanlover

      There is more to kicking a 50+ yard FG and kicking it into the endzone on kickoffs. First there is the additional 20+ yards, but more importantly is the trajectory that allows the coverage team to be in position to tackle a runner when the returner comes “hauling it” out of the endzone. Since many coverage guys are impeded by blocks, you must have enough players down deep enough to contain the fastest, most elusive players on the other team. So it is a combination of distance, trajectory, who is covereing, and who is returning.

      None of the above is to excuse how badly UGA has been on kickoffs the past few years, but to say it takes more than a FG kicker with 50+ yard range. I think that is why UGA has attempted to pin the opposing teams with directional kicks into a specific corner of the field. I am not defending the strategy, or saying we shouldn’t have a stronger leg on kickoffs, but there are reasons the Staff has made that decision. Walsh hit a couple into the endzone, maybe wind assisted, but could not do so consistently so we tried a different technique.

      Nothing was said in the article about Bogotay’s ability to handle kickoffs but I will bet that was a part of the decision to offer him a scholly.

      • Turd Ferguson

        Oh, I understand that there’s more to kickoffs than being able to make 50+ yard field goals. But much of the difference boils down to things that coaches ought to be able to correct for. It ought to be the coaches teaching him how to adjust the trajectory. It ought to be the coaches making sure our coverage is as good as it can be. Etc., etc., etc. This is, after all, what coaches get paid for: turning high school football players with lots of raw talent into polished studs at their positions.

        I mean, it may just be that Walsh doesn’t have a powerful enough leg. But again, I find that really, really hard to believe. A guy who can boot 50+ yard field goals with ease doesn’t have enough leg for kickoffs? That’d be like a guy who can consistently hit a 9-iron 160 yards but can’t drive the ball any longer than 250 off the tee. Possible, sure. But really hard to believe.

        What happens when Bogotay turns out to have all the same issues? Are we just going to “send him a message” by recruiting another big leg? Or are we going to find someone who actually knows how to coach a kicker?

        • Mike In Valdosta

          What school does a better job with kickers than UGA? Yes, we have a problem with kick-offs, but I wouldn’t trade our kicking game the past 8 years for anyone else’s.

          • Turd Ferguson

            Which is part of the reason I began by saying that I still don’t understand this whole situation. Coming out of high school, Blair Walsh was arguably the best kicker in the country (ranked 7th by Rivals and 1st by Scout). As a junior in high school, the kid was making field goals in the high 50’s. And his senior season only continued the trend. And yet, he doesn’t have the leg for kickoffs? So we’re just recruiting someone else?

            That certainly wasn’t the sort of attitude the coaches had toward Stafford after his sub-par freshman season.

            • SCDawg

              I don’t pretend to know a ton about kicking, but I’ve watched 1000’s of kickoffs, and I’ve never seen a kicker kick well when he almost falls down after striking the ball on a kickoff. Walsh was doing that last year, and consistently kicking it short and/or out of bounds. Something is wrong with his kickoff form.

              Also, Walsh got worse, not better, last year. I agree with Turd.

  2. HVL Dawg

    On the scholarship count we’ve traded a linebacker who was going to get kicked out of school anyway for a kicker who has already hit for 52 yards in a college game.

    We’re still behind you WalshDawg. Welcome BogotayDawg.

    Now GATA

  3. Mike In Valdosta

    I think this is more for kick-offs than any statement with regard Walsh as our place kicker.

    I also believe CMR once talked about kicker fatigue and preferred to have a kick-off specialist to prevent said fatigue.

  4. Richt-Flair

    Competition is good, IMO.

  5. Richt-Flair

    On another note, didn’t we have Bennett do field goals and Kirouc kickoffs back in the day?

  6. If this kid can consistenly kick the ball into or out of the endzone then he is worth it. Thanks, Moody. We got absolutely torched on kickoffs last year and kicking the ball out of the endzone is the best solution.

  7. Ben W

    We’ve almost always had different kickers handle the kickoffs and placekicks in the past. Just sayin’.

  8. Macallanlover

    Kickoffs/FGs not a direct correlation, imo. Many think because you can use a tee and take more steps there will be a tremendous difference in how far the football will fly, but most of the leg speed is generated in the last two steps and the follow-through. Some feel it is such a different technique that kickoffs will “screw-up” a FG kicker. Golf has differences too, I hit my driver further than many I play with, but may hit one club more with irons on Par 3’s. Also, driving difference is a combination of carry and rollout so ball trajectory, spin rate, and firmness of fairways make a big difference. Irons are simply carry yardage. My course rewards running tee shots more than most in the southeast so I am trying to get my spin rate and trajectory down.

    Another site is reporting Bogotay puts 80% of his kickoffs into, or through, the end zone without aid from the wind. Another report has his stats last year with 20 touchbacks which seems low for 80%. He was a freshman last year in JUCO, so he may get even stronger before he leaves us. It does sound like he is being brought in primarily for kickoffs, but he will put heat on Walsh for FGs as well. I didn’t think BW was that bad on FGs last year, but like having a better kickoff option that will give our opponents a longer field and allow Walsh to focus on FGs.

  9. 69Dawg

    We try for hang time on the kickoff because we use the slowest walkon players for 7 of the 11 positions on the KO team. Put the fastest guys on the KO team and the return man does not get it back to the 20 as long as the ball makes it to the endzone. Our problem was that we kicked it to the 20 and they started the runbacks from there. It was the worst KO team I have ever seen at UGA and maybe the worst in the SEC.