Some thoughts about the Bogotay signing.

It’s only natural, I think, in light of the signing of Brandon Bogotay, to take a look back at Georgia’s kicking game from last season, statistically speaking, and try to evaluate what motivated the coaches to add a third scholarship kicker to the team.

First off, it’s fair to say that Georgia’s kickoff game in 2008 was subpar.  The Dawgs ranked 94th in kickoff average, at 59.62 ypk, almost nine yards per kick than the national leader, South Carolina.  Georgia was 80th in touchbacks, and 92nd in touchback percentage.  As for opponents’ return yardage, Georgia was 75th, at 21.66 ypr.

So when you net return yardage from kickoff average, what you’re left with is a typical starting point for Georgia’s opponents at their own 32 yard line.  For comparison’s sake, Georgia’s opponents averaged 61.97 ypk and Georgia’s kickoff returners on average gained 21.1 ypr.  That works out to a net of almost 41 yards per kickoff, which means the average starting point for Georgia’s offense after a kickoff was somewhere between the 29 and 30 yard lines.

Sure, there’s a net difference there that favored the teams the Dawgs faced off against, but a three yard difference in starting position doesn’t strike me as being as dramatic as I might have thought.

And what about our favorite bugaboo, the out of bounds kickoff?  Well, I think you can step up the description of the performance in that category from subpar to truly bad.  Georgia ranked second in the country in OOB kickoffs, with nine.  But whatever significance you might want to draw from that is lessened by the fact that the worst team nationally in OOB kickoffs last season was Florida.  That sure didn’t seem to affect the Gators much, did it?  On top of that, Georgia’s opponents were generous themselves in kicking the ball out of play, as they ranked 115th nationally.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that the stats most likely don’t tell the entire story.  It’s hard to say how much this affected Walsh’s – and the team’s, by extension – psyche.  And you have to wonder how much all of this played into the decline of Walsh’s field goal kicking as the season wore on.  We’ll always speculate how differently the Florida game might have gone if Walsh had made all of his FG attempts in the first half.  But it’s also not unreasonable to question if Bogotay, even if he’s appreciably better than Walsh at touchbacks and keeping kickoffs in play, will have as much of an impact as we might expect.

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11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

11 responses to “Some thoughts about the Bogotay signing.

  1. Pete

    If football truly is a game of inches, then three yards is a massive discrepancy. 3 yards added to a field goal attempt could be the difference between a make or a miss or even a block…

  2. Mike In Valdosta

    Given all of the out-of-bounds kicks, I am curious to how bad we must have been covering straight ahead kicks in practice.

  3. monkey trainer

    There are liars, damn liars, and statisticians. I’d be willing to bet that a median number would tell a different story. I’m also pretty sure that a monkey could tell that the inconsistency and horrible field position given up regularly due to terrible kick offs was a big problem. Consistently kicking into the end zone would be a huge improvement.

  4. JasonC

    RE: florida
    They had 30 more KOs than we did and their % of touchbacks was more than double ours.
    If you have 30 more kickoffs, 1 OOB kick more is acceptable… especially when 3 of those 30 would be touchbacks (statistically speaking).

  5. Joe

    You really have to look at when the OOB KO’s and short kickoffs happened. There is no way that stats can convey what happens when you have just gone down on a 12 play, 80 yard drive to tie the game up, then your kicker pooches one out-of-bounds and the opponent gets the ball at the 35 to start their drive.

    Also, if there are 8 kickoffs per game (I totally made that number up, and have no idea what the average is, nor would I be inclined to do that statistical analysis) and we lose 3 yards on every kickoff, that’s 24 yards per game. That is two first downs that we have given our opponent. Over the course of the season, that is 336 yards that we have yielded without the opponent having to run a play or stop us on a drive. Pretty significant hidden yardage if you ask me.

    • Georgia kicked off 77 times last season; its opponents kicked off 63 times.

      Georgia didn’t lose 3 yards on every kickoff. It lost three yards on every pair of kickoffs. So while your analysis is valid, the loss is closer to 15 ypg. That’s not nothing, of course, but it’s only half the net yardage that Georgia lost on penalties each game.

  6. Hobnail_Boot

    In order to get a 3-yard discrepancy over the course of a season, you are allowing some long returns. Over the course of one game, that 3-yard difference might not be that huge…but over the course of a season, it probably accounts for at least a few opposing scores.

  7. 69Dawg

    Interesting, I just re-watched the 2008 LSU game and it seemed that all of the really bad kicks occurred later in the game. I also noticed that early in the game BW was kicking it between the GL and 5 and not too close to the OB. Later he was almost pouch kicking it to about the 20. I think his leg just gave out. One 50 yard FG one miss from 48 , 7 extra points and 8 kickoffs.

    About the Florida game none of our kickers have had great days in the last 20 years. We have lost that game on FG’s quite a few times. I think BW just wet himself as did the entire coaching staff, and all the players. UF just kick our butts and refused to let us score in the second half. A low light of the CMR era, onside kick my butt.

  8. I just have trouble laying all the blame at BWs feet as some have. This is an area where I think coaching is failing us. BWs technique overall seemed sound. If the new kid can bury it in the endzone with greater consistency, great. But it is also possible we’re ignoring the cause of the problem. Georgia has been a finesse KO team for years. I say put your best athletic tacklers on the field, kick the ball as deep as you can in the middle of the field and GATA!

  9. MacAttack

    Am I the only one who thought Walsh was really openly pissed off at the coaches bad-mouthing him about the kickoffs?

    I thought Blair had the leg to just let it go but he never did it

  10. kckd

    I don’t think the kickoffs were as big a deal on a game to game basis as some made it out to be. But the fact we looked sloppy on it much of the time leads many of us to believe (and rightly so) that some attention to detail could be missing in other areas as well.

    I love Fabris, but his want to take walk-ons and make them half the special teams strikes me as a Neal Calloway project Olineman sorta thing. I just wonder sometimes if this isn’t ego type stuff. “I can take these guys that aren’t scholarship talent and beat the Meyers, Sabans, Miles, etc.”

    I appreciated Will Thompson’s work effort and desire too, but anyone could see Charles Johnson needed to be on the field more in 2005.