The ghost of Jon Fabris: keeping the special in special teams

Here’s another special teams matter in Athens that looks to be settled.

… Logan Gray appears likely to continue his role of receiving punts in field-position situations where returns are not set up; his job in this capacity is to decide whether to fair-catch the punt or let the ball go.

For those of you who have your panties in a wad about exposing A.J. Green to injury by letting him field punts – a group that Mark Richt isn’t included in, by the way –  how do you feel about putting your backup quarterback (at least for now) in a similar position?

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “The ghost of Jon Fabris: keeping the special in special teams

  1. 69Dawg

    It remains one of the truly strange things about UGA football ever. Our coaches are saying that not one other player on the team is capable of making the choice you sited. It is a rather damning comment about the mental capacity of our team.

  2. Vindexdawg

    Yes, this is truly bizarre. Not to mention, stupid and wrong-headed. How many other teams out there feel compelled to signal to the opponent that they have absolutely no intention of returning a punt….and use their #2 QB to do it? And now that Fabris is gone, who has adopted this idiocy? I hate to speak in such strong terms, but I really thought that we were making a COMPLETE break with the dead-end mindset of the past several years on STs as well as D.

  3. Charles D.

    It is, without question, the biggest piece of dumbassery ever engineered under the Mark Richt regime.

    Pure effing stupidity.

  4. JasonC

    I think they just want Logan to play with the whole not-working-out-at-QB-so-I-will-try-WR-thingy going on. Build his self-esteem.

  5. Will F.

    It is not that dumb. If Logan is the best decision maker in that capacity then he should return punts in those situations. You can’t win games worried about who is gonna get hurt. Besides, he usually either calls for a fair catch or lets the ball bounce into the endzone, not much chance for injury.

    • No offense, but if LG is ever the best option at returning a punt this season, the program is in worse shape than I thought. Just think back to last year’s Vandy game…

    • JC in Powder Springs

      Didn’t Mikey Henderson get drilled by a Hawaii unfair hit on a fair catch that put him out of the game?

  6. JC in Powder Springs

    I’m not concerned about Grantham, Lakatos or Belin – I think they will do a good job. They are already showing big dividends in recruiting.

    The thing that scares me most about the holdover coaches, including CMR, is whether they learned a valuable lesson by avoiding the pink slip last year, or whether they will return to the complacency over stupid mistakes.

    Avoiding the dumb mistakes is the big difference between a championship coach and a competitive coach. Champions don’t put themselves in a position where they are forced to use a 3rd string true frosh at QB because the top backup was hurt on the punt team.

  7. The reason it’s stupid….

    Prince Miller was allowed to field the punt against Bama on the 9 yardline and returned it for a TD.

    If it was right then, why isn’t it always right?

    Just dumbassery.

  8. Sternkid

    Seeing as Logan Gray fair catches everything (and doesnt ever let the ball go over him) this concerns me about as much as who wins the Big Sky conference every year.

  9. hodgie

    Would I have somebody else perform this duty? Prolly. However, I think the risk for injury is being greatly exaggerated. Also, LG has done a great job at this task. If we want to start judging the state of the program on whether or not LG faircatches punts, then we are focusing on the wrong things. I think the Dawgs are gonna be alright no matter who the faircatcher is.

  10. S FL Chapter of the Bulldog Nation

    I think this is definitely a off season topic…I am concerned about the QB position however. If Logan is not working with the QB’s and we’re counting on a RS Freshman and a True Freshman to navigate this season then we very well may be in trouble. I’d sure feel a lot better if Logan would keep his butt in the backfield. This whole thing seemed like a ploy to get playing time…I don’t see it working. All I have heard and see moving forward with Logan is trick plays and “wildcat” stuff. Which we never saw all last year. Who knows at this point.

    All I can say about Logan catching punts inside our red zone…he’s not the one who s#!t canned the punts or kickoffs last year. Hope everything related to this is a non-issue this year!

  11. jdawg

    1. In those situations we need to have a well designed PUNT BLOCK on. If we don’t get to the kick at least we put some heat on the punter and maybe he miss hits it either long into the endzone or short and out of bounds. But just sitting back like we’ve done in the past in those situations is not taking advantage of the opportunity.

    2. If we can’t put the regular punt returner out there in any situation and trust that they’ll make good decisions then they shouldn’t be the regular returner anyway. LG’s specialty is good hands, the same should go for anyone we put back to catch punts.

    3. IMO Wooten would be the perfect punt returner. He’s fast, shifty, and has great hands. He’s fairly short which is a good thing when needing to make quick cuts in tight spaces. He’s got the acceleration to get through the running lanes. If he gets a shot I think he’ll take the opportunity and run with it.

  12. Tommy

    Well, I’d rather see Gray back there than Richard Samuel. And that’s it for my list of nice things to say about this issue.

    As Paul noted last year, putting a fair-catch specialist back there, coupled with not going for the block, is easily the most submissive gesture a team can make. A punts is a critical, momentum-shifting opportunity and trotting Gray out there absolutely sucks all the oxygen out of it by being so predictable. Do we have no credible returners capable of making catch/no-catch decisions?

  13. Tommi

    This is why Mike Bobo should have been fired right along the three defensive coaches. Mark Richt needs someone with a slightly different POV about offensive strategies to balance out the him out.

    • I don’t recall Mike Bobo ever having anything to do with special teams.

    • JC in Powder Springs

      Tommi’s right on target. We need assistant coaches who bring a different perspective. That’s not to say CMR or Bobo are wrong all the time, but a good assistant coach isn’t just an echo chamber of the boss.

  14. 69Dawg

    As I recall Logan was not exclusively a 10 yard and in “fair catcher” last year. He was brought in when we thought the punt might make it to our 20. Forget the fact that he is a QB, the point is that because everybody in the stadium knows that he is going to fair catch it the other team does too. They can load up to block any block attempt, even though we never even tried last year. Anytime you concede any part of your game to the opponent it is going to bite you in the butt at some point. It is stupid football and I would tell CMR to his face.

  15. GATA

    1. It concerns me when I read comments CMR makes about how Gray is smart enough to make the call on to fair catch or not!! As dawg fan this worries me about the what he is saying about the intelligence of our other options.

    2. Let Gray be the fair catch guy, but if your going to do that then rush 10 and go after the punt, blocked punts are momentum game changer

  16. Games can be won or lost on decisions made to fair catch or let bounce a punt near or inside the 10 yard line. If I am coaching I certainly want my best decision maker back there to to handle the punt (also a non-fumbler).

  17. BMan

    Are there some things about this that piss me off? Sure. If a team is punting from around their 45 or higher, I don’t have a problem with Logan Gray being the guy to plant himself on the 10 and only field a punt if he’s moving forward (seen too many guys backpedal to the 5 to catch one). I do have a problem if I see him standing on the 20 to field a punt, knowing we are conceding a fair catch and refusing to try to get even one yard from a return, because that would be a yard (in a game of inches) the team was too timid to go after. From what I read, however, I don’t expect to see that, and I’m praying I won’t.

    Personally, I don’t think Logan Grey being used to fair catch punts deep in our territory is the dumbest thing in the Mark Richt era, unless direction kicks and last year’s unis in the Florida game can be stricken from the record.

  18. Macallanlover

    I also don’t have an issue with this, and feel it is much ado about nothing. To see fans calling a HC out out over this is extreme. I think you are going to see him return 1 or 2 of these in 2010 since everyone is so sure he on auto-pilot to fair catch every one.

    I also think this is another way to get LG in on as many plays as possible to reward him for not transferring. If this is a correct assumption, we should all applaud CMR and the staff. It is a small risk to take for having a better insurance package at QB. Gray has the athleticism to help this team on occasion, I say use him however he can contribute.