The secret to punting, in ten easy words

Coach, I love you, but sometimes you say the darndest things:

“Until the kickoff rule changes, you better have someone that can kick it high and deep and punting is so huge. You just think about the return men in our league. If every time you punt the ball, you’ve got to hold your breath because some guy has a chance to take it to the house, that’s a scary thought. But if you’ve got a guy that can boom it high and deep and let your gunners get down there and stand there and force a guy to fair catch, they can’t beat you if they’re fair catching the ball…” [Emphasis added.]

Which is pretty much what opposing coaches thought every time they saw Logan Gray hit the field with the punt return team.  And most Georgia fans, for that matter.

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20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

20 responses to “The secret to punting, in ten easy words

  1. fuelk2

    I think having that fake punt kill us in the Sugar Bowl against West Virginia is why we still see the “punt safe” so much to this day.

  2. Puffdawg

    (face in hand, shaking head)

    Oy.

  3. heyberto

    Let’s just chalk this statement up to CMR’s change of heart regarding the fair catch specialist.. mmmkay?

  4. Castleberry

    Is there a way we can figure out directional punting?

  5. Mayor of Dawgtown

    In CMR’s defense let me say that I believe the Logan Gray/fair catch thing came about as a reaction to the UGA punt return team getting flagged almost every time the punt was actually returned from 2008 on. Whether that was because the UGA players always blocked in the back on returns or whether the real reason was that the crooked SEC refs used punt returns as an opportunity to vent their frustrations re: Evil Richt is beyond the scope of this post. However, if one understands the above it makes perfect sense to send out your player with the surest hands and tell him to fair catch it.

    • zdub

      “However, if one understands the above it makes perfect sense to send out your player with the surest hands and tell him to fair catch it.”

      Exactly, Mayor. Most times Logan came out to catch the ball he was catching it beyond the 30 (if I remember correctly). He was sure-handed and the coaches knew that. When he came out, we all knew what was most likely coming (a fair catch). That didn’t mean that he had to fair catch, it just meant that the situation most likely warranted a fair catch rather than a less-sure-handed punt returner giving up a fumble that would most likely be detrimental to us winning the game.

      Most fans don’t realize that our coaches know what these players can do much more than we as fans do. If Logan was the best chance we had of securing the catch (fair or not) then they sent him out there to catch the ball, nothing more. Maybe the coaches didn’t have enough confidence in anyone else to do it (after all, they see them practice these things every day).

      • hailtogeorgia

        It didn’t have to do with penalties, and it didn’t have to do with yard lines. It had to do with him being the only person on the team who they could count on to catch the damned ball.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        From what I understand about Logan Gray’s abilities, he was actually a threat. Supposedly he was the best player in Missouri his senior year of HS. Just didn’t get much of a chance to show it in college. Anyone know where he is now?

  6. Dog in Fla

    This year Mark probably knows that they could find somebody to coach for less, like maybe $2,000,000.00 a year, who would know how to put together the jigsaw puzzle that is a punt return team

  7. Prov

    Here you go questioning the coaches again ;)

  8. Marmot

    Auburn had a fair punt specialist last year in Darvin Adams. When they atarted sending Darvin out, you knew they were just trying to maintain possession.

  9. 69Dawg

    It pays to put someone back there when you are deep in your territory that has some brains as well as good hands. What killed me was when we weren’t going to get penned deep but we still had Logan out there.

  10. Stoopnagle

    Just when you think you’ve turned a corner, you realize that maybe the folks in charge haven’t changed…

  11. OKDawg

    Glad I wasn’t the only one who caught that bit of painful irony. It’s not that Logan wasn’t well-utilized at times. It’s how emphatically and unequivocally Richt categorizes PLANNING to fair catch as a losing approach.

  12. kckd

    How many returns do you see in situations when Logan was in the game?( Basically a team punting from the opponent’s side of the field.) OTOH, how many times do you see something bad happen for the receiving team in that situation? I’d say that was a smart move. Punt returns happen when you have lots of field to work with and a punter who out punts his coverage or punts it too low to cover. Those things don’t usually occur when you’re punting from the opponent’s 45.