Old habits die hard.

“There was a period of time when Walsh was knocking them out of the end zone like three or four games like every time,” junior Shawn Williams said. “I guess they got relaxed expecting him to knock it out of the end zone and they weren’t quite running, busting it down field. That plays a part in it, too.”

Williams, if you recall, is the starter who pulled a player off the kickoff coverage team earlier this year to go in and cover himself.  I guess we now know why.

(And by the way, Williams is right about one other thing.  What’s happened to Blair Walsh’s leg on kickoffs?)

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54 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

54 responses to “Old habits die hard.

  1. Go Dawgs!

    To be honest, I had just assumed that the coaches had gotten back to telling him to kick high and short and let the coverage team try to cover the kick, so this surprises me. I was watching the trajectory of the ball intently in Jacksonville on Saturday, and he is kicking really high. Florida was fielding the ball between the 15 and 20. If it’s not on purpose, then we really need to get Walsh fixed. He’s in his head and it’s screwing up his mechanics.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I’m betting that he’s injured just not badly enough not to still be able to play and the coaches want to keep mum about it.

      • Go Dawgs!

        My only problem with that theory is that if he’s hurt and it’s affecting his performance, then we need to get the next guy in there. I don’t know how good Bogotay is, but I don’t think he’s nine-missed-field-goals bad.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I think Walsh is something like 13 made and 9 missed out of 22 attempts. So his record is not as good as it once was but not so bad as a lot of other teams’ regular kickers’ records. Also, the coaches aren’t putting him in because they knew in advance that he would miss, so the stats have gotten a little skewed recently. Maybe the issue you raise is about future games. I do no ascribe to the thought that Walsh should have been benched before now. However, going forward what you suggest is something that needs to be considered, IMHO, certainly with kickoffs.

          • Hobnail_Boot

            Walsh has missed 9 FG this year, as you note. The rest of the SEC has missed 16 FG this year.

            In other words, much worse than a lot of other teams’ regular kickers’ records.

  2. The other Doug

    Obviously the ST coaching has screwed up Walsh’s leg strength.

    On serious note….
    I wonder if there isn’t something up such as an injury. He appears to have lost distance and accuracy.

    • gastr1

      I have to believe that striking the ball is for distance pretty similar to the issues you’d face in baseball or golf. In all cases the mechanics have to right on to get maximum distance. It probably just looks easier because he is hitting with his leg, I guess, but if one’s mechanics are screwed up for accuracy they are probably screwed up for distance too.

  3. Richt-Flair

    He’s lost his mind is what he lost. How do you rehab that?

    • The Lone Stranger

      +1 …. Ginseng?

    • OKDawg

      I blame a girl here…something has totally jacked up this young man’s mind. I’m guessing some girl broke his heart…

      • H-Town Dawg

        I agree. But it’s not necessarily a broken heart. It could be just the opposite. The edge has been lost because all he wants to do is be with her, whatever. Who knows? But something is clearly taken his mind off the importance of football and he seems to be simply going through the motions. Hopefully the distraction is nothing more serious than that.

        • Dog in Fla

          “But it’s not necessarily a broken heart. It could be just the opposite. The edge has been lost because all he wants to do is be with her, whatever.”

          If that’s the case, there’s a solution: Blair simply needs to deny them his essence

  4. ScoutDawg

    UT would just send Lacey Earps over to his house…

  5. DB

    Really, why not let Bogatay kick off??

    • Bryant Denny

      Why not let Jenkins strap on the old square toe shoe and have at it? :)

      • Cojones

        That would require him to have half a foot. Who’s going to maim him in order to get the shoe to fit? To use one of the Senator’s epithets, who’s going to get the “squatting hippopotamus” off the guy that tries?

    • SlobberKnocker

      My thoughts exactly! I remember one of the reasons we brought that kid in was his ability to kick it through the end zone.

  6. Bryant Denny

    Maybe he’s participating in The Georgia Way…

    Just kidding…Bama’s Cade Foster has a huge leg but can’t find the endzone…Auburn’s kicker has a huge leg and a nice touchback percentage, but I’ve seen him kick it short, too.

    Saban was asked the question and diagnosed the problem as something similar to a golf shot. I guess that means mechanics and psychology.

    Have a good day, Dawgs.

    BD

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    I don’t recall “Walsh…knocking them out of the end zone…three or four games….every time”. He’s kicked ‘em out a handful of times since we ditched the directional kicking. I believe Bogotay has the stronger leg and is better suited to kick-offs – isn’t that why we signed him? Of course I’m not a coach and don’t want to be. But the ST coaches merit critiquing. Just when we start turning the ship around another aspect of our game, one that we expected to be an advantage, takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

    • Walsh’s touchback numbers over the last three seasons: 17 in 2009, 12 in 2010 and 14 in 2011.

      That’s more than a handful of times.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        So the average is slightly over 1 per game. As I said, a handful. By no means is he ‘crushing’ them out consistently, or “3 or 4 times a game”.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid and appreciate all he’s done for the program. He’s certainly had to suffer poor coaching with the directional kicking BS under Fabris (and CMR). And nobody really expects him to do coverage and tackling on KO’s. Wish Belin was still coaching the KO team.

    • Keese

      Go back and watch the first 3-4 games this season. Blair was crushing kickoffs for touchbacks

  8. Normaltown Mike

    I blame Bobo.

  9. Socrates

    The other day Richt mentioned they were trying to bloop the kickoff to Demps and it was mishit, the other returned by Debose was a mishit line drive. Richt also mentioned having more starters on the kickoff team, like we do on opening kickoffs. Really guys, do you think this will change? My view of it is we must hope our defense bails us out over and over again. God bless Grantham.

  10. Will Trane

    Maybe Walsh has kicked them deep in the end zone, but it is not something I recall seeing on many, consistent times. The kick off coverage is substandard for UGA and CMR let this go too long. This is the number one complaint about CMR from alums. The issue has to become a crisis before the man can get a sense of urgency and a desire to fix it. Like I said before CMR and the AD will look back at that issue in the South Carolina game and realize it cost them a possible trip to the Dome. CMR can never get out front on any coaching problem or issue. The man is too wrapped up with “loving”. Maybe if he patted Walsh on the butt, and said I love you everytime he hit the field kickoffs would travel out of the end zone and 35+ FGs would become routing. Game management and program management are always issues for CMR. Maybe the man should take up writing love stories.

  11. flukebucket

    On the bright side the returns are enabling him to work on his foot speed.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Would love it if he simply worked on his LEG speed, like through the ball!

    • gastr1

      You know, regarding that, Blair Walsh’s KO coverage is really piss-poor. You just have to beat the guy to the sideline. HAVE TO. Turning the returner back into the middle of the field where the coverage is coming from is the only hope you have at that point.

      • fuelk2

        You’re actually dead on about this. I know he’s overmatched when it comes to speed, but you have to make the guy pause or change direction in an effort to allow the calvary to arrive. I think kickers are given a little too much slack on this because everyone assumes they don’t have the ability to do anything other than kick the ball.

      • Scott

        If you watch Blair Walsh during the Vandy td return, and then watch Blair Walsh during the UF td return, it was like instant replay. He was in the exact same poor position on both plays, as both Demps and Andre Hal sprinted past him on the left sideline.

        • The Lone Stranger

          If we’re relying on the PK to stick the tackle on a kick returner we are truly up against it.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            They’re only pointing out that Walsh is failing to be in the correct position to turn the runner into pursuit, which is a coaching error. Walsh doesn’t have to make the tackle himself–just make the returner cut inside.

            • gastr1

              In fairness, I had not seen the Debose return until I watched it last night. More than move the runner back inside, Walsh actually got it right enough that time that he actually made the td-saving shove out of bounds.

  12. JDog

    I might be imagining this, but I’ve thought I’ve noticed that some of his worst kickoffs come after he kicks a field goal. I’ve wondered it has affected kickoff height too, contributing to our poor kickoff coverage.

  13. 69Dawg

    Here at UGA we are all about “LOVE”. We don’t let the Bogatay kick off because Blair would feel unloved. The Pro’s want a guy that can kick field goals but they also want a guy that can kick off, our greatest kicker ever (since Butler) Billie Bennett could not kick off and he never got a shot in the pros. We wasted a scholly on a kicker who we won’t let kick. This has been a pattern with Mark. Look no farther than Andy “missed Extra Point” Bailey to see why multiple special teams coaches means you really don’t have any special teams coach.

  14. Scott

    I am re-posting this from last night. Our Kickoff Coverage Team identified through watching replays of Vandy and FLA game:

    6 Michael Erdman (rs-FR)
    25 Mark Deas (rs-FR)
    11 Connor Norman (rs-FR)
    46 Alex Ogletree (SO)
    48 Kosta Vavlas (rs-FR)
    36 Shawn Williams (JR)
    33 Chase Vasser (SO)
    42 Corey Campbell (rs-FR)
    43 Quintavius Harrow (FR)
    57 Blair Walsh
    10 Jordan Love (So)
    27 Nick Marshall (FR)

    Now Williams has been making tackles on special teams and to a lesser degree Ogletree. Vavlas has made a couple good plays.

    Most of these guys are only playing on special teams and strictly on kickoffs. The punt units are comprised of entirely different players (e.g. Blake Sailors). I checked and could not find any overlapping.

    There is no excuse for not hustling when you only play 6 or 7 snaps a game.

    • gastr1

      It’s not hustle that’s the issue. It’s taking bad angles and being too close together, thus not filling lanes and levels.

      It’s also not rocket science.

      • Scott

        Williams said they “weren’t quite running, busting it down field.” Demps caught it at the 2 and was at the 17 when the first UGA defenders reached his area. So that’s not terrible.

        I have watched that Demps TD in slow motion dozens of times, and you are right about us being too close together and not filling lanes. Its wasn’t everyone, but several guys in the middle were easily blocked and got bunched up to one side, thus creating that huge lane. If we have so many new guys, all the more reason for more practice time.

  15. Dog in Fla

    re above post by: “gastr1
    November 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM
    >Sheesh, what a lame reaction< I did actually laugh out loud but good grief, man, it wasn't that funny. Don't get a big head there, Dog in Fla."

    That would never happen. I commissioned my dental ceramicist to make a statue of me in a custom Fla toll-taker booth shirt (the commemorative “Woody” design) holding a light bulb when I heard last year that they were doing a pagan idol to Nick in Tuscaloosa. As you can see, no danger of me getting or having a big head, at least on top anyhow