“Every punt [return] doesn’t have to be a touchdown.”

It sounds like Mark Richt yearns for the quieter, simpler days of Logan Gray fielding punts.

“We’ve just had, overall, too many bad decisions,” Richt said. “We’ve caught the ball inside the 10 when we shouldn’t. We’ve let the ball bounce and not field it when we should’ve. These aren’t all Malcolm’s issues. This has been the last couple of years.

“It may end up being Rhett McGowan before it’s over if he can communicate the best, secure the ball the best and field the ball the best. We’re trying to find an answer there.”

In all seriousness, he’s got a point.  There’s been some dicey play in Georgia’s punt return game so far.  And in limited action, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from McGowan better than anyone else I’ve watched field punts this season.  He gets north-south in a hurry with very little wasted motion; you can make up for not having elite speed with good vision and instincts.  In that sense, McGowan kind of reminds me of Thomas Flowers.

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33 Comments

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33 responses to ““Every punt [return] doesn’t have to be a touchdown.”

  1. Jeff Sanchez

    Flagged for comparing a white player with a black one.

    We would have accepted “Logan Gray” or possibly “Kris Durham”

  2. kckd

    Thomas Flowers nor Damien Gary were barn burners back there. But effective.

    • DawgVegas

      Gary was the best I can remember (since Woerner) at making at LEAST the first guy miss, and usually more than that first one. He had a real talent.

      • BMan

        Agreed on Damien Gary. Other the Woerner, he was the best we’ve had. In addition to some great returns, he always seemed to make the right decision and he was very sure handed. In other words, never anything dumb and occasionally something brilliant, which is all I can ask of a punt returner.

  3. Ray

    But he’s a good route runner…..

  4. gastr1

    The judgement factor involved in when you catch it and let it bounce and when you don’t is at least as important as understanding the “only run north” factor. Richt is right that even when we’ve had good returners, they’ve sometimes let the ball bounce inexplicably and cost 10-20 yards of field position (yes, I remember seeing 20+ in one game last year). Mitchell’s failures have just been more obvious.

  5. Haywood Jablome

    I miss the days of the designated punt fair catcher, nothing more exciting than watching the life sucked out of the punt return game.

    • Dawgwalker07

      I would much rather have the life sucked out of the return game than worry if we’re going to muff a punt every time the defense makes a stop.

      • Haywood Jablome

        True, but it is odd that other teams seem to consistently field actual punt returners while we have to settle for somebody who can just catch one. Having said that, if that is my biggest complaint for the season I will be a happy camper.

    • I miss the days of Gary and Flowers, when we had a guy with smarts that could also take it to the house.

  6. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind the automatic fair catches this year. Looks like we will have no trouble moving the ball down field and get back whatever yards we lose by not running.
    But if Rhett gets us 10-15 each time, yeah let’s do that.

  7. tbia

    I would also like us to put 2 guys back against known “Rugby-style” punters.

    I think a return man to the kicker’s leg side of the field, 25-30 yards from LOS would be effective.

  8. Dave

    Look, if McGowen is our best, so be it. But what about putting our most explosive guy back there, and you know, coaching him to make the correct decisions ( and catch the damn punt )?

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    See, Logan, we miss you….bet you did not know that.

    • Cojones

      What happened? He was around for the Mizzou game. Guess after all his angst he feels justified he came to UGA over Mizzou. He’s a good “Show Me” person. He’ll be back with us. Quit worrying.

  10. Cojones

    Don’t know about some of you, but I see openings in the kickoff team that, if the gunner misses, several avenues look open for a lucky returner to find. It makes my hair stand on end and that’s a scary sight when I step into the shower.

    Our returners are supposed to take their cue from a spy who tells them “Run”, “Don’t run” from the end zone, but what about the kicks landing inside the 10? Short kicks should have a runup for a fair catch, no matter where it is on the field. Some could be fielded on the run w/o a fair catch. Does the punt returner have all the decision avenues on his shoulders only?

  11. Macallanlover

    I will take ball security over the “home run” chance. I realize a punt return can electrify a team but you will get more downside from bad decisions than you will the upside of a big return. If you have that type of spectacular punt returner teams will minimize him by kicking away from him, or high and short anyway. Unless you find that guy that offers both, I would go with the conservative save play and turn the ball over to my offense.

  12. OKDawg

    Has anyone heard why Branden Smith, after fielding punts in the past, has not even been mentioned this year as a possibility?

  13. By Georgia We Did It

    Nice video, I remember like it was yesterday. Too bad the boob who loaded the video indicats it was against UGA’s rival, the Tennesee Titans. #fail

  14. By Georgia We Did It

    *indicates #fail x 2

  15. Cosmic Dawg

    I am not exactly sure why we’re giving Mitchell something else to think about (and putting him in a role that I believe is a high-injury spot) seems like a good idea to our coaches. Mitchell is one of my favorites, btw, not just because of his playing but he gives really thought-provoking interviews, he’s an interesting kid, but he’s kind of a spaz back there.

    After all the weirdness in catching kicked balls, I would give the job to anybody who can wave both hands and catch a high football. We’re going to have one bounce off somebody’s foot at the three yard line soon and it’s going to cost us a game.

  16. NRBQ

    I wonder if they’ve given looks to guys like Conley and Scott-Wesley, who aren’t getting snaps on offense.

    And btw, I think both will play huge roles in the next couple years.

    • Macallanlover

      Agree, Conley is missing in action for some reason but I like what I saw of him last year. Scott-Wesley looks like he will gain experience as we progress this year and be able to play a bigger role the following season. We have such depth and you have to feed the top guys who have earned the opportunity. Marlon Brown came along slowly but is now being rewarded.

  17. Ausdawg85

    Obvious is obvious. Dick. Sam. IV.

    He earned it.