Not so special teams

I know some of y’all tend to downplay what the players say to the media, but there are times when that stuff is revealing.  Take, for example, something Collin Barber said in response to Richt’s statement that he may assume direct responsibility for special teams coaching this coming offseason.

“We have coach (John) Lilly who does Pride — the punt team — but it would be nice to have …a guy that knows about punting and kicking and not just coverage in what we’re doing,” said Barber, who still at times turns to personal kicking coach Marc Nolan in Roswell. “It would be great to have a specific coach to do the basic drills of kicking and punting.”

I know for 2012, that’s all horse-is-out-of-the-barn stuff, but one area that Georgia is going to be at a severe disadvantage on Saturday is punting.

Florida sophomore punter Kyle Christy leads the nation with a 47.9-yard average, and the Gators lead the nation in net punting at 44.2. Georgia has a freshman punter in Collin Barber and is last in the SEC in net punting at 33.8.

Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis is 12 of 14 on field goals.

“When you play like we do, you better be good in special teams and you better have good specialists,” said Florida coach Will Muschamp, whose team is 11th in the SEC in total offense. “You better have a punter who can flip the field and coverage units that can handle that. And you better have a field-goal kicker who can take points.”

And that’s the thing here.  Even if Georgia’s defense comes to play and even if Georgia avoids a meltdown on the turnover front, if this turns into a grind it out type of game, the net punting differential over the course of the day winds up killing Georgia’s field position.  And we know how well the Dawg offense tends to handle poor field position.

That’s what can happen when you take special teams play for granted.

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19 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

19 responses to “Not so special teams

  1. Krautdawg

    The real quote is where Muschamp says “when you play like we do, you better be good in special teams.” The man knows what he wants offensively & defensively, and knows how special teams can make or break what he’s after.

    We might like to run, but unlike UF, we’re not a grind-it-out, wear-you-down team. We run to get their secondary’s eyes in our backfield, and once that happens we throw for big plays. Muschamp needs a punter to flip the field; I think we’ve delegated that job to Murray, King, Mitchell, and Brown. The punter is more or less a backup. While I like the offensive mentality, it’s still a risk, and given our performance in big games … not an extremely well-calculated one.

    • Tomato Picker

      Sounds like Muschamp has gotten on the horn to Dooley the Elder at least a time or two since he took that Lizzard job.

  2. Gatriguy

    Remember Richt’s first few years when we returned kickoffs and pints and blocked kicks? Yeah, I barely do either.

  3. Macallanlover

    Kicking is the biggest mismatch in this weekend’s game and is why I say fu should be favored. It can be overcome but it is a huge spot. LSU had the best punter in CFB last year but Christy is the best I have seen this year. Looks like a low-scoring game to me so playing field position with them makes for a bleak outlook. Our OL, and blocking scheme to augment them, is critical to our having a chance.

  4. BulldogBen

    It truly boggles the mind that this deep in Richt’s tenure that this stuff is still such a glaring problem. It’s been masked somewhat by having a couple back to back NFL punters but now the issue is just sitting there, festering. Simply a lack of attention to detail. A MAJOR detail. What can you say, same old same old.

    • AlphaDawg

      A simple question to the posters here.

      What would a fan base say if a 2nd year head coach simply ignored, gave up, or tolorated sub-par performance on a 3rd of a game(special teams) for 2 years in a row?

  5. Comin' Down The Track

    Caleb Sturgis? How old is that guy already? Like thirty? It feels like he’s been there for a decade.

    • Russ

      Agreed. I think he started kicking there during the Bush administration…the first one.

    • Macallanlover

      I feel the same way about Elam. Guy is an impact player so I guess his name comes up enough to make it seem like 6 years.

      • LOL, that’s because he had an MIP charge before he ever took the field for the Gators. Guess how long he was suspended?

        • Macallanlover

          Doesn’t matter because fu has a history of selectively enforcing punishment, and when that punishment is applicable. meyer is at the right place in Columbus, he was pathetic when he played loose with the enforcement of violators. Don’t know if “time to die” was the latest, or the DT he delayed enforcing until after the Georgia game (some sort of dance he did with the student government ). When that was over the offense was enough to have the player dismissed from the team…not just suspended. He won’t get any resistance to those tactics in Ohio, they bought shoulder pads and helmets for a decade and never realized there might be something amiss. And don’t forget the $10,000 stereo system in Clarett’s ride. Lots of college students have those.

  6. Scott

    Have you guys noticed the invasion of Australian kickers and punters in college football? We all know about Brad Wing at LSU, but there are a suddenly a bunch of Aussies starting for D1 teams, and they seem to be dominating the stats. LSU now has given a scholarship to Aussie Jamie Keehn, who has never played football before arriving at LSU from Queensland.

    Apparently, the rules of Australian football, where kicking is primary, breeds a lot of good kickers. Its become so trendy, that there are now 7 Australian punters on NFL rosters. ProKick Australia claims to have placed 15 kickers and punters on NCAA rosters this season.

  7. Cojones

    Didn’t know until yesterday that Brice Ramsey is also a kicker and a punter. He does them all (QB , kick, punt) currently and is a viable candidate to continue at Georgia. It will be nice to have a punter who can pull a fake and/ or affect opponent returns in a good way for UGA.

    • Scott

      We should fake a FG and Punt once in a while just to keep the defenses honest. There would be fewer blocked punts and missed FG’s if we did so.