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.