One thing Mark Richt should add to his offseason to do list.

If Coach Richt is indeed serious about taking the reins of special teams coaching next year, then he needs to find a way to spend some up close and personal time with Mike Priefer.

Who is Mike Priefer, you ask?  Priefer is the Minnesota Vikings special teams coach.  He’s also the guy who was confident this past summer that he could fix what ailed Blair Walsh during Walsh’s last year in Athens.  Turns out he was dead on about that.

Walsh set team records for field goals of at least 50 yards in a game (three) and a season (eight). He also increased his team record for kickoff touchbacks by six to 47 in 14 games. And, oh yeah, with two games left in the season, his eight 50-yarders tied the league single-season record held by NFL all-time scoring leader Morten Andersen (1995) and Lions kicker Jason Hanson (2008).

Walsh is 29-32 on field goals this year.  He was 21-35 in that department his senior season.  I’d call that pretty dramatic improvement.  You can either chalk it up to Walsh getting his love life under control, or Priefer knowing what he’s talking about.

“He was rushing every kick,” Priefer said. “Every kick he missed, he hit them well, but he was much too fast with his get off time. I don’t know if that was what he was coached to do, maybe that’s what he wanted to do.

“Usually you watch the ball get snapped to start (the) approach. I have him watching the holder’s hands. When the holder lifts up his left hand, that’s when he’s going. That’s what I’ve been coaching for years.”

Me, I’m picking the latter.

And while Richt is on the road talking with kicking gurus, his punter wouldn’t mind if he’d find somebody in that department whose brain could be picked.

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “One thing Mark Richt should add to his offseason to do list.

  1. The other Doug

    Can Richt send video of our special teams to an expert and get advice without the expert counting as a coach? Seems like we could spend $100k on a consultant and fix most of our problems.

  2. Derek

    While we have coaches assigned to various sp. team units as far as I’m aware, the kickers are on their own. The ncaa staff limit doesnt allow for it. Maybe richt can hire one of those non-coach coaches like Saban has for this purpose.

  3. Uglydawg

    The special teams were much improved over 2011, don’t you think? Except for place kicking always being an adventure, I thought the coverage on kickoffs and punts went pretty well. The punter showed progress week to week. There is always room for improvement, and I think we saw it this year. I would experiment with LeMay as a kick returner. He’s should have all the tools..decision making, good hands, speed and scrambling..to be a good returner.

    • When it comes to special teams, 2011 was the mother of all low bars.

    • The Lone Stranger

      You are surmising on Uriah and not Christian, yes? I cannot imagine a guy who is tryng for QB for two years to take on PR duties. Of course, you would have precedent there with everyone’s favorite punt-safe man, Logan Gray.

  4. IveyLeaguer

    FWIW, I correctly diagnosed Walsh’s problem several months before Priefer, back in late September 2011. And I’d be willing to consult with Georgia for roughly half of that $100K.
    ~~~

  5. BobbyPeru

    Being “much too fast with your get off time” will give you woman trouble every time. *rimshot

  6. stoopnagle

    Seems this is a ripe area for hiring some athletic department staff who aren’t coaches. But are. But aren’t because we don’t call them that.

  7. Spike

    Bennett, Coutu et al. didn’t seem to have the problems Walsh had. Maybe it was Walsh and not the coaches.

    • Ginny

      Walsh didn’t seem to have much of a problem himself until his last year. Strange for sure.

      • Debby Balcer

        I am sure once he started missing part of it was in his head. Kids can consult experts and go to clinics in the off season but Blair imploded during the season.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          My son was a kicker in HS. He had excellent games and has struggled. Lot of things in play in order for a kicker to succeed. He relates a kick to a golf swing. Sometimes you just lose your swing and have to find it.

      • Cojones

        Correct, Virginia. He and Butler made consensus first team SEC and US in 2011 preseason polls for the job they did in 2010.

        I think the girlfriend headcase is given higher priority instead of the coaching, although someone in addition to Ivey Leaguer should have caught the change he had made to his right leg over the change to his middle leg.

  8. Irishdawg

    Have you guys seen the Falcons’ special teams the last few years? They’re outstanding. Richt should call them up the day the NFL season ends

    • Cojones

      Why not before the bowl game? It’s a tricky business with the consulting vs NCAA and the psychological drama in CFB kicking. Would Morton be able to get pointers from there during the summer.? It certainly hasn’t hurt the Falcon’s efforts.

      Does anyone want to offer their sister or female Dawg fan to make a few trips to FU during the summer, shag their kicker and then dump him just before the WLOCP? Might be worth 6 points. That is, assuming he is heterosexual.

  9. AlphaDawg

    I see no reason why Morton Anderson or Kevin Butler cannot be the highest paid janitor at Butts-Mehre?

  10. opinion

    maybe homer smith wrote a book on it

  11. Ron

    If we only had a former All-American kicker with experience in instructing young kids on the art of kicking….. Will Kick For Food

  12. Go Dawgs!

    Kansas State has a dedicated special teams coach (Sean Snyder) and the Wildcats had the best special teams in FBS this season. Composition of Kansas State’s coaching staff: Head Coach, 4 offensive coaches, 4 defensive coaches, and a special teams coach. Instead of having a dedicated tight ends coach (responsible for 3 scholarship players), the wide receivers coach (or running backs coach in Kansas State’s case) can coach the tight ends (they both block and catch, right?) to free up a dedicated special teams coach.

    If you can’t stomach giving up a dedicated tight ends coach for a special teams coach, you can go Alabama’s way: they have 7 paid “Football Analysts” on their staff in addition to complement their 10 football coaches.

    Last, freshman PK Marshall Morgan could use some help as he missed 4 PATs and only made 2 of his last 6 FG attempts.

    • cube

      The problem Richt has is that John Lilly (TE coach) can’t coach special teams. Richt values him very highly for recruiting purposes and has made the determination that it is worth the tradeoff of not having a special teams coach (or another defensive coach**). Not saying I agree or disagree. Just saying that’s why our staff is constructed the way it is.

      Ideally, tight ends would be coached by both the o-line coach and the wide receivers coach.

      ** Including Richt, we have 6 offensive coaches. We only have 4 defensive coaches (and 1 of them is also the recruiting coordinator).

      • 69Dawg

        +1000 We value recruiting above everything else. Rodney is not a great Dline coach, but can recruit. Now we have Lilly who is not even a good TE coach must less a Special Team coach but was hired as Rodney’s recruiting backup and CMR’s insurance if Rodney took a powder. No wonder we are great recruiting but can’t coach them up. If that massive Dline of ours could not stop Alabama and TAM could, we are in serious trouble going forward. The way Saban’s Analysts work is they do all the film work and free up the field coaches for coaching and recuriting. They give the field coaches detailed info on the players and let the field coaches fix the problems.