Beyond Logan Gray

Kirk Ferentz, burned by a Michigan State fake punt, is ready to take measures that sound both extreme and familiar (if you’re a Georgia fan, at least):

If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never return a punt again, just because when you do that, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them,” he said. “When you do that, you open the door (to a fake). Michigan State did a pretty good job of taking advantage of it, to their credit.

“What helped us a couple of weeks ago we paid for on Saturday and cost us a field goal and a possession. So, yeah, I may be leaning towards where you never see us try to return one again. We may just try to catch it and keep it off the ground.

Maybe Richt’s started a trend.

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UPDATE:  On a related note, catch Spencer Hall’s attribution to Logan Gray in this post.  LOL.

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30 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

30 responses to “Beyond Logan Gray

  1. Ben

    I wonder if anyone has crunched the numbers on this one. It’s not as fun and appealing as “always go for it on fourth down,” like some other football statistician favorites, but maybe it has some merit.

  2. Dog in Fla

    Reggie Davis disagrees

  3. adam

    Maybe the NCAA will deem punts unsafe and make an effort to get rid of them, kind of like they did with kickoffs when they moved them up 5 yards.

  4. David K

    You have to play to the situation. If you have a team stopped inside their 25 or so and they’re punting there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t set up a return and have a talented return man back. You block the coverage guys and give your return man some time to make the catch and switch the field. Playing it safe and settling for the fair catch is just bad football. Now, if the opponent is closer to mid-field, sure, it makes sense to watch for the fake and settle for the safe fair catch.

  5. SCDawg

    I have fond memories of Thomas Flowers and a few others returning punts for TD’s during the Richt era. In fact, it used to be every time an opponent punted backed up in its own territory, I wondered whether we might take it to the house (or whether we were going to block it).

    Haven’t thought that way in years, though. At first, I just thought we were going to get a fake run on us. Now I worry about whether we can even field the punt cleanly. Also, I guess now I’ll worry about us being called for delay of game…

  6. fuelk2

    I’m trying to beat this particular drum without much success. When your offense is really efficient and your defense is terrible, you have one goal when the other team punts – to put your offense on the field and defense on the sideline on the next play. I’ll trust Murray and co to move the ball much more than I will the punt return team.

  7. Well I disagree with always fair catching. There are times when it is appropriate of course. But even the best hands in the game can whiff a fair catch return. Just ask LSU’s Odell Beckham.

    I think the problem is we just haven’t had a good punt returner in a LONG TIME.

    • how do you know that? we’ve probably had tons of good returners but they ride the bench. if your philospohy is to fair catch / not get studs hurt then you probably aren’t putting in the most capable ppl to return punts. id like to think gurley would be an excellent punt returner. but we don’t utlize him as such (not saying im against that reasoning). but we have good punt returners, they just don’t return punts.

      • frowertr

        How do I know UGA don’t have a good returner? Well, for starters, we don’t actually HAVE a good returner, do we??

        The joke was always that no one could fair catch as well as Logan Gray. If UGA had had a good returner then don’t you think they would have used him??

        • David K

          No actually I don’t think we’d use him.

          • The play it safe on kickoff crap has only starting happening the last couple of years. UGA has had good punt returners in years past during Richts era. If we had a good one know, I believe, he would be used.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              The fair catching stuff started about 2008-9. You may recall that for a time it seemed almost every time the Dawgs ran back a punt the cheatin’ SEC refs called a block in the back penalty. Some were deserved. Many were not. I always thought that was some sort of payback for the ’07 WLOCP end-zone stomp. 2009 and 2010 were particularly bad. Instead of going public CMR just started having Gray fair catch the ball thereby saving the penalty yards. Why not? The refs weren’t going to let the Georgia returner score anyway. I think CMR has lived out his sentence now, although I still see some really odd things from game officials at UGA games (remember “He stomped his foot” from the UT game?).

        • no, we wouldn’t. or haven’t. like i said, we have great punt returners, they’re just not returning punts

  8. 69Dawg

    Mark has conceited that the punt return coach, whoever he is, can’t coach special teams. He has therefore gone punt safe, we don’t even take the D off the field for most punts now. So when the team punts the guys don’t block for the return. If I’m the returner I’m going to start waving as soon as the ball is kicked. I don’t want to get killed by mistake.

    • CMR is the punt return coach as far as I know. Actually I think it is shared by multiple coaches as UGA doesn’t have a dedicated special teams coach.

      • Sanford222View

        Most teams do NOT have a dedicated Special Teams Coordinator. Why do people always bring this up about UGA? Georgia is not unique by not having one.

        The NCAA only allows ten coaches on the staff including the head coach. Georgia would have to let a position coach go in order to have a dedicated ST Coordinator.

        • frowertr

          That just means UGA is doing less with more as far as special teams go all these years. More coaches = less spectacular special teams play by UGA is how I see it.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          No. Just assign the Special Teams to an existing coach on the staff. Who? Urban Meyer does it himself. So does Frank Beamer. The obvious solution: CMR needs to be Special Teams Co-ordinator himself.

  9. Bright Idea

    I think it depends on whether you have a returner with the knack of shooting straight ahead making the first man miss. The punters UGA have seen so far this season is the reason we have seen no returns. No low, line drive punts. You have to at least fair catch to keep the ball from rolling dead inside the five, setting up your own punt getting blocked in the end zone.

  10. Screw the return… why not go for a block? There are more punt blocks than there are punt return TD’s. It’s also harder to fake a punt when you have ten guys going after it (or you could just overload one side, like a zone-blitz). They aren’t going to run it, so they would be relying on a non-QB to throw a pass (possibly the punter), which is pretty high risk. The times UGA has had someone fake it on them, they were in punt protect anyway. Go after a block and fair catch it on the back end. That’s the best of both worlds.

    • uglydawg

      I like that Trey, but with a catch..(no pun). If you factor in all the times you get a roughing the punter called it most likely negates the wisdom of going for a block every time. I suspect there are more roughing calls than blocked punts. I say, with the offense Georgia has, the best plan is to just get AM and the boys onto the field with the ball.

  11. Go Dawgs!

    Richt infected him at the Outback Bowl.

  12. Dog in Fla

    “UPDATE: On a related note, catch Spencer Hall’s attribution to Logan Gray…”

    That’s just not fair

  13. Macallanlover

    I would have a ount returner back for fair catches and low kicks that run 30 yards if not fielded but I have no problem with limiting punt returns. Just isn’t much of a reward versus the risk. We all love them when they pop one but how many in the last dozen years…..2…maybe three? What I would make mandatory is ANY kickoff to the goal line comes to the 25, no return…ever. I have been watching the results for a year and a half now with teams from every conference and I bet less than 10% get back to the 25, few to the 20. I have seen more block in the back penalties than returns past the 25 and that causes a start inside the 15 usually. Avoid the penalties, injuries, and bad field position; no brainer.