The primary goals of the last two seasons were to fix turnover margin and opponents’ third-down conversion rates. Mission accomplished on both. So it’s good to hear Richt turn his focus to the largest open sore of this season, special teams play (or lack thereof):
“First of all, we know we have got to get better. It’s two things in my opinion that it could be – either what we are doing schematically or its who do we have on those teams. I guess it could be a third thing – are they actually doing what we are asking them to do. In all those areas we must improve. I think there’s going to be a high sense of urgency on our special teams to become more than just decent. We need to become really good. That’s one of the biggest things is that we try to become one of the top teams in the league and the country in special teams play. There will be some very heavy discussions about it.We’ll probably do more special teams work in the spring than we’ve done in the past.[Emphasis added.] We knew we had a great punter, great kicker, holder, snapper and all that kind of thing, but we also knew we had some youth on some of those teams. We lost (Akeem) Dent, (Darryl) Gamble, (Demarcus) Dobbs – I’m trying to think of some of the other guys that were on some of these guys that were on that punt team – they were guys that could protect, escape and run and tackle a guy in the open field. We lost a batch of those guys and we were a little shy on linebacker depth and all that kind of thing, so we just have to keep recruiting those kinds of guys. If we got to put a bunch of starters on defense on some specials or starters at wide receiver or whatever you got to do – tailback. I don’t care what position, we got to get the best guys out there and understand how crucial it is.”
I agree that personnel was some of the problem. But kickoff coverage missed Belin’s attention this season, no question about it. There’s a lot Richt has to look at if this team is to make the next level in 2012. The good news is that his recent track record at addressing shortcomings makes this promising.