You know one thing Mark Richt really cares about?

Kickers.

At Georgia, Richt has enjoyed tremendous success with his kickers, using just three designated starters over his entire 11-year tenure. Former Bulldog Blair Walsh (2008-11), a fifth-round draft pick by the Vikings this spring, finished his career with an SEC-record 412 points, three points ahead of Richt’s first kicker, Billy Bennett (’00-03); the two sandwiched Brandon Coutu (’04-07). Knowing Walsh’s career was coming to a close, Richt made it a recruiting emphasis last year to “go find the best kicker in America,” personally watching tape of every top kicker in the South[Emphasis added.]  He made his first and only offer to Morgan, out of South Florida’s American Heritage High and ranked seventh nationally by Rivals.com.

Now if somebody could just explain how Jon Fabris fits in with all that, I’d really appreciate it.

58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

58 responses to “You know one thing Mark Richt really cares about?

  1. AusDawg85

    Before the day is out, somebody’s going to complain about why CMR does not have any back-up kicker’s on scholly since we have some many extra to hand out.

  2. gastr1

    SENATOR….he wants to get the best kicker so he don’t gotta coach ‘em!
    And I say that only half-jokingly.

    • 69Dawg

      +1 It took the Viking’s Special Team coach 2 minutes to correct what he was doing wrong at UGA. Sad comment on our program.

      • Puffdawg

        Didn’t realize Blair had played any games to prove himself since he left UGA.

        • HobnailedBoots

          Exactly. Blair routinely nailed all his warm up kicks. Doing it in practice and doing it in a game are two entirely different animals, and Blair has yet to show he has fixed his mental problems with kicking in a game.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I don’t know if Blair Walsh’s girlfriend dumped him or not as has been speculated on this blog and elsewhere–I give little or no credence to that story as an explanation for his decent from the lofty heights of All-America kicker to missing with regularity. I do believe the explanation put forward by the Vikings ST coach, however. Walsh was rushing his field goal attempts, especially the long ones. That gets back to confidence in the O-line. Now the Vikings are so confident in Walsh they let their other kicker go.

        • Cojones

          He hasn’t, of course. The Vikings coach who “corrected” his problem is reaching out to Walsh’s old girl friend to correct his mental state. Hope she doesn’t kiss him off before game time. Legs can get as stiff as other body parts in that Minn cold.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            Whoa …. Cojones! You’ve been away from that arena too long! It’s when it gets warm that it gets stiff. Ever been skinny dipping in a pool in April. Well then…….

            • Cojones

              You should try fellacio from a woman who has cold wine in her mouth. It’s a summer treat. Dilation keeps the blood vessels constricted through the promotion of cyclic AMP production.

              There’s nothing like science, booze and sex on a hot afternoon.

        • Puffdawg

          For the record I’m hoping more than anybody Blair can fix his issues. And if he does, I’ll happily eat my words. He was a damn good dog. That said, I was pointing out the absurdity of denigrating our coaching staff based on some preseason happy talk from an NFL special teams coach. Whatever fits the agenda, man!

          • IveyLeaguer

            It was a rhythm thing, similar to a rush in a golf swing that results in a pull. A perfect example was Walsh’s last game vs. MSU. He missed one FG badly with the pull and then overcompensated the game-winner attempt and left it out right.

            I recognized it early last year and so did my brother, who’s a golf pro. Shame we couldn’t fix it. It’s something that should have been picked up pretty quick. Nothing that complicated about it.

            I’m not out to blame anybody, just pointing out that what the coach at Minnesota recognized was not something difficult to see. It was a simple thing, really. That’s why the Vikings were comfortable letting their veteran kicker go, and taking Walsh. There wasn’t much risk, because the problem was an easy thing to fix.

            I expect Walsh will be just fine in the pros.
            ~~~

            • Rhino

              And how do any of us know that our coaches did not point out this “easy thing to fix?” Maybe even repeatedly.

              • IveyLeaguer

                Good question. We don’t have any way of “knowing” what the coaches did or didn’t do. But it’s an easy assumption to make.

                Walsh is a bright guy, and he knows a lot about kicking and technique. He’s had some really good coaches apart from Georgia. The thing is, even though it’s something most expert observers should see, more often than not it’s a thing the kicker himself can tell, because he can’t feel it.

                And even though it’s relatively easy for an independent observer to see, quite often it’s hard for the player himself to see on film.

                Just like when it happens in golf. The advanced golfer cannot usually tell when he’s rushing or ‘going too hard’ at the ball. His timing and his swing is off, and his shots erratic because of it, yet he can’t feel it, and often can’t see it on film.

                I don’t think Walsh ever knew it. If he did, it would’ve been relatively easy to fix, with someone watching him that knew what they were doing. Just like in golf.
                ~~~

                • LRGK9

                  Walsh stated he watched film and sent film to his Fl professional academy coach and had personal sessions with him. This is the same guy who taught him and mentored him personally and the two of them together couldn’t spot it? I have a golf hook, played with it for years. I know what causes it and know how to stop it. But dang if I still don’t hook it or pull it slightly 80% of the time. Can not get that sucker to fade on a dogleg right for love nor money. My two brothers are negative handicappers and so was my dad – but I still have a hook no matter how much they tell me what’s wrong.

                  Time will tell…

                  • Mayor of Dawgtown

                    Turn your left hand a little more to the left so the “v” points more toward your right eye rather than the right shoulder. Also, be sure to start the downswing with your lower body.

                    • Silver Creek Dawg

                      I think you mean right hand Mac.

                      As a former golf pro, you are talking about weakening the grip and getting the “v”s pointed more towards the chin (the neutral position). The “v”s need to be in a neutral position (pointing towards the chin) at impact to hit the ball straight.

                  • IveyLeaguer

                    Yeah, it’s possible to know it and not be able to do anything about it. I agree. What we do know for sure is that Walsh was doing it, and kept on doing it. Mental/nerves could be a part of it, but somehow I doubt that was the main problem.

                    No way to know what went on with his longtime FL coach. What film was he sent? If the coach was sent many of the kicks I saw, including some extra points, it’s hard to believe he didn’t recognize it. But sometimes coaches outcoach themselves and their student.

                    I find it very interesting that Walsh continued on with the problem through December and it became worse, as the Bowl game was it’s worst manifestation of the year. Without it, he could have easily won that game for us.

                    Even more interesting, was as soon as he worked out for the Vikings coach, the problem disappeared. That’s why I suspect they never really nailed the problem before then.
                    ~~~

                    • Cojones

                      They could both have spotted every thing wrong with every bad kick and because of other parameters (Nerves, lack of focus at impact, depression from girlfriend problems) influencing each kick, no solution was forthcoming. Everyone who is a fan and watches football and kickers sees those slight differences even in the Pros. TV plays them back in slow motion. Miami/FSU games for several years were determinede by the final kick. FSU’s kicker, especially, didn’t suddenly know what was wrong with his kicking style, rather it was a result of great pressure that probably accounted for those misses.

                      Those are all normal for kickers and Walsh’s downfall is highlighted above the normal by our faith he had built up in the good year. Look closely. He had problems of the same sort before last year, it just hurt more for our disappointment in the big and winnable games.

                      I feel sure that Richt and staff saw the problems with the misses, but couldn’t go onto the field and try to kick it for him. Walsh’s problem is much to do over nothing in that you can’t control a kicker’s head or foot. It’s entirely on his back. It wasn’t training because he had already convinced us that he was good and the misses were sporadic until the end of last year.

                      IL, your answering post was good except for saying the Vikings have solved his problem. Those pronouncements could have been made by UGA coaches every time Walsh improved after missing a few. The proof will be in his onfield kicking during Viking games and especially the more important ones where his leg is responsible for winning.

                      As to your golf swing, try the old trebble-hook-in-the-testicles cure. Before you do, learn how to bend over and hit it with a coke bottle like Lee Trevino used to do (that is, until you can learn to stand upright after the trebble hook cure).

                    • IveyLeaguer

                      You could be right, but I just don’t think they were all over it in Athens. Kicking is certainly more mental than anything else, once you acquire the ability.

                      And it could have been an outside influence or just Walsh’s own mental hangup, and that’s all it was. But I still suspect it was a more subtle thing.

                      Either way, the fix is the same. My take last year was, and remains, the same as the Vikings coach. We’ll see what how he does this year in the pros.

                      As for my golf swing, I passed through those stages long ago, thankfully.
                      ~~~

      • AthensHomerDawg

        How do we know it is corrected…….. you might be premature. Being premature is never good. No matter what your doing. ;-)

  3. Rebar

    Can’t blame Coach Richt for this; he would have had 2 more National Championships at Florida State if they had a good field goal kicker!

  4. AthensHomerDawg

    “Now if somebody could just explain how Jon Fabris fits in with all that, I’d really appreciate it.”
    Well…. no clue. Have we all held on to somebody that worked for us too long. I have. Old School? It’s not like Fabris is bereft of accomplishments.
    “Fabris coached Georgia’s defensive ends from 2001-09. Sporting News recognized him as the best position coach in the Southeastern Conference in 2009 and Rivals.com honored him as one of the top 20 national recruiters in 2008.

    During his tenure in Athens, the Bulldogs won 90 games, including two SEC Championships, three SEC Eastern Division titles and six bowl games. UGA also boasted six top 10 finishes in the final national polls, including No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002.

    Seven of the top 12 UGA players in career sacks were players he coached and three different times his defensive ends led the SEC in sacks (2002, 2004 and 2007).

    He mentored one of the most decorated players in Bulldogs history, David Pollack. In 2004, Pollack was named a first team All-American for the third straight time, SEC Player of the Year for the second time and captured several of the nation’s most prestigious defensive awards: the Rotary Lombardi Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Ted Hendricks Award (second straight year) and the Ronnie Lott Trophy.

    Fabris also helped Charles Grant (2001), Pollack (2002-04), Quentin Moses (2005), Charles Johnson (2006) and Justin Houston (2009) earn All-SEC honors, while Marcus Howard was voted the most valuable player of the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

    From 2001-08, Georgia was the only punt return team in the nation to finish in the top 15 six times, recording six of the top 10 punt return averages in school history. Under Fabris, the Bulldogs set single-season school records for punt return average (17.6), punt return yards (746), blocked punts (five) and tied a school record with three punt returns for a touchdown.

    Fabris coached Georgia’s defensive ends from 2001-09. Sporting News recognized him as the best position coach in the Southeastern Conference in 2009 and Rivals.com honored him as one of the top 20 national recruiters in 2008.

    During his tenure in Athens, the Bulldogs won 90 games, including two SEC Championships, three SEC Eastern Division titles and six bowl games. UGA also boasted six top 10 finishes in the final national polls, including No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002.

    Seven of the top 12 UGA players in career sacks were players he coached and three different times his defensive ends led the SEC in sacks (2002, 2004 and 2007).

    He mentored one of the most decorated players in Bulldogs history, David Pollack. In 2004, Pollack was named a first team All-American for the third straight time, SEC Player of the Year for the second time and captured several of the nation’s most prestigious defensive awards: the Rotary Lombardi Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Ted Hendricks Award (second straight year) and the Ronnie Lott Trophy.

    Fabris also helped Charles Grant (2001), Pollack (2002-04), Quentin Moses (2005), Charles Johnson (2006) and Justin Houston (2009) earn All-SEC honors, while Marcus Howard was voted the most valuable player of the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

    From 2001-08, Georgia was the only punt return team in the nation to finish in the top 15 six times, recording six of the top 10 punt return averages in school history. Under Fabris, the Bulldogs set single-season school records for punt return average (17.6), punt return yards (746), blocked punts (five) and tied a school record with three punt returns for a touchdown. ”
    He did embarrass uSC’s Mr. Mumbles with an on side kick …. back in the day.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Hey…AHD….you not sposed to point out the facts of the matter, I woulda thought you knew that.

      +1

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Good people sometimes just turn to sh!t for no apparent reason. Fabris needed to go. It was time when CMR fired him.

  5. Jeff Sanchez

    The “Field Goal Jesus” nickname didn’t come out of nowhere….

  6. Cosmic Dawg

    Got to love the special teams angst in the 2010 GTP comments section. I am also curious with A-Dawg about our back up kickers….uh, you do have a back up…don’t you? Coach?

  7. WarD Eagle

    Gotta poke fun here.

    Watching film of all the top kickers in the south might not be that impresive.

    Daily dump, iPad, 2 weeks?

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    So kicking is on autopilot and won’t be a problem for the next 4 years. As Forrest Gump would say “one less thing to worry about”.

  9. In 2008 against FU, Walsh on his first homecoming game (he is from the state of Florida) missed some of field goals that just added misery to the Dawgs that day. Maybe it is more in his cranium than in his limbs.

    • Macallanlover

      That is my guess too Eric, the coaches didn’t suddenly go dumb in 2012. Walsh had kicking figured out just fine his first two years, staggered a little in year 3,imo, and fell apart in year 4. This is much more of a confidence issue which leads to tweaks in mechanics and set up that get you too far from where you were initially that you cannot find the majic again. Happens to golfers all the time, and I feel kicking is pretty similar to golf at a point because so much of it a repetitive actions driven by mental concentration. I don’t blame the coaches at all for his Senior year demise, just wish Bogatay had been used more while Walsh solved his issues. I hope he regains his form in the pros, but I am more anxious about Mr. Morgan. CMR has made good choices so far, only Bailey and Bogatay were busts.

  10. UGA76

    whatever happened with Brandon Coutu? I thought he was still in the NFL? I always thought he had a strong leg and his accuracy was good over 50 yards.

  11. Hobnail_Boot

    An I the only One who hasn’t been able to forget Andy Bailey?

    • Merk

      The last time we lost to Vandy was because Coutu was hurt and the back up had to come in. If I recall he missed 1-2 kicks that would have won the game….That back-up, none other than Andy Bailey.

      • Jrod1229

        ‘Great’ Andy Bailey moment.. so in the shitshow the was the first 10 games of the 06 year (the last two weeks were fun), my senior year sadly, I tried to make just about every roadgame. So there I am, lounging away in the endzone of the UK game in Lexington, watching us find a new way to lose to a shitty team (didn’t they tear the goalposts down?)..

        4th Qtr rolls around.. not much really happening on the field, we’re driving the ball.. all of a sudden a football lands right next to me in the bleachers, literally almost takes me out.. everyone is wondering where it came from.. look towards the sidelines and none other than Andy ‘mofo’ Bailey missed the practice net on kick. Seriously.

        I then string together a booze filled curse word laced tirade only to have two ‘older people’ turn around and inform me that was their son.. I said something a bit more inappropriate to follow, they left, and Andy Bailey went on to have his kicked block and we lost.

        tl;dr – Andy Bailey blows.

        • Macallanlover

          They did indeed tear the goal posts down. I was with some UK friends in their sky box above that end zone and went outside to watch. I had never seen that before and was amazed at the enthusiasm of the UK fans. We definitely gave that one away but it eased the pain somewhat knowing we had brought such joy to fans who don’t have that much to cheer for. And you have to give credit to Kentucky for continuing to get back in that game, a team with their history could have easily laid down and saved their energy for the coeds. My UK friends were not happy because they felt it saved Brooks’ job and they were looking forward to a new beginning. Not sure Joker is the answer though.

  12. Lee M

    Senator do you think that Richt’s emphasis on a elite FG kicker (notice I didn’t say KO kicker) has something to do with his time at FSU and the wide right and wide left fiascos that cost them a lot of big games and has haunted FSU fans for a while. Uga has avoided FG blunder for the most part until this past year obviously.