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.