Kicking is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.

Evidently Blair Walsh was on his way to figuring out what went wrong his senior year before Minnesota’s special teams coach got involved.

“Honestly I thought I was back once we started the workouts for the (NFL) Combine,” Walsh said. “I was able to figure out what was going on. I had a couple special teams coaches that I talk to tell me what they thought those flaws were. Once we felt the work at the combine and the workouts in Athens, I felt like I was back.”

That being said, Walsh has enough confidence in his coach to pay his way to the Pro Bowl this year.

One big question for the offseason is whether Richt can learn enough about special teams coaching to be there for his kickers in the tough times.  Remember that Walsh suffered through a slump in his freshman year (you know whom I blame for that).  He was tough enough to persevere and record two excellent seasons in his second and third years, but sagged badly in his senior season.  And looking back, it seems like his coaching during the down periods was little more than “you’ll work through it, kid”.

Richt doesn’t need history repeating itself with Marshall Morgan, whose year was erratic enough to catch Walsh’s attention.

“When we’re training I’ll be able to talk to him, and just sort of go over his season with him. And just talk about it,” Walsh said. “I was there for him during the year, and he texted me a few times, and we talked about his games. He’s a good kicker, and I think he’ll have a good career.”

That’s nice, and maybe that could turn out to be enough.  After all, Richt’s had his share of kickers who could self-correct quite nicely.  But what if that’s not how Morgan’s built?

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Kicking is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.

  1. ChicagoDawg

    Serious question, no snark. For all of the discussion around Richt and his special teams, particularly all the references to Blair Walsh this year, what are suggesting they do? Fire one of the existing coaches and hire a dedicated Special Teams who is an expert in that discipline? This very well might be the approach needed, but if so which coach gets his papers?

    • Hackerdog

      I don’t think a dedicated kicking coach is warranted. However, Richt’s approach to special teams to this point reminds me of the movie Waterboy. “Special teams, do some laps.”

      He could probably learn enough about kicking from studying in the offseason to be of some help. Or, he could put his kickers in touch with some outside coaches.

    • 69Dawg

      Retain a kicking consultant ala Alabama. He can watch all the kicks and tell Richt what to tell the kicker. It’s so simple but UGA likes to shoot itself in the foot.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    I sure do wish he’d stop talking about it. The NFL’s convinced, you’re a good kicker. No need to keep talking about why you struggled as a senior. All it’s doing at this point is reminding me of all the missed opportunities last year. Not only does a great deal of the responsibility for the Outback Bowl loss land on his leg, but I really feel like his misses in the Boise State game put us behind the 8 ball in that game, too.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Well the next time maybe Seth won’t pick that as his topic. It’s the off season and I’m sure he’s poking around to try and find an interesting topic. Writers gotta write. But yeah it is kinda like picking at a scab. Rushing his kicks to avoid them being blocked isn’t something a special teams coach is going to fix though.

    • orlandodawg

      My take on it is that if Walsh had been having a stellar year, maybe we kick field goals and lose to Florida instead of converting those fourth down TD passes and winning. At least that’s what I tell myself, so that I can remain a Blair Walsh fan without re-living those maddening misses, especially in the Outback loss.

  3. NC Dawg

    John Kasay seems to have some free time now. With his UGA roots and family connection, maybe he’d help.

  4. Uglydawg

    I’d love to see another season or two where everthing inside the thirty was a given, (and also PATs!), but at the same time I credit some of the evoulution of Georgia’s offense (to the “get ‘er done” mindset that we’ve seen more recently) to CMR’s epiphany that playing it safe and settling for 3 is not a real good strategy. Three points is not the prize for a successful drive…it’s the consolation prize.

  5. Cojones

    Exactly how much coaching was necessary for Walsh to work out his “problem”? A Vikings Coach told him he was rushing his kicks and Walsh fixed it. How much coaching did that entail?

    Now the idea of an “analyst” has been tongue in cheek to many (referencing Bama’s “horde” of analysts), but why not pay a kicking analyst to study film and suggest corrections to Morgan? Question is, since he and Blair have had people working with coaches from HS and during the college off-season and one observation by a Vikings coach found the key, whom do we trust to analyse? Certainly since Walsh’s outside coaches didn’t catch what the problem was; exactly how do we select this analyst?

  6. Russ

    If only we had a former Dawg kicker that made clutch 60 yard field goals in college and has a Super Bowl ring from a stellar pro career living nearby to serve as a consultant….

  7. I’m not an NFL (or any level) scout by any means, but after watching him at pro day, I was pretty convinced that he had it figured out. I have never watched someone kick the ball from that close up, but as a former soccer goalkeeper with delusions that I have a decent leg, my jaw just dropped.

    Obviously he wasn’t wearing pads and was under a different kind of pressure (2 guys with clipboards vs. 95,000 screaming fans), but he was consistently splitting the uprights at 30 yards from the sideline. Very happy for Blair, I didn’t know if he was even gonna get a shot at the next level after his disappointing season, and he goes and has maybe the best rookie season of any NFL kicker in history.