Keeping the special in special teams

I mentioned earlier in the week my concern about the big day Auburn’s special teams had against Tennessee last Saturday, although, to be fair, Seth Emerson notes that the punt return matchup is pretty competitive.

Georgia may need to win Saturday’s game in an offensive shootout, but there’s another reason to discourage the Bulldogs from punting: Chris Davis.

The senior defensive back leads the nation in punt return yardage, averaging 24.1 yards per return, with one touchdown.

Georgia’s punt defense has actually been pretty good (4.11 yards per opponent return, ranking 18th in the country).

That of course assumes they get the punt off safely.  But we’ll save that discussion for another day.

But it’s also worth noting that the Vols fell victim to something that’s going to sound awfully familiar to us Dawg fans – loading up the coverage teams with green, non-starting players.

Safety LaDarrell McNeil was the only defensive starter on the field for Grant’s return. That kickoff team included true freshmen Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Lemond Johnson and Malik Foreman; redshirt freshmen Drae Bowles and Tino Thomas, walk-on safety Max Arnold, third-string tailback Tom Smith and reserve linebackers John Propst and Raiques Crump.

Linebacker Dontavis Sapp and cornerback Justin Coleman were the defensive starters on the field for Davis’s score. Crump and Reeves-Maybin are also on that unit, along with nickelbacks Devaun Swafford and JaRon Toney, a walk-on and former walk-on. Linebacker Greg King, defensive tackle Danny O’Brien and guard Dylan Wiesman make up the punter’s shield.

Georgia’s not as guilty of doing that as it used to be.  Remember classics like this?

That’s not a Georgia punt, but it’s the same principle.  (That’s freshman Nick Marshall with the spectacular whiff on Ingram, by the way.)

The Dawgs have got to avoid getting burned on special teams this Saturday.  Got to.



Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

38 responses to “Keeping the special in special teams

  1. godawg

    Can’t we just NOT kick to Auburn’s returners? Punt the ball out of bounds. If you can’t kick-off the ball through the end zone, then kick-off out of bounds. The ball on the 35 is better than giving up more points on special teams. Every time ST come out on the field, I’m scared to death of what I might see. …saints preserve us….


  2. Must…it is a must this weekend! Remember when Larry used to say “He’s just a walk on folks…A WALK ON…… If we don’t hire a special teams coach by this spring……….


    • Sanford222view

      How come every time someone states his/her desire for an ST Coordinator they fail to mention which position coach they want to let go to make room for the ST coach?


      • 69Dawg

        Ok Good bye Coach Lilly.


        • Rocket Dawg

          That is just an idiotic statement. Coach Lilly has steadily produced outstanding TE’s as well as serving as the de facto Recruiting Coordinator with the departure of Rodney Garner. In case you haven’t noticed the Dawgs are poised to land another top 5 class this year.

          A pure ST coordinator is a waste of a position, add it to the duties of Coach O or Coach Lilly


        • RandallPinkFloyd

          Yeah, coach Lilly isn’t one of our top recruiters or anything. He definitely deserves to be kicked to the curb.

          This drives me nuts as well. People are so adamant about hiring a ST coordinator without mentioning the fact that we have to fire a position coach.


      • CMR said last week, that we are going to hire a special teams coach. It is a very important addition to our staff. He said there’s a long line of folks waiting for the call.


  3. Where was the whiff by Marshall? The one at the 40 yard line was Boykin. I don’t know if he just underestimated Ingram’s speed or what, but to have a DL run by a CB like that was embarrassing. Of course, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to hit a man that big who was running that fast either. That’s a lot of inertia to stop. 🙂


    • Dog in Fla

      All who missed the tackle on Melvin knew that:
      a. Force equals Mass (276 metric pounds) times Velocity squared, and
      b. Discretion is the better part of valor


  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    Something I have been wondering….did Bobby have a special teams coach at FSU? I vaguely remember some problems for the Noles in that area.


    • I’m pretty sure the answer is no. I’m almost certain I’ve read in places that Richt does things the way he does because that’s how Bowden handled it, and he felt like it worked well.

      FSU had their “Wide Right” issues, but I don’t remember a lot of issues like poor coverage, bad snaps, etc. But then, I’m doing well to remember what happened last week, so there may have been some things I don’t remember with them.


      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I can live with “the Bobbies” on special teams, I just wish Mark would find his Mickey. ya know?


        • No kidding, especially when you look at FSU’s D this year. They’re defying all conventional wisdom…………they lost a ton of talent, almost as much as we did, which means they should have taken a step back. They’re also their first year under a new defensive coordinator, which means they should have taken another step back. But their D has been rock solid this year.


  5. Beer Money

    One thing I liked in the UF game was intentionally aiming kickoffs high and semi-short to avoid the big return. On the one we put into the EZ, the Gators had their best return of the day. I wouldn’t mind seeing the same thing. And interestingly enough, it looked like App St deployed a similar strategy for their 3 kickoffs last week.

    As for punts, I agree, just kick it out of bounds. If we did not learn from kicking it right to Honey Badger 2 years ago, we may never learn.


    • I hate that shit, though it did seem to work. I’d send Lilly to Europe and Australia to find a kid who plays soccer or Aussie Rules Football who wants to go to school in the states. It’s worth a schollie (in my opinion) to find a kid who does nothing but kickoff through the end zone.


  6. Are you sure that stat is correct? Gotta be kick off return average, right? No way the dude for AUB is averaging 24 YPR on punts, unless he has a VERY small sample size. According to CFB stats, no AUB player in the top 100 in KO return average, and Quan Bray is 56th in punt returns averaging 5.08 per return.

    Side note: The guy who lit up UGA from N.Texas is No. 1 in the nation in punt returns.


  7. JT

    UT’s punt coverage scheme looked horrible to me, wide splits opening huge lanes for the punt returner, a failed scheme in my opinion.


  8. AusDawg85

    Drive. Score. No punts. Problem solved.


  9. Bryant Denny

    Senator, were any of UGA’s injured players involved on special teams?

    I know Sunseri’s loss has indeed had an effect on Alabama’s kickoff coverage.



    • Off the top of my head, I believe Lynch and Rome play. Mitchell would have been the primary returner had he stayed healthy. Harvey-Clemons plays on STs.

      There are probably more, but they’re not ringing a bell with me right now.


    • Gravidy

      Justin Scott-Wesley hurt his knee while on punt coverage. He changed direction at the last minute trying not to hit the returner. Freak injury.


  10. charlottedawg

    Never Punt, always on side kick. Problem solved.


  11. Athens Townie

    Anyone notice Richt out at almost midfield around the 0:32 mark? What was he doing? Did he throw his stuff that far out on the field during that play?



  12. SCDawg

    Damn it, I can’t believe you made me watch that play again. Did anyone in the stadium not know they were faking it there? Everyone in my section was screaming “Watch the fake!” at the top of their lungs. Maybe Richt did and the team didn’t and that’s why he threw his stuff so far out onto the field?


  13. Dial it up to the 1:55 mark. Conservative CMR in the first quarter. Turn off the sound. NSFW> Too bad we missed that OSC previously against the OBC. “Nawww, they kicked our tails up and down the field … we couldn’t stop them.”


  14. I Wanna Red Cup

    Does Tenn have a special teams coach? If so, he should be fired.