This sort of came out of the blue.
The competition is ongoing but Richt indicated junior walkon Adam Erickson remains the No. 1 punter ahead of sophomore Collin Barber.
“He’s won the punting job,” Richt said. “They’re still competing for it on a weekly basis, but he’s outright won the job. Collin’s got his work cut out for him to beat him out.”
Erickson, a graduate of Athens’ Clarke Central High, started against Georgia Tech and has punted sporadically throughout the season. He enters the bowl game averaging 41.8 yards on nine punts.
Given that Richt rather famously tends to give his kickers every chance in the world to work their way out of slumps, Barber getting the hook like that speaks volumes about what his coach is willing to tolerate. The question is whether that solely relates to Barber, or if it’s an indication of a broader change in attitude about special teams play. Maybe it’s worth noting that Richt is throwing the return jobs up for grabs in the spring.