Patience may be a virtue, but even with Mark Richt, there are limits.

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.

29 Comments

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29 responses to “Patience may be a virtue, but even with Mark Richt, there are limits.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Nothing like tying up a scholarship on a back-up punter

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. Barber needs to transfer. He’s not going to be playing again in Athens.

      • Joe Schmoe

        That seems like a bit of a rush to judgement. What is your basis for that statement?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          You don’t need to be Carnak the Magificent to see what is going on here. Why don’t we calendar this discussion for January 2, 2017 or the day Barber transfers, whichever comes first. Then we will both know who was right, eh?

      • He’d be a good kickoff specialist, ala Brett Kirouac once Billy Bennet beat him out.

    • Joe Schmoe

      We have some extra schollies if you haven’t noticed.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        That is part of the problem with the program, Joe. We always seem to have “extra schollies.” What TD is suggesting (as others on this blog have advocated for quite some time) is that maybe it would be better to use ALL our “schollies” on players who actually contribute.

        • Joe Schmoe

          I agree. I was just hinting that the first thing would be to USE all of the schollies. Then we can worry about whether they are all being given to players that are contributing.

          As far as Barber goes, I don’t consider his to be a wasted. He was well thought of when he signed and we needed a punter. No way to know that a walk-on is going to emerge to supplant him at the time.

          • Not only that, he had a good freshman year.

            • And he still booms it. He just has to get quicker. As mentioned above, I’d like him to be kickoff specialist whether he punts or not. He seemed more than capable of consistently sending it 8+ yards deep into the end zone.

              • IveyLeaguer

                Barber has had consistency problems, and even more this year than last.

                In addition to the timing problem, which should never have been a problem, IMO. A little coaching could have fixed that before it became an issue. It wouldn’t have taken much.

                Seems like somebody could have been assigned to check the kicker and punter out for fundamentals before the season and weekly thereafter, and make the corrections and follow-up. It’s not difficult .. even I could do it. A lot of former skill people could do it, and there has to be somebody like that around.

                I don’t get it. Seems like just another detail we didn’t take care of, and it came back to bite us.
                ~~~

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    Do new safeties return punts?

  3. I would have gone into a slump if I had people whiffing on blocks and snapping the ball over my head at the most important points of games, too. Barber was doing a good job until the punt block in Knoxville where he was targeted during the short return.

  4. Baitstand

    Looked to me like the return job was up for grabs on every punt return this season.

  5. Macallanlover

    Sorry, Barber never really wowed us with any phase of the punting game. He wasn’t very long with kicks, didn’t pin a lot of teams down near the goal line and, man, that botched snap down that hit him right in the hands…..
    I hope the competition spurs him to step his game up but I am glad to see improvement. Maybe we were spoiled by Drew Butler but Barber has been very average, actually below average.

    • Check his distance average again on that “wasn’t very long with kicks”. Cause it disagrees.

      • Macallanlover

        You are correct, he is about 2+ yards ahead, could have sworn I saw him in the high 30s. Maybe that was the net return I was looking at (speaking of which, both we, and our opponents, sucked at returning punts.) For all the fair catch complaints, punt returns were not an issue in 2013….unless you count catching them where we had 2 muffs and opponents had one as I recall.

        • IveyLeaguer

          Barber was inconsistent both years, especially this year. And you’re right in that he hasn’t been a good punter at all.
          ~~~

  6. We were spoiled by Drew and his Father, no doubt!

  7. Will Trane

    I posted early in season about Barber. He is too casual in his approach to his duties…too slow, inconsistent, and not dependable in a game. Some players think they are locked in on their scholarships. Once they realize they could be dropped and it is gone, then they might get serious about their game.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Is there a way to place a bet on Barber’s nfl prospects? Because it won’t surprise me if he becomes another Blair Walsh.

    By the way, Walsh consistently kicks it out of the end zone. Wonder what he’d have to say about directional pooch kicks.

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Barber has the talent. Problem is the coaching, and he’s the scapegoat. Similar to all the BS we went through with Walsh. Used up a scholly on Bogotay, then never played him.

    • Joe Schmoe

      There are plenty of examples of players that are on scholarship that don’t contribute at every position and at every school. Some players work out and others don’t. Why would the K position be any different? I didn’t see anyone complain when we gave the scholarship to Bogatay, he just ended up not being the best we had. You want depth at every position including kicker. You can’t be mad at CMR for not placing enough importance on special teams and then bitch when he uses scholarships on kickers.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        I’ll say it again: Its not the kickers, its the coaches. Barber can punt the ball. He’s proved it for a couple seasons now. Sure, he bobbled a punt or 2, but he suffered from a poor blocking scheme and crummy snapping. Easier to scapegoat barber than it is to admit the coaching leaves much to be desired.

        I cite Walsh as a similar example of a coaching failure. Walsh went on to prove CMR’s decision to get Bogotay was wrong. I think barber has the talent to do the exact same thing.

  10. NoAxeToGrind

    You’re kidding, right. Richt losing patience? Saban maybe, but not Richt.

  11. Nashville West

    Changing out a punter on the Dawgs special teams is like moving deck chairs on the Titanic. CMR WE NEED A SPECIAL TEAMS COACH! PLEASE! Until then we’re just fiddling around with over 15% of our game.