Kicking in the kicking game

Once again, a story about a Georgia special teams player looking outside to fix a problem:

Punter Collin Barber spent the months between spring practices and preseason camp working with his personal kicking coach, Marc Nolan.

“We worked a lot on just my steps and really focusing on my drop, my drop placement,” Barber said. “Just really following through and walking forward. I would kick it and fall off. I worked on kicking it and actually keeping my head down and walking forward through the ball. It really benefited me a lot. That’s what I’m trying to focus on this camp.”

I’m not advocating canning another assistant to open up a spot for a dedicated special teams coach – really, with the current staff, whom would you let go?.  But if the NCAA ever green lights staff expansion, and Richt doesn’t add one then, it would be a case of coaching malpractice.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

22 responses to “Kicking in the kicking game

  1. Bulldogjay

    My question is how common is this for kickers across the nation? My guess is that it is fairly common and not just a local problem. How many “dedicated special teams coaches” have the knowledge to help a punter and a place kicker with this very technical training?

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    • Lakatos Intolerant

      During my time at Georgia, I was fortunate enough to play intramural soccer with Bennett, Ely-Kelso, Coutu and Bailey – all really good soccer players as you might imagine – and kicking technique, especially place kicking, is very difficult to master. In order to get the proper technique on place kicks (which will give you the end-over-end rotation), you have to essentially keep your leg/knee cap straight while turning your foot outward at a 45 degree angle. Give it a try…not very easy. And because kickoffs require greater distance and are sitting up a bit, a different leg/foot contortion is needed. Throw in footwork, approach, timing, pressure, elements, and it’s very easy (at least for me) to understand how shanked field goals and botched punts happen. You have basically a second or two to make sure you get everything right.

      So to answer your question, my guess is very few programs have the requisite technical guidance on staff…thus the reason all these outside coaches are used.

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      • Russ

        I reject your use of logic and epersonal experience in this argument! This is the internet, dammit!

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      • tbia

        I blocked a cross from Gordon with my face. Beautiful defensive play I made if I do say so myself, but my 40 something year old self decided that would be the last competitive soccer game I would ever play.

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  2. tbia

    But this was never a topic of conversation when Murray went to California and worked with quarterback guru George Whitfield.

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  3. Chuck

    Well, if you wanted to file a lawsuit for coaching malpractice, you certainly have access to a plethora of expert witnesses. So there’s that. 😉

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  4. Cojones

    Doesn’t matter to me that he uses a personal coach. In today’s kicking world, it ain’t “wind up and kick hell out of it” as it used to be. As much as we criticized the spot kicking and other (mis)uses of the past kicking weapon, that’s but the beginning of a good kicker’s repertoire. Hang time , consistent ball drop/foot contact, angles, follow through, accuracy; all are as important as distance and require more knowledge than is available on most college coaching staffs. Don’t think anyone on staff should be embarrassed unless they are hired as kicking coach only.

    Quite the contrary, I admire his desire to become the best finesse kicker that UGA can put on the field. Would imagine that the pros care less about his personal distance average, but would rely on his longest kicks. Let Rodrigo kick the hell out of it if that’s the only outcome desired, but Collin’s “educated” kicks will probably be more in demand as the season goes on. Rodrigo to back’em up and Barber to put’em in a hole. We may appreciate Barber more in the Bama and (Tenn?) games where finesse may be worth a couple of tds and his accuracy gives us 3-pointers. Anything to prevent the game-costing whiffs experienced in the SC game.

    The story about the L-M kicker hitting one at 70 yds doesn’t always translate into accuracy and repetitiveness. I’m sure Rodrigo can kick one from that distance also, but we won’t let him try to prove that if a game is on the line. Gimme Barber and his personal kicking coach.

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  5. DawgPhan

    Dont we have several special teams coaches and analyst at this point? I thought that the coaches split up the special teams duties and we hired some analyst to help.

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  6. Mark Richt should be the ST coach.

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  7. Bulldog Joe

    That’s great news. Drew Butler did the same thing before his sophomore year.

    He had an All-American season and won the Ray Guy award.

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  8. The other Doug

    Isn’t this the best way to handle kicking technique issues? It would be nice if the school could reimburse him for the cost though.

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  9. 69Dawg

    Kicking a ball through the uprights from 50+ yards out is damn hard. The special teams coaches even on the pro teams are not former kickers. Kickers have to be taught by kickers. A Special Teams coach is there to take care of the blocking and tackling on the punts, kickoffs, FG’s and extra points. Look no further back than Blair Walsh to see what a shitty special team effort can do to even the best kicker. It took the Minnesota ST coach 30 seconds to know that Blair was rushing his kicks, because he was in fear of them being blocked. I say you should have a kickoff specialist, we have before. The KO specialist should have one goal, kick the damn ball out of the endzone.

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  10. AceDawg

    If presidents can hire czars, UGA should surely be able to have some dudes out there teaching special teams while getting paid for some other position like field technician.

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  11. HVL Dawg

    What do you think the chances are that this kicking coach somehow wets his beak at the Butts Mehre feeding trough?

    Like, do you really think Collin Barber or his dad did a google search to find a kicking coach and settled in on this guy?

    C’mon guys. Be serious.

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  12. What fresh Hell is this?

    I’m sure Bama has 9 or 10 “analysts” to handle this sort of thing.

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  13. Can we bring in consultants or advisers? It seems like a full time kicking coach would be a waste of money and a coaching position.

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  14. SRQDawgs15

    Pretty much every kicker in college and in the NFL for that matter has his own kicking coach. This isn’t new or specific to UGA….but don’t let the reality of the situation stop you guys from bitching about our coaches AGAIN!

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    • Dog in Fla

      I don’t want to live in a country where we can’t bitch about our kickers having to find their own personal kicking coaches

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  15. Heck a lot of the top football players are seeing “coaches” while they’re in high school. Kickers, too. Bammer’s punter, one of the best college punters I’ve ever seen, apparently had a coach in middle school. This is why there is so much high school talent now and why kids are being offered so young. They’re being developed in various ways before they ever get to college.

    Anyway…I’m not worried and don’t think we need a dedicated ST coach.

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