Georgia’s punt game, on both sides of the ball, left something to be desired Saturday night, to say the least, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise:
Coach Kirby Smart defended his punter after the game. He said Camarda “just had a couple bad punts” and assured all that the Bulldogs “had his back.”
But Smart confirmed this week that a competition for punting duties is being waged. Georgia is off until its trip to Tennessee on Oct. 5.
“We’ve got two or three guys out there (competing),” Smart said. “… They haven’t out-punted (Camarda) in practice and they haven’t out-punted him in games or scrimmages. Up until Saturday, he was really hitting a lot of bombs. He didn’t hit two good punts (against Notre Dame). He knows it.”
Problem for Kirby is that there aren’t a lot of options behind Camarda on the roster, although I do wonder if they look for someone with more touch on the ball for shorter kicks they look to down inside the opponent’s 20.
As for punt returns, Smart made an in game change after the muffed punt.
Smart has been critical of other areas of special teams, as well. Senior Tyler Simmons was benched as punt returner this past Saturday after muffing a punt inside the 10-yard line. Notre Dame recovered at the 8 and scored its first touchdown of the game four plays later.
Simmons was replaced by freshman Dominick Blaylock, who caught one for a fair catch and let another go, which rolled for another 15 yards.
“So, he was 50-50, and you can’t be 50-50 in this league,” Smart said.
Unlike at punter, it would seem that Kirby has plenty of options on players to return punts, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some experimentation here until somebody steps up to seize the job.
Towers doesn’t have anything to say about return blocking, but I would hope the coaches are looking carefully at that, as well. Matt Landers did a poor job in that regard on both of the Simmons’ catches.
Lots of things to tweak/fix, in other words…