Kicker Bogotay signs with UGA; Richt ‘excited’ about player’s versatility

Athens — Georgia coach Mark Richt, who famously said late last season that he might have to look as far as Poland for a kickoff specialist, found one in southern California.

The Bulldogs on Thursday signed junior college kicker Brandon Bogotay — a San Diego native who played last season at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif. — to a letter of intent.

Richt said Bogotay will battle incumbent Blair Walsh for all kicking duties — field goals, extra points and kickoffs. But it was Bogotay’s strong kickoffs — and Walsh’s deficiency in that area last season — that persuaded Georgia to spend another scholarship on a kicker.

“My goal as head coach is to make sure we’re better than we were a year ago, and we feel like [Bogotay] gives us a chance to do that,” Richt said. “If nothing else, [the competition] will sharpen the skills of Blair.”
Walsh said he welcomes the challenge and intends to hold on to his jobs.

“It’s an opportunity to compete and get better; that’s how I view it right now,” Walsh said. “Competition makes everybody better.

“I still expect in my mind to be the starter on both kickoffs and field goals, and that’s how I’m going to treat it.”

Eight of Walsh’s 75 kickoffs went out of bounds last season, including two in the loss to Georgia Tech, and only four of the 75 went for touchbacks.

After the Tech game, Richt said: “We might have to go to Poland or something to find a guy who can kick it out of the end zone.” Richt added that day that he was “very comfortable” with Walsh on field goals and extra points.

On Thursday, Richt called the kickoff job “a very critical position,” noting its impact on opponents’ field position.

“Whether it’s [Bogotay] doing it or Blair doing it, if we do it better to the point where our defense starts drives on the 20- to 28-yard line, we’ll be better than a year ago on defense,” Richt said.

Both Walsh and Bogotay have three years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Bogotay, a long-time soccer player, did not take up football until midway through his senior season in high school. In his one year of junior college, he made 15 of 23 field goals, the longest from 52 yards, and produced 20 touchbacks on 52 kickoffs. He came to Georgia’s attention when a highlight film — sent by the kicker himself — arrived unsolicited.

Bogotay weighed scholarship offers from schools almost 5,000 miles apart — Georgia and Hawaii.

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  • 58 comments Add your comment

    1BadDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    11:06 am

    Let’s see….we score 42 points and loose. Loose a top linebacker signee (reason’s of which I truly approve). We need defense and all the defensive help we can get. So what do we do….go out and sign a kicker? Give me a break.

    GeoffDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    11:17 am

    1BadDawg – what’s missing is not more talent on defense. It’s a lack of focus and drive of which the accountability primarily rests with the coaching staff. If we can find someone who can boom kickoffs into the end zone instead of pooching them and giving their offense starting position at the 35 or 40 consistently, then that’s a valuable signing.

    realdealdawg

    March 26th, 2009
    11:21 am

    Hey! too many times we would score and the opposing team would have incredible field position to instantly take away any momentum also football is largely a game of field position and we seldom won that battle,(see Tech and Alabama losses) etc bottom line …like it or not special teams is critical to championship success see Bowden wide right…….

    Right On Time

    March 26th, 2009
    12:00 pm

    Wonder what’s up with Butler?

    dawgstephen

    March 26th, 2009
    12:04 pm

    Nothing wrong with adding some depth. Maybe Walsh does field goals, Butler does punts, and Bogotay does Kickoffs. All kickers are fresh and can focus on ONE job and doin it right. Just a thought. Blog on!!!

    Dorsey Hill

    March 26th, 2009
    12:12 pm

    I’d rather know that the other team will start on the twenty every time than worry about returns, which we’ve been terrible at covering, or worse kicking it out of bounds. If the kid is legit, its a great move and will help the defense far more than you can imagine. All you have to do is look at the rise in ppg. since kickoffs were moved back some years ago.

    1eyedJack

    March 26th, 2009
    12:25 pm

    CMR stated that he would find someone to kick it into the end zone and that is what I assume he did. If this is the fact then we should find ourselves in much better field position this year.

    Voice of Reason

    March 26th, 2009
    12:54 pm

    1baddawg- do you really think that the next great defesive player for UGA is still out there unsigned. If there were a defensive player still unsigned that was worth getting then we would have. But a good defensive player will have already signed with a school. Kickers are less in demand and that is why many of UGA great kickers in the past were walk-ons. Get a clue. you are 1baddawgfan.

    mad dawg

    March 26th, 2009
    1:03 pm

    blair walsh is nothing but another andy bailey if not for him kicking the ball out of bounds several times against gt the dawg nation would not have to listen to those piece of trash tech fans for a solid year talking about how great the are

    PVBDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    1:06 pm

    For the record, it’s Bogatay. No offense intended, just thought he would appreciate our spelling his name correctly. Welcome aboard,Brandon! Based on what I have read about him, he will be a great addition to the Dawgs!

    bank walker

    March 26th, 2009
    1:07 pm

    I think it was a necessity to sign a kicker. The kicking game was awful last year, and now Walsh has competition!

    Cuz

    March 26th, 2009
    1:13 pm

    Give Blair some competition and let’s see if the kicking game is turned up a notch. Methinks it will.

    Spike

    March 26th, 2009
    1:16 pm

    BankWalker is right! Our kicking game sucked last year and we need help there. Where is Brandon Coutu when we need him?

    Tony

    March 26th, 2009
    1:54 pm

    I remember getting upset every time Walsh would kick it out of bounds & all my friends at the time would tell me to calm down & not worry about it that our defense would hold them. We see how that turned out. UGA made a few teams look better than what they were last year by not tackling & giving teams better than average field position. If we didn’t have a great offense last year to counter act then I don’t see UGA even going to a bowl. It’s the simple things in the game that make the differance between a average football team & a great one. Most people don’t realize how important special teams are. Look at Florida for example. Special teams was an important part of thier season. I don’t blame CMR for going to Cali. for a kicker to kick it out of the end zone. Georgia kickers have never had this problem until ‘08. I know they moved the kick off back five yards, but that shouldn’t make that much differance for a good kicker.

    Bird Dog Tavern

    March 26th, 2009
    2:13 pm

    Does Billy Bennett have a younger brother?

    Bird Dog Tavern

    March 26th, 2009
    2:16 pm

    Also, why would we stick with Walsh for FGs? He misses inside the ten…

    whats up blair walsh anyway

    March 26th, 2009
    2:21 pm

    i remember getting excited watching youtube videos of our boy blair booming it way out of the endzone… what happened? i know high schools allow kickers to kick closer but man, as far as these balls would travel, u would still think he could hit the endzone consistently in college.

    shards

    March 26th, 2009
    2:25 pm

    The new kicker is a fabulous catch. We need a guy to boom the kick offs. Walsh has proven a failure at that.

    D? We need to motivate the D players that we have. It will all be crystal clear after the Tech game this fall. Either CMR and staff can motivate, or they cannot. This year will tell the entire story abou the era of CMR. Another defensive year like last, and heads will roll, as the alums will not put up with the same excuses as last and yet another loss to the Techers.

    Tony

    March 26th, 2009
    2:26 pm

    Walsh needs to stay on the side lines with his wooden spoon & make sure the water ph levels are just right. Mrs. Richt I’m sure could use his help. I think our long legacy of great kickers has just ended. Guess we’ve been spoiled all these years. I’m just wandering if he even practiced kick off’s in practice.

    Old Dawg

    March 26th, 2009
    2:33 pm

    1BadDawg — it’s lose, not loose. Loose is when a running back breaks loose and scores a 67-yard touchdown. Lose is when you lose games. I’m all for a booming kick-off man. Maybe Walsh will improve, maybe not. But having opposing teams start at their 20 is always a good thing.

    griffdawg1

    March 26th, 2009
    2:36 pm

    easy tony,remember,Blair is just a kid. He’s going to be a fine field goal kicker…he’s just young and will adjust to the college game.

    Tony

    March 26th, 2009
    2:54 pm

    Your right griffdawg1. He is a kid, but I didn’t see him adjusting during the season. I’m sure he will be a fine field goal kicker one day, but I’m actually more concerned about his kick off duties. Your getting the opposing team that much closer to scoring every time he kicks it out of bounds. That’s a blow to the defence & a momentum killer for the team. Our coverage was terrible last season, but kicking it short or out of bounds isn’t in the game plan I’m sure.

    Hunk Erdown

    March 26th, 2009
    3:02 pm

    Field goal kickers are typically mental cases. I don’t doubt that Walsh’s inability to do what was needed on kick offs screwed with his head on field goals. If this new man can take some of the pressure off of Walsh, I’m all for it. We could definately go to school on Urban Meyer’s attitude about special teams. Fla. absolutely squashed Kentucky and several other teams’ spirit by dominating special teams play.

    UGADawg83

    March 26th, 2009
    3:07 pm

    Good pick-up. Special teams often put the D in bad positions last year. This can only help.

    shawn

    March 26th, 2009
    3:08 pm

    Not only were over 10% of Walsh’s kickoff’s going out of bounds, but the average starting position of UGA opponents AFTER KICKOFFS last year was the 36.5 yard line. So basically an out of bounds kick was not much worse for UGA. That is a large part of last years troubles. This is a great addition, one in my opinion that will have more impact next year than any other signee this past year.

    Wil Walton

    March 26th, 2009
    3:09 pm

    How quickly everyone forgets that “directional” kickoffs have been a favorite of this coaching staff for years. I think if they quit trying to pin someone inside the 10 on a kickoff, and let Walsh boom it, he could have the opposition starting on the 20 99% of the time. I guess this new guy can do that now too, unless they start telling him to kick it short and high again.

    Pago Flyer

    March 26th, 2009
    3:13 pm

    Nothing wrong with trying to improve our special teams play!

    Austin Idol

    March 26th, 2009
    3:14 pm

    The dogs sign a kicker. Let me guess. Are the dogs now projected to be pre-season number 1? It sure looks so. What, no slams on Kiffin today?

    RxDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    3:28 pm

    Thank god. One of the biggest reasons we had an average year last season. Inuries, tackeling, kicking

    DawginLex

    March 26th, 2009
    3:30 pm

    Competition is good for Walsh. Hopefully, this guy can kick it through the endzone. How many times did the opponent start on the 40 last year?

    That’s why Coach Richt signed this guy.

    Dawg97

    March 26th, 2009
    3:47 pm

    Walsh sucked, but this guy we signed was only 15 for 23 – how is that an improvement?

    SD

    March 26th, 2009
    3:49 pm

    Austin Idol = TOOL!

    Chip Towers

    March 26th, 2009
    3:59 pm

    Who will the Dogs sign next month? . . .

    Here’s so video of the new kicker: http://www.sandiegoballers.com/09BogotayBrandon.wmv

    AltamahaDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    4:07 pm

    easiest question of the day. The opponents started on the 40 8 times.

    gdawginkalamazoo

    March 26th, 2009
    4:11 pm

    Keep him sober and out of trouble. WTF? Didn’t think that could be done anymore. There is 20 yards of defense every time we score.

    AltamahaDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    4:12 pm

    Walsh didnt “suck”. He was 50/50 PAT and the even though a freshman, was only behind 2 juniors, and 2 seniors in FG accuracy last year (SEC).

    Colonial Dawg

    March 26th, 2009
    4:22 pm

    Chip, thanks for the video. Great to see him booming those kickoffs out of the end zone. That was San Diego, right? Will the humidity in Athens make much difference in the distance or do you think that is a non-issue.

    Walsh will be fine on field goals. Coutu didn’t become the kicker right away either. He had a little time to season. Walsh walked right out of high school and into the SEC. A little seasoning and he’ll be fine.

    Henne Patchinko

    March 26th, 2009
    4:27 pm

    Man those JC’ers are playing in some nice (empty) stadiums.

    North Fla. Dawg

    March 26th, 2009
    4:39 pm

    To all my fellow dawg fans, what most of you are doing is missing the point. The coaches are telling the kicker where he’s to kick the ball to. So they have him kick it towards the sidelines so the kickoff team has less field to cover,he has no control over the ball going out of bounds when he is kicking off like this.

    G8R H8R 92

    March 26th, 2009
    4:47 pm

    Hey That Video Sucks, you’re a moron with no patience….if you had watched the entire video you’d have seen him boom about 10-12 kickoffs out of the endzone from the 30 yard line. CMR signed him to bring a little competition to Blair on FGs and to be the kickoff man so we can boom deep kickoffs instead of directional kicks. Field position is a huge factor in helping your defense be more successful, especially with a defensive scheme like Martinez’ which is predicated on making a team consistently execute their offense down the field to score while trying to avoid giving up big plays. This kicker can be a huge addition to the lineup….good move CMR!

    DawginLex

    March 26th, 2009
    4:50 pm

    Kicking the ball 80+ yards in the air. I don’t care if he kicks 1 FG all year……………………….

    LawDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    5:00 pm

    N.Fla. Dawg

    the kicker definetely has control over whether the ball goes out of bounds or not. I kicked in highschool and could directional kick better than Walsh. He is a scholly player for crying out loud. His kicks last year (KO’s) were poor at best!

    AltamahaDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    5:04 pm

    The first thing is a recognition that its not about who can kick it out of the back of the endzone. NOBODY can consistantly. Otherwise explain the top kickers in the NFL only getting touchbacks 20% of the time. And thats maybe 2 of them. Most arent even close to that.

    Or explain how the best kickers in the SEC werent able to do that last year. The national champions UF, with a very well respected specials teams, only got a TB 10% of the time. And thats WITH a senior PK and a freshman they brought in strickly as a KO speciallist. The best in the NCAA last year was ND, and they had 1 TB all year. We had more TB than Alabama did last year. More OOB’s too. Sounds like somebody had a freshman.

    Its been said on several occations, the problem with Walsh is that he was not putting it where he was supposed to. When he did, our KO coverage was fine.

    If this new kid can put it high and deep inside the 5, to the side, stay the hell away from the middle lane, he will be doing what is universally accepted as the best KO strategy.

    High, side, and to the 10 gets you the 38, which is what we did.
    BTW the projections on the new rule going into last year was to the 32, so its far from the worst thing we did. There wasn’t really that much difference top to bottom in the SEC on starting KO yards given up.

    Tech sucks

    March 26th, 2009
    5:06 pm

    Awesome signing. Kickoffs KILLED us last year. Especially against Tech.

    Terrible Truth

    March 26th, 2009
    5:12 pm

    The guy can definately rip ‘em. One of the few peeves I’ve ever had about Richt are those absurd “pin ‘em” kickoffs. I don’t care if the ball is six feet off the ground as long as it travels 75-80 yards! Walsh should do nothing but work on FG’s all summer. Kid or not, no kicker should miss anything inside 40 yards if the snap and hold are good. That and going to class are your JOB!

    AltamahaDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    5:18 pm

    I dont think they ever told him to kick it towards the sideLINE. To the left side of the field certainly. But going out of bounds is not a risk of a properly executed strategically placed kick to the side of the field. Thebad guys arent going to let a live ball bounce around to see if it might work over towards the OOB. When it goes OOB, he gave it no choice.

    PTC DAWG

    March 26th, 2009
    5:54 pm

    Kiffin sucks..

    Go Gator..

    the real Old Gold

    March 26th, 2009
    6:17 pm

    YAAAWWWWNNNNN………

    SamoanDawg

    March 26th, 2009
    6:30 pm

    We have heaps of talents on D. They just need to step up it.

    Glad we picked up a kicker. Blair Walsh will be fine. Drew Butler will be fine punter.. coach said, he has a quick release. so, that’s a plus.

    45-42

    March 26th, 2009
    8:18 pm