Athens – When Georgia signed strong-legged Brandon Bogotay, a junior-college kicker from California, in the spring, the general assumption was that he would win the kickoff job for this season.
And he still might.
But at this moment, incumbent Blair Walsh holds a slight lead over the newcomer.
“Right now, I would say Walsh has got an edge in that race, but in my opinion it is a very tight race,” Mark Richt said last night. “. . . I feel like Walsh right this minute would be the guy.”
Richt said Bogotay “is driving the ball good, is getting a lot of distance.” But: “His hang time has been a little bit erratic. He needs to get a little more hang time on some of his kicks.”
Walsh, Richt said, “has been more consistent with his hang time, really. Both of them have kicked very well, very well.”
As a freshman last season, Walsh handled field goals, extra points and kickoffs. He struggled enough in the latter role that Richt brought in Bogotay. Richt said more than once during the spring and summer that either Bogotay would win the kickoff job or would provide competition to make Walsh better.
Bogotay also has been competing with Walsh for the field-goal and extra-point jobs, but Walsh, as expected, is holding on securely to those roles. “There probably is a little more separation there than there is in the kickoff, the way I see it,” Richt said. “But Bogotay is very capable of both, so it is good for Georgia.”
Linebacker update: Darius Dewberry missed practice Thursday with a sore hamstring, which also sidelined him from Wednesday’s scrimmage. Linebackers Rennie Curran, Darryl Gamble and Akeem Dent also were held out of the scrimmage, primarily to give experience to younger players, but were back at work Thursday. Gamble has had a good camp –- based on post-practice mentions by CMR, as good a camp as anyone on the team — and, as things stand now, will start.
Another August, another injury: As Georgia started practice Thursday afternoon, Quintin Banks was despondently walking away from the field on crutches –- the second year in a row he has been injured in preseason camp.
The backup safety, who played in only one game last season because of two separate injuries to his left knee, will be sidelined three weeks or so with cartilage damage in his right knee, sustained in Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Banks began working as the No. 1 strong safety when starter Reshad Jones was sidelined on the third day of camp with an injured hamstring. Jones should be back soon, but in the meantime redshirt freshman Bacarri Rambo will work with the No. 1 unit at the position. Also, Richt said, “Makiri [Pugh, another redshirt freshman] will still be working with the nickel, but more than likely he’ll get work with the safeties now.”
Not the Dogs’ day: Richt has been pleased with almost every practice this month, but not Thursday’s. Definitely not Thursday’s. “We did our running for it [after practice],” quarterback Joe Cox said.
Richt: “I would say my overriding feeling from that practice is that the practice beat us. We didn’t win the day today. We made way too many mistakes. They were hot; they were tired, and I thought they gave in to that more so than any other day in camp. I didn’t think they had given in to it until today, actually. . . . I was a lot disappointed.”
Cox agreed, saying the practice was sloppy with a lot of penalties and missed assignments on both sides of the ball.
Richt said it is incumbent on the team’s leaders to make sure the bad practice isn’t repeated. “It’s already been addressed,” Cox said. “We talked about it right after we ran.” The Bulldogs will be back on the practice field twice today.