ATHENS – I’m guessing most of you will be happy to read this: Georgia’s kickoff philosophy has changed.
Kicker Blair Walsh indicated Thursday night that the much-criticized directional kickoffs –- kicks aimed to a specific spot on the field –- will yield to more deep kickoffs.
“It’s not like it was here the past two years, directional-wise,” Walsh said. “It’s a lot more use of my talent, I would say. I was fine doing what they wanted me to do. I’m a team player. I can go along with it. But it’s a lot more use of the talent, and I’m happy about it. I don’t think there’s a restraint on me anymore.”
He stopped there, wary of “giving too much away.”
But you get the idea.
New assistant coach Warren Belin is in charge of kickoffs, a role previously held by Jon Fabris, one of three assistants dismissed in December. The directional kicks became a controversial topic the past two seasons, compounded when Walsh didn’t keep them in bounds or the coverage broke down.
Walsh also said there is an aggressive approach to kickoff coverage this spring.
“From what little I know about football, I know we’re going down there and trying to bust helmets up,” the kicker said. “We’re trying to beat the guy in front of us and go get the guy.
“It’s a lot of old-school football involved in our kickoff coverage. [Belin] doesn’t like me to talk too much about what we’re doing exactly, but . . . you’re going to see a lot of guys hustling, a lot of fast, fast stuff.”
Walsh, who had 17 touchbacks last season, has a goal of at least 25 this year –- or about one-third of his kickoffs.
Sound good, everyone?
From Thursday’s practice:
And: One year ago today — April 2, 2009 — Mark Fox was hired as UGA’s men’s basketball coach. Here’s a look at how he sees things a year later.