Hear, hear! Dogs have a new kickoff philosophy (PLUS: practice notes)

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:

  • Mark Richt cut practice short by 20 or 25 minutes to try to keep the team fresh for Saturday’s scrimmage in Sanford Stadium. But before they left the field, the players had to do an exhausting punishment drill for excessive penalties.
  • The practice was the hottest of the spring, with bright sun and temperatures in the mid-80s.
  • Tailback Caleb King sat out with a combination of nausea and a sprained knee. The knee flared up from an old high school injury and is nothing serious, Richt said. “It just got a little irritated.”
  • Jakar Hamilton was working at a first-team safety, but defensive-backs coach Scott Lakatos said not to read too much into that yet. He’s still trying various combinations in the secondary.
  • Wide receiver Marlon Brown again was wearing a green non-contact jersey because of a sprained shoulder joint, but he participated in practice.
  • I spent a lot of time after practice talking with Todd Grantham for a story I’ll do next week. He exudes enthusiasm.
  • No practice Friday. The Dogs hold their second of three spring scrimmages Saturday in Sanford Stadium. The third scrimmage is the G-Day game on April 10.

Also: Richt “waiting to see” what comes of police report.

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.

193 comments Add your comment

Bobo, Bobo, a pirates life for me

April 2nd, 2010
1:38 am

im first and don’t care

kool aid

April 2nd, 2010
1:39 am

First!!!! Now I can die happy

Bobo, Bobo, a pirates life for me

April 2nd, 2010
1:41 am

good article though…

Old Dawg New Trick

April 2nd, 2010
1:42 am

ready for the TG story and for G-DAY!

Bad News

April 2nd, 2010
2:08 am

GaDawg

April 2nd, 2010
6:12 am

I ‘m wondering why you wait 60 hours before making a police report? This whole story seems very fishy. Why did the taxi/bus driver not call the police from the taxi , or put the four out of the taxi and then call the police from that spot. Football players but they cannot ID them. Alot of big black men go to UGA who do not play football. Just have to see how this plays out.

dawgydawg47

April 2nd, 2010
6:40 am

They should be kicked off the team. Actually, I would like for them to be arrested and put in jail for this nonsense. If the colors were flip-flopped, the world would stop in order to find these guys. Personally, I would have had to get my A** kicked.

Question

April 2nd, 2010
7:04 am

Shouldn’t they just be able to look at a roster and see which ones were involved if all of it’s true?

FalconUGAFan

April 2nd, 2010
7:08 am

IF this is true, and I believe in innocent until proven guilty, then if they are UGA players, Richt needs to kick them off the team. I’m just plain tired of this kind of crap coming out of MY school. I don’t care if we lose every single game this year.

geogiadawg70

April 2nd, 2010
7:11 am

If this is true they shouldl be kicked out of school, off the team obviously and prosecuted.

[...] end to directional kickoffs: The misuse of Blair Walsh has been appalling: New assistant coach Warren Belin is in charge of kickoffs, a role previously held by Jon Fabris, one of three [...]

JB

April 2nd, 2010
7:20 am

Think about it…..If it was you and your girlfriend, you would get the authorities involved RIGHT THEN after the cab ride. Not two days later. It also could have been more verbal than physical and the guy is mad/embarrassed about it, and this is HIS way of getting even. As a good friend of mine said, nothing good happens after midnight. Tech is lucky that it is unsafe to go out after dark in Atlanta.

BDAWG

April 2nd, 2010
7:20 am

GaDawg, did i miss something? Who said they were black?

Colonial Dawg

April 2nd, 2010
7:28 am

BDAWG- The report said four black men.

Bank Hound

April 2nd, 2010
7:29 am

We’ll see how the police report shakes out. Until then, I have to say that I’m really impressed (so far) with the changes that seem to be taking place, especially a more aggressive defense and kicking game…not to mention bagging directional kickoffs!

Did Fabris end up getting hired by anyone?

Jesse Jackson

April 2nd, 2010
7:39 am

Now hold on just a minute, we don’t know the extenuating circumstances,such as we don’t know how they may have looked at a brother, blah, blah, blah.

SimpleDawg

April 2nd, 2010
7:45 am

Soooo, the taxi driver picked up a man and and his wife, 3 drunk white guys, and 4 large black guys with bratwursts……how big is this van/taxi? And why would anyone want to share a taxi with that many strangers. How do you determine who owes what?

Sounds a little disjointed to me….or better yet, sounds like the basis for a comedy skit.

Topp Dogg

April 2nd, 2010
7:50 am

Four black men had to be UGA football players, at GT it would be four Camel Jockeys.

mgdawg

April 2nd, 2010
7:56 am

Love the talk of no more directional kicks. I never understood why UGA continued to do it when there was never any success with it, even when walsh put it in the right spot teams just ran around the coverage.

BMDPD

April 2nd, 2010
7:56 am

If it is true, I hope CMR makes an example.

BMDPD

April 2nd, 2010
7:58 am

How big was the CAB? What were they DBs?

Mikey

April 2nd, 2010
7:59 am

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.
Insanity was the directional kickoff.
No more insanity!!!!

midland Dog

April 2nd, 2010
8:00 am

SimpleDawg, I thought the same things. It must have been one of those cars you see at the circus that 50 clowns coming piling out of, and they converted it to a taxi. If the report is true, I don’t care who the offenders are, just kick them off the team. I’m sick of the elitist, thug mentality of the college athletes these days!

stw

April 2nd, 2010
8:04 am

dawgydawgy47: I suppose the 47 is your IQ, but why not go ahead and put them in jail for life ? What’s the sense in discovering all the facts. Get off your momma’s computer.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 2nd, 2010
8:09 am

why, why, why???? Richt/Coaches/Captains & Seniors- get your crew in check NOW!!! if this turns out bad, could make for another disappointing year.

dawgster

April 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

don’t know why if this is true that ballplayers, especially during spring practice should be out in Athens at 2:00 am in the morning…I remember in high school that our coach would actually ride by to see if we were home after 11:00 oclock at night..That may sound a little extreme but if you wanted to play on his team you obeyed and followed his rules…With that being said i think we need to let the circumstances come out before jumping to conclusions and branding these young men for life..we still haven’t confirmed if it was football playeres or not, but i’m sure coach Richt will find out and apply the appropriate punishment…Its very easy to get on this blog and spout off about what you would do or what should be done…Walk in a coach or a teachers shoes sometime and you find out how difficult it is in dealing with some young people today and when you are dealing with 80, 90 or 100 or more all with different backgrounds you have to be careful not to overreact based on initial reports…I’m sure the appropriate punishment will be given, if warranted, when the time is right.

bill h

April 2nd, 2010
8:19 am

the ‘victim’ started the interaction by making a comment about the food…the comnment, which should not have been made anyway, could have been made with an attitude or in a disrespectful manner. Alcohol was involved, so who is to be believed and why would anyone’s report be trusted with a car full of drunk and/or wasted folks late night and running off at the mouth…and reported way too late ( 3 days) to make any report credible. Comments here made by posters about racism and etc. are weak and without any verifiable evidence. If this was all so onesided, then the police should have been called as soon as the victim was away from the alleged offenders. \Maybe victims didnt want to make the report with alcohol or other substance possibly in their system?? Who knows. But the fact that so much time passed and there was at least alcohol involved during ‘late night’ makes this very speculative and nearly impossible to establish the truth conclusively. Let it go….and mind your own business and keep your late night comments to yourself if you dont want to be involved. Maybe the victims acted or sounded very racially biased…we dont know and probably never will….too late and too much ’substance’ involved to know the real deal

WonderDawg

April 2nd, 2010
8:20 am

I guess it shows just how bad things had gotten, when we get excited that our kickoffs, defensive tackling, and secondary coverage will be played like they’re supposed to be played. Good riddance Fabris and Martinez! I wonder how Richt feels when he hears Berlin yell at the defense, “who taught you how to tackle the last 5 years?” Or when he hears Willie taught his secondary to “never look back at the ball” when covering a receiver. Richt should be ashamed of letting this kind of crap go on in his program.

Good luck, Oklahoma, you’re gonna need it!

Eaassyy

April 2nd, 2010
8:22 am

no names? the guy thinks they’re GA football players? Strong case. Moving right along. Can’t wait for the piece on Grantham. Keep the updates coming. Enthusiasm is what this team has been missing. I like what i’ve hear so far…

jasont13

April 2nd, 2010
8:22 am

I find this story very interesting. The complaintent said they were football players but didn’t know which ones they were. So how did this person know they were football players and why wait 2 1/2 days to file a police report? Also the taxi drive had no idea, seems very fishy to me.

jasont13

April 2nd, 2010
8:27 am

Bank Hound, Fabirs is coaching Linebackers and Special Teams at Louisville. He is the reason why our special teams were horrible and with being fired landed the Louisville gig and stole Deon Rogers who was committed to UGA as well.

RomeDawg

April 2nd, 2010
8:31 am

I call b*llsh*t on cab story!

WonderDawg

April 2nd, 2010
8:36 am

Disasterous?

Wow, that’s so believable …..feeling so threatened, you go straight to the police ………2 and 1/2 days later. And “4 large black men” = UGA football players? Next the two will hire a shyster, and slither into court wanting $$.

what the hey?

April 2nd, 2010
8:36 am

fabris was hired at louisville by charlie strong. guess someone thought he was a good coach. who oh yeah someone who coached a defense that helped win 3 national titles in 5 years. Don’t get me wrong, it was time for a change, but it’s not like these guys were dumb, they were just (like a lot of coaches) stubborn.

UGASlobberknocker

April 2nd, 2010
8:38 am

Constitutional reminder: Innocent until proven guilty. And it’s kinda hard to start throwing blame around when no one knows who did what. I find it hard to believe that 4 people (regardless of who)would get in a cab and immediatly start abusing a couple who were quietly minding their own business. There is obviously more to this story than has come out so far…..but until the players (if they indeed were players) are id’d..then it didnt happen.

bobbydawg

April 2nd, 2010
8:38 am

James Carpenter, Chance Warmack, Darius Mckeller, Byrom Isom, Ed Christian, Maurice Hurt, Jujuan James, Ray Dominguez, Sergio Render. No more South Georgia offensive co-ordinators. No more “country strong” offensive linemen. Get some athletes in there.

Chili

April 2nd, 2010
8:44 am

The police report says the cab driver identified one of them as ‘Derrick’. Also said there were some disgusting, sexually explicit comments. Loyal dawg here, but if this is true, the’ve gotta go.

Joey

April 2nd, 2010
8:45 am

Boy this “story” strikes a nerve with the nerds (FalconUGAFan, dawgydawg47,georgiadawg70, y’all ain’t fooling us). Sounds like somebody got their lunch money taken at school. Now look, you’ve peed your pants just thinking back …

UglyOld Dog

April 2nd, 2010
8:45 am

Now if only we could get a real QB & OC to replace BOOBOO!!!!!!!! I mean BOBO.

1eyedJack

April 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

Have to agree with Dawgster…If it is true and they were UGA football players then what the h3ll were they doing out at 2am during spring practice? Do you think “The Bear” or Vince would have put up with this? Absolutely not!!! And what ever happened to curfews? If proven true, and let me qualify this by saying I smell fish, all four should be off the team, period.

The things that were allegedly said and done are totally unacceptable.

Having said that, if it had been me, I might have taken a beat-down, but we would have tore the inside of that cab to pieces.

GaDawg

April 2nd, 2010
8:55 am

Bdawg – here is the quote from the paper where it states four black men, the couple told police they were “terrified,” and “hunkered down in their seats,” after four black men got into the cab, slapped one of them in the back of the head and accused them of racism. Thanks Colonial Dawg for having my back.

heybuttlickers

April 2nd, 2010
8:59 am

This new kicking philosophy ? Seems to work in the back of taxi vans as well !!!!!

Ha HA HA THUGA

WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 2nd, 2010
9:06 am

On topic- Thank goodness the kickoff coverage is changing! Now we dont have to see, Touchback, Touchback, directional kick- ball at the 40! That was crazy! Walsh proved he had the leg and they still seemed to screw it up.

im dumb

April 2nd, 2010
9:09 am

WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF

Otto

April 2nd, 2010
9:26 am

I thought Fabris took the job at L’ville and then decide to stay home?

The whole police report sounds very fishy and the time between said incident and filing the report makes it less than credible. A van full of people and the only people talking are this couple that filed the report. The driver does not seem to have anything solid to say?

Otto

April 2nd, 2010
9:28 am

The Bear or Vince wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing hitting the media if it did happen.

Dawgone

April 2nd, 2010
9:35 am

You can hear the excuses starting already, even one poster who insinuated that it might be the victims fault for intiating the conversation. Just from the intial police report and witness, sounds like he was just trying to be friendly. But I will assure you that IF this involves football players, you’ll hear people on here trying to blame the victims or at least trying to make excuses for these guys.

SEC FANATIC

April 2nd, 2010
9:36 am

Hey, when do they give out the Fulmer Cup??

Some of you folks must have never been to Athens before, ever.

April 2nd, 2010
9:38 am

#1 Most of the taxis in Athens are vans that can hold 10-12 people. It is a little tight mind you, but when the bars close, everyone piles in…especially if you live on the east side of town.

#2 Football players out at 2:00 a.m. has been happening for years. I started at UGA in 95 and worked downtown for 4 years — it was a common occurrence to see football players at the bars that late — never on Fridays before the game but often on Saturdays after games. This will happen all throughout the season. Richt enforces curfews sometimes, but I’ve never heard of a curfew on a Saturday night in early spring.

It sounds like there is a lot to sort out — but if it comes to light that these events really did occur, I hope they kick all four of the players off the team, regardless of who they are. What an embarrassment.

BigGAdawg

April 2nd, 2010
9:39 am

Sounds like MORE Smart coaching from Coach Belin. That directional stuff was moronic. Personally I would be happy to let the opposition start every series on the 20. If you kick it deep enough there is no runback and no chance for breaking a play. But letting them start on the 40 due to an out of bounds kick, as happened way too many times last year, is just stupid. When you have a kicker with a leg like Walsh has it is crazy to not turn him loose and see how deep he can kick it.