Kickers: The best tandem in the nation?
(This is the 10th in a summer series looking at the Georgia football team by position.)
- Returning “starters”: Redshirt junior punter Drew Butler, junior placekicker Blair Walsh, redshirt sophomore snapper Ty Frix. (Walsh also handles kickoffs. Butler is the holder on field goals and PATs.)
- Backups: Brandon Bogotay is the No. 2 placekicker, and Walsh is listed as the No. 2 punter. Walk-on Jamie Lindley is No. 3 on the depth chart at both placekicker and punter.
- Key fact: Butler won the Ray Guy Award as college football’s best punter last season, and Walsh was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker. Enough said?
- Key stats: Butler averaged 48.1 yards on 56 punts last season, marking the first time since 1958 that UGA had the nation’s leading punter. He had 19 punts downed inside the 20. . . . Walsh made 20 of 22 field goals last season, the second best percentage in UGA history, including 4 of 5 from 50-plus yards. He also was 42-for-42 on extra points.
- Key question: Will both pick up where they left off last season? If so, no worries.
- Recent developments: Georgia’s kickoff philosophy has changed, with the much-criticized directional kickoffs yielding to more of an emphasis on deep kickoffs. This is a development welcomed by Walsh, who had an SEC-leading 17 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs last season –- and also welcomed by Bulldog Nation. Click here for more on that. . . . Frix -– a walk-on from Calhoun who took over as snapper on punts, field goals and extra points last season -– was rewarded for a job well done by being placed on scholarship.
- Outlook: Seems sort of silly in retrospect, but there actually were some concerns about both Butler and Walsh a year ago at this time. No more. They proved to be the best punter-placekicker tandem in the nation last year -– and have two seasons remaining at UGA. The kicking game is in good hands.
- Your turn: What say you about the kicking game?
Please click on the position for previous entries in this series:
TOMORROW: Kickoff and punt returners.