Kickers: The best tandem in the nation?

(This is the 10th in a summer series looking at the Georgia football team by position.)

TODAY: KICKERS

  • 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:

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks.

Tailbacks/fullbacks.

Wide receivers.

Tight ends.

Offensive line.

DEFENSE

Outside linebackers.

Inside linebackers.

Defensive line.

Defensive backs.

TOMORROW: Kickoff and punt returners.

122 comments Add your comment

Oh, no...

June 28th, 2010
6:19 am

…the dreaded Tucker curse…

Spike

June 28th, 2010
6:33 am

The best tandem in the country, no doubt about it. We are going to need them in close games this year, especially Walsh.

Paddy

June 28th, 2010
6:39 am

directional kick offs! What a novel idea last year with the nations best kicker!

Damon Evans

June 28th, 2010
6:52 am

They kick dawg dung every day, no wonder they’re good

JB

June 28th, 2010
7:16 am

just something else for Tech to ” look up to”………..

Joe

June 28th, 2010
7:20 am

WOW! Please tell me who had the great idea of directional kickoffs with these two on the team. Yet another example of “Great” coaching

Dawg House

June 28th, 2010
7:35 am

Damn Good Dawgs.

HATE ON HATERS!!!!!!

jason

June 28th, 2010
7:48 am

Was it Billy Bennet who was the place kicker David Greene’s Frosh year? That will be CMR’s M.O. for the offense this year. Run the ball control the clock. Looking to set up the FG evey drive. TDs will come and be more than welcomed, but with the OL and the RBs, Murray will will not be put under pressure to be the hero. Look for alot of FGs especially early in the season as Murray gets comfortable in the offense. Butler will be the best piece of the defense this year. While he had a phenominal year last year, I would like to see more punts dropped inside the 20, no the 10 yrd. line. This will help a defense learning a new system in making opponets drive the whole length of the field.The more 1st downs you need, the better chances the defense has of stopping you. Whether it be directional KOs or kicking it deep, UGA STs need to tackle better. Even as Walsh kicked off deep last year and had TBs, UGA’s tackling on STs was still horrible. As strong as Walsh’s leg is, he will not get a TB every KO.

[...] Georgia may have the best kicking tandem in the nation, writes Tim Tucker of the AJC. [...]

Papadawg

June 28th, 2010
8:05 am

The only time I want to see them is for PATs

dawgfan13

June 28th, 2010
8:09 am

I wish people will stop saying Murray wont be asked to be a hero and all of that non sense. He is a QB and he has to make plays in the game. dont care how good the kickers and running game and offensive lines are, Murray has to make plays with his arm! He was highly recruited because of his arm so lets finally see what we have in this guy. Stop thinking Ga will run run run and only pass one time in a series, its not happening like that.

damngooddawg!

June 28th, 2010
8:13 am

We still have Mike Bobo running the offense…that scares the hell out of me.

OEJ

June 28th, 2010
8:15 am

damngooddawg!..that scares me too

Dawglasville

June 28th, 2010
8:16 am

I don’t see how those two can top last year. It is comforting to know they are there.

SICKnTired

June 28th, 2010
8:18 am

SICKnTired

June 28th, 2010
8:19 am

Dang it, I was close. But in any case they are the best but i echo the thought that I hope we don’t get to see them much.

UGA Grad

June 28th, 2010
8:24 am

Mike BoBo is only calling Mark Richt’s offense the way MR wants it called. Through the stones at Richt not Bobo!
as the great Bear Bryant once said
“If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.”

Bear Bryant

tim

June 28th, 2010
8:31 am

you better have the best kickers because the puppies will punt a lot this year and those 3 pointers will be about all you’ll score in some games….

hirsutedawg

June 28th, 2010
8:34 am

Scoring points wasn’t our problem last year folks, it was GIVING UP points that did us in. Coach’s TG, WB & SL will have us playing more fundamentally sound and the rest will take care of itself. Chisel it in stone.

Mikey SAV

June 28th, 2010
8:37 am

When Walsh was allowed to kick deep look what he did- best in SEC.
Directional = out of bounds and / or poor coverage.

Thank goodness we have a new philosophy. I was beginning to think that we kept doing the same thing while expecting different results……

JB

June 28th, 2010
8:40 am

Bobo needs to mix it up more…Or Richt does.

Perry

June 28th, 2010
8:44 am

UCLA has the best kicker, but Walsh is #2. Florida & Auburn got great kickers too. 2 of his 3 misses were from 50+ yards. Iowa, Baylor, Cal & UCLA all have great punters, but you have to put Butler in the top 5. Boykin’s 3 KO Returns for TD’s puts him in the top 3 KO returners after Stanford & Maryland. Don’t know who will be returning punts this year yet. As far as special teams go, as a whole, Georgia’s in top 5 after UCLA, Boise St, FSU, TCU. Oklahoma & Florida will always be good, Meyer uses a bunch of his starters on special teams, Meyer coaches the special teams himself, and requires all new players to prove themselves on special teams before they get a starting place on offense or defense. UCLA’s ST Coach Gansz best in country.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 28th, 2010
8:53 am

With the kicking game you just hope the two can maintain above average performance and not backtrack. Kickers are a rare bread so you really never know what to expect. Lets hope that they dont have a backslide for sure. Lot of expectations on the young men now.

Perry

June 28th, 2010
8:59 am

New Coach Warren Belin from Vanderbilt coaching KO return and PR coverage will help, as Vanderbilt was ranked near the top in the SEC in both, Georgia was near the bottom in both. Sound tackling fundamentals will help.

Old Dawg

June 28th, 2010
9:02 am

I love the fact that between Walsh and Butler the defense should have good field position to work with. Especially since the defense is based on creating turnovers by the QB. Butler’s ability to change the field position so well if a huge help!

If the coverage teams improve their performance, this should be an outstanding year for special teams!

Perry

June 28th, 2010
9:04 am

Georgia needs to work on Punt Returns (#85 in country) and Kick Returns (ranked #107 in yards per kick return). Boykin broke 3 for td’s, best in SEC, but consistently, was not good. Like to see AJ Green returning punts, he had 12 punt returns for td’s in high school. Cuff or Branden Smith on punt returns would be fun to watch, both are 2 of the fastest guys in the country.

Perry

June 28th, 2010
9:05 am

Richt’s consistently good on special teams, top 25 2001-2007.

Perry

June 28th, 2010
9:08 am

As far as Georgia’s own PR and KO Return, ok there last year with Miller & Boykin, #35 and #54, lots of improvement needed. Prince Miller is gone, so someone else will need to step up.

kb

June 28th, 2010
9:10 am

Heres hoping Walsh sets a record for most PATS in a single season. And #8 touches the ball at least 10 times a game.

Bama Dawg

June 28th, 2010
9:13 am

UGA better get the kicker from Calhoun Adam Griffith. He is class of 2012. I saw him at the Alabama kicking camp. He kept hitting the roof inside and he was the only kid that could do it. 60+ FG and had about an 80yd KO. He made a big enough impression to get and offer from Bama on the spot. We need a kicker in 2012.

RxDawg

June 28th, 2010
9:13 am

Ya know, I’m glad we have skilled kickers and all….but at the same time it just does not excite me to read about them. I’m just being honest.

In fact, I’d be happy if we never even knew who our punter or FG kicker was with the exception of hearing the FG kicker’s name on extra points.

Perry

June 28th, 2010
9:15 am

Georgia had 5 Punt/Kicks blocked last year, best in SEC. Like to see that again, especially against Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, or South Carolina.

RxDawg

June 28th, 2010
9:16 am

“who had an SEC-leading 17 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs last season ”

That could not really be a good stat. A better stat would be the average of touchbacks to kickoffs. A total stat like that could mean that our kicker was just kicking off a lot because the other teams kept scoring.

Eh, sorry guys. It’s a monday, I’m still asleep, and I think I broke my toe. I’ll go grab another cup of Joe and try to cheer up for the rest of the day :)

destin dawg

June 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Coach Richt will be more involved in offense….I hope more like Huston Nutt or Steve Spurrier… let coach Granthman and the new crew take care of the DDDDEEEE and better kick coverage please!!! to utilize these great kickers.. I’m optimistic!!! go DAWGS !!

That Guy

June 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Maybe Georgia should just take a page out of those “nerds” on North Ave and just score virtually every time you get the ball. And even when you don’t score, at least your coach is balls enough to go for it on fourth down for the win, instead of kicking a field goal for the tie. You don’t win national championships by being conservative..

Perry

June 28th, 2010
9:22 am

The special teams trio of Walsh/Butler/Boykin is #1 in the country. All 3 are in top 5, as a team, best in the land.

BAMA RULES

June 28th, 2010
9:24 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhHQSS1f6tM

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

YOU GUYS MAKE FUN OF US FOR BEING REDNECK???

RxDawg

June 28th, 2010
9:26 am

That Guy, you also don’t win games by being careless with your scoring opportunities and possesions.

But I agree we should just score every time we get the ball. That’s easy enough right?

Dalton Fan

June 28th, 2010
9:26 am

UGA had 77 KO’s, 17 touchbacks, 22%, best in SEC, really impressive. But, 4 KO’s out of bounds, was 11th in SEC (directional kicking?).

Papadawg

June 28th, 2010
9:27 am

Kicking is important but only for a small part of the game. What I WANT to hear is how improved the Defense will be this year.

GTax

June 28th, 2010
9:30 am

Back in 1914, GT had the best kicker tandem in the nation. We kicked 3 punts totaling 164 yds, beating out the UGA punters by 1 yd. We got rings. It was great.

That Guy

June 28th, 2010
9:34 am

Well Rx, there was a stretch last season where Georgia Tech went 13 quarters without punting.. Soo, yeah, if they can do it, then surely the Might Superior Georgia Bulldogs can do it, right?

V Dog

June 28th, 2010
9:34 am

On the defensive side of special teams, KO.Punt returns, Georgia is really bad. Give up a lot of unecessary yards on kick off and punt returns, ranked #117 in opposing kick off return, #85 in opposing punt return. Cost Georgia big in LSU game. Really hurts the defense with poor field position.

bkbroila4224

June 28th, 2010
9:38 am

UCLA’s Forbath was one hell of a kicker, but anyone could make the argument that Walsh was better….He had a better % and more from 50 yards out…Forbath just kicked a hell of a lot more than anyone in the country, which is why he got the nod…As a tandem goes, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one…

V Dog

June 28th, 2010
9:39 am

Butler had too many punts into the end zone, who cares about his punt return average? We want 50% of punts downed inside the 20 and less than 3 a year going into the end zone. it’s all about TEAM.

MountainDawg

June 28th, 2010
9:41 am

Hopefully we’ll not have to settle for a slew of FGs, but I think jason’s (above) analysis is pretty accurate. Butler’s the best punter in the nation & I think he’ll have another All-American season (barring injury).

AMSTERDAM SAM

June 28th, 2010
9:42 am

Damon Evans – the two been kicking on you, have they?

V Dog

June 28th, 2010
9:50 am

As far as Butler is concerned, he can get much better as a TEAM player.

Here’s what we need:
1) 25% of punts downed inside 20 yard line
2) 10% of punts fair caught
3) No more than 3 touchback punts a year
4) Average over 40 yards a punt

Punts to touchback ratio is really important for field position. 3 a season max.

DAWGS 2010

June 28th, 2010
9:54 am

Tim you must be a Tech fan,you are hating pretty bad on UGA.Must be tired of losing and just think yall hade your best chance last year. IT HURTS SO BAD !!!!!!!!!!!!

BAMA RULES

June 28th, 2010
9:57 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhHQSS1f6tM

You guys have to watch this, it is hilarious!!!