Q&A: Blair Walsh plans to get a big kick out of his senior season

Georgia kicker Blair Walsh needs to average 8.75 points per game -- or about two field goals and three extra points a game -- to become the Bulldogs' all-time leading scorer. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia kicker Blair Walsh needs to average 8.75 points per game -- or about two field goals and three extra points a game -- to become the Bulldogs' all-time leading scorer. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia’s position players aren’t the only ones who benefited from Joe Tereshinski’s new strength and conditioning regimen this summer. Place-kicker Blair Walsh has pumped iron to the point that he now gets some ribbing from teammates for rolling up his jersey sleeves to expose his biceps. He states proudly that he’s in the best shape of his life and feeling stronger than ever as the Bulldogs embark on the 2011 season. And if the previous three are any indication, the senior from Boca Raton will be breathing some rare air once the year is over. He’s already fourth on Georgia’s career scoring charts with 304 points and needs 105 to run down Billy Bennett. He has averaged 104 the last two seasons and will need only 10 points to pass Herschel Walker. A Lou Groza Award finalist in 2009 and semifinalist in 2010, Walsh aims to win his position’s top award in this year. He’s already off to a good start as a consensus preseason All-SEC pick and he’s been booming 50-yarders routinely in practice. Following is what Walsh had to say after a practice this past week.

Q: You look like you may have gotten a little bigger since last year. That true?

A: “Yes, I’ve put on some muscle, thank you. I’ve been working hard this offseason. Been working a lot on my core and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I feel like I’m in the best shape since I’ve been here.”

Q: Is it important for a kicker to be strong beyond the leg he kicks with?

A: “It’s absolutely important. You’ve got to be in the best shape you can be each and every day because, when you go out on that field, there’s a lot of going on. You have to be ready physically and your stamina has to be up. . . . So you have to be ready to go; you have to be in good shape. I think we’re commonly misconceived as fat and overweight guys who can’t cut it physically. But I think most breeds of kickers nowadays are athletes.”

Q: I assume there’s some occasional hitting involved, too. How many times would you say you have been involved in contact in a game?

A: “I’ve probably been involved in contact at least 10 or 15 times. I’ve been run over a few times [laughs]. I’ve always been able to withstand it pretty well, but I think now I should be able to hold my own even more if somebody breaks out. But if he’s got a head start I’m done. I’m not going to run down anybody.”

Q: What would you say has been your best lick?

A: “Idaho State. The guy came off the corner and was surprised to see me. I got my arms around him and got him to the ground. They gave me a tackle for that one.”

Q: How many career tackles do you have?

A: “I don’t know, three, four maybe.”

Q: So what kind of expectations do you have for this season?

A: “Our expectations are high. We put high expectations on ourselves. Drew [Butler] and I been here for at least four years now and this is our last go-around. We worked hard in the offseason. I know people see that around here and appreciate it. We’re just hoping it pays off in the field.”

Q: Between you and Drew, and of course your snappers and holders and returners, a lot of folks are saying Georgia has the best special teams unit in the country this season. Do you buy that?

A: “We made a goal going into our sophomore years that we were going to be the No. 1 special teams unit when it’s all said and done here, at Georgia and in the nation. I think we’re slowly achieving that goal.”

Q: Georgia already has a commitment from another South Florida kicker, Marshall Morgan. What do you know about him?

A: “I’ve talked to him a few times. He’s a great kid and it seems like he’ll fit in well up here. If he continues to work hard and stay humble I think everything will be fine.”

Q: Do you find it unusual that the past two UGA kickers have come from Florida? Weren’t there some pretty good kickers from Georgia this year?

A: “Georgia looks for a guy that understands his job is important to the team, who works hard and can be dependable. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy from Georgia or Florida or Alaska, as long as you can go find a guy that can fit that criteria it doesn’t matter. In general, I think kickers are more willing to go out of state to find a place where they fit in and are needed and can be successful.”

Q: There have been a lot of great kickers come through here. You’re on pace to finish as one of the most productive ever. Where do you think you fit into the kicker legacy?

A: “In terms of my legacy, I’m honored just to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the names that have been around here. [Brandon] Coutu, [Billy] Bennett, [Kevin] Butler, [John] Kasay, [Rex] Robinson, all those guys have been such great kickers here. I really do believe this is “Specialist University.” People always say, it’s Tight End U or Running Back U. I think there’s a lot to be said for calling it Specialist U because of all the great specialists that have been here. People come here and succeed. There’s just something about it. The work ethic has been set by the ones who have come before us. It’s just phenomenal.”

47 comments Add your comment

goldwreck

August 15th, 2011
6:16 am

He is a good kicker.He might be a difference maker in the first couple of games.

bigdaddy J

August 15th, 2011
6:23 am

Great kicker. But it will be a great year if we don’t have to use him as much and punch the darn ball in the end zone once we get inside the 20.

bardawg

August 15th, 2011
6:38 am

Keep your fingers crossed & hope for a special year . Go Dawgs!

JustMyOpinion

August 15th, 2011
6:38 am

What about Bogotay?

Palm City Dawg

August 15th, 2011
6:46 am

Junkyard with great special teams

oledawg

August 15th, 2011
7:10 am

Thanks Blair for your years at UGA! Hope you get to make a “Kevin Butler type kick” and win a big game for us this season. You deserve that opportunity. You are a DGD!

gomdawg

August 15th, 2011
7:28 am

Blair, you are what I call a True Bulldawg THANKS for being a Dawg and good luck this year I think this is a year that you will set records on some great wins.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 15th, 2011
7:28 am

Something to be said about lining up or that 42 yard FG attempt and having 100% confidence that you got the guy who can make it. Kid has came in from day one and been solid.

jrmdvm1

August 15th, 2011
7:42 am

I want him to get his 105 points kicking extra points!

jbdawg

August 15th, 2011
7:53 am

Chip, any chance you can post a blog about tailgating at the dome? Where are the best places? We’re planning to have a group of 20+.

JB

August 15th, 2011
8:14 am

HE will WIN us a game or two this year. Pretty Important guy I would say!

JAWJeRDAWG

August 15th, 2011
8:17 am

I like Blair Walsh’s acknowledgement of his and Drew Butler’s off-season S and C focus to make him an even better kicker and them a better specialist unit.

Hopefully our offense will be able to score within the redzone, but if not, it’s nice to know we have two place kickers we can depend on, and a punter who can punt us out of a hole if it’s 4th down and it’s too long to try a fieldgoal.

UGA has been fortunate to have had good kicking and punting specialists particularly through its recent football history, and these two are among the greatest.

I feel good about our chances for points when Blair Walsh is lined up for a kick. Good luck to him this year in 100 % of his attempts.

Between he and Bogotay, I like our chances for a 60+-yard successful attempt, too, this year. .. Go Dawgs!

Whiskey Breath

August 15th, 2011
8:17 am

Kevin Butler used to do the same thing except he was always flexing them on national TV. I think he continued while he was playing on the Bears until an opposing player knocked the crap out of him on a kickoff. Blair, don’t flex your muscles around the other players. I think it makes them mad.

Destin Dawg

August 15th, 2011
8:17 am

Kicking game is a huge plus.. we’ll need Blair in a defensive struggle against S.C. Go Dawgs !!

Ralph

August 15th, 2011
8:26 am

@JustMyOpinion: and Dad, you’re entitled to it.

Frank Lane

August 15th, 2011
8:28 am

Thanks for interviewing a key member of a great team, one that often is taken for granted.

BG

August 15th, 2011
8:43 am

Walsh is the best kicker in the country hands down. Good luck this year Blair! GO DAWGS!!!

Donnie McMickens coulda won the Heisman...

August 15th, 2011
9:02 am

Hopefully Bobo can come up with schemes to get us in the end zone. BW is a great kicker, but we need extra points much more often than field goals.

Nomobama

August 15th, 2011
9:06 am

speaking of kicks (to the groin) longtime AJC loony lib C Tucker is leaving the ajc to go spew her socialist views and do her best to warp the best & brightest journalism students at UGA. As they say back home in the community….”oh lawd”.

Paddy

August 15th, 2011
9:14 am

bigdaddyj………I am with you. Love what Walsh has done and what he could do this season. Hope he gets his points but I too want more td’s. Alot more td’s. Maybe he can get his points with PAT’s?

Bryan G.

August 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Um…Chip…can he comment on someone who is a commit? Isn’t that an NCAA violation?

DawginLex

August 15th, 2011
9:45 am

What is it with our players and these scooter accidents?

Ray Drew sprained his shoulder?

bubba4dawgs

August 15th, 2011
9:45 am

Blair is definitely a difference maker! He takes the worry out of having to score a TD and can make it mighty tough on a team having to start from their own end zone rather than the 20. Thank You, Blair, the Dawg Nation is grateful! Best of luck for a super season!!

DawginLex

August 15th, 2011
9:53 am

Hopefully this kid can win a couple of games for us

UGA Insider

August 15th, 2011
9:55 am

Please tell me my tax dollars are not going to pay C Tucker at UGA!!!! I am going to call and write my representative and Mike Adams todayif this is true!! Please do the same if you are a parent or a graduate of UGA. This woman is one of the nastiest most vile people I have ever read. I hope it is not true she has been hired at UGA.

Lindsey

August 15th, 2011
9:58 am

Good luck the season Blair, GO DAWGS!!!

schmeckdawg

August 15th, 2011
10:05 am

Hey Chip, how about an update on Ray Drew!

schmeckdawg

August 15th, 2011
10:08 am

DawginLex

August 15th, 2011
9:45 am
What is it with our players and these scooter accidents?

Ray Drew sprained his shoulder?

————————————————————————————————————

I know, it is unreal. I mean I remember when Lumpkin ran into a car backing out of a parking space and suffered minor injuries. Then there was the baseball player Chance or Chase Veazey that was on one of those damn things and was in an accident and is now paralyzed from the waist down and now this.

Why can’t these kids ride the bus or walk like everybody else.

schmeckdawg

August 15th, 2011
10:09 am

UGA Insider

August 15th, 2011
9:55 am
Please tell me my tax dollars are not going to pay C Tucker at UGA!!!! I am going to call and write my representative and Mike Adams todayif this is true!! Please do the same if you are a parent or a graduate of UGA. This woman is one of the nastiest most vile people I have ever read. I hope it is not true she has been hired at UGA.

————————————————————————————————————————–

You are 1,000% correct!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who Cares!

August 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Boca Baby

August 15th, 2011
10:26 am

There is a really big difference between Kevin Butler and Walsh. Butler was a very, very good defensive back in high school. He came to UGA ready and willing to be a complete player, even on kickoffs. He continued to do just that until Mike Ditka reeled him in at Chicago.

Dean Tate

August 15th, 2011
11:03 am

Here’s hoping Blair is called upon for a ton of extra points and kickoffs and precious few field goals.

Chip Towers

August 15th, 2011
11:47 am

Randall "Pink" Floyd

August 15th, 2011
11:55 am

DGD, Blair. Looking forward to a great Senior campaign from you. GATA.

Big Spur

August 15th, 2011
12:47 pm

I see a lot of field goals for UGA this year.

Bryan G.

August 15th, 2011
1:09 pm

Mark Richt = “Field Goal Jesus”

NICK

August 15th, 2011
1:32 pm

I’d prefer that 105 points to come one at a time!

buzzDawg

August 15th, 2011
1:42 pm

I agree with an earlier post. Hopefully Blair Walsh will break the records with PATs and the punts Drew Butler has to make will be during the mop-up operations in the fourth quarter when the Dawgs are coasting to a win.

Tobias Funke

August 15th, 2011
2:14 pm

Bennett was the best I’ve ever seen.

Alabama | MrSEC.com

August 15th, 2011
2:43 pm

[...] guns on UGA’s offensive line are starting to feel some pressure.7.  Placekicker Blair Walsh wants to go out in style.8.  A number of SEC teams might have to use multi-quarterback systems this year.9.  [...]

BiggdawgK

August 15th, 2011
4:00 pm

Blair Walsh is a textbook example of a damn good dawg. I still stand by my predicition I made when he was a freshman. Before his UGA career is over BW will kick a 60 yarder in a game.

Lilburn Dawg

August 15th, 2011
4:06 pm

We’ll be pulling for you! Great Dawg! As the first poster said, you may be the game difference……..in the first two games especially.

441North

August 15th, 2011
7:27 pm

BW has emerged as a leader on this team, based on what he said after last season. We sorely missed that kind of leadership last year. I’m glad we have him. GATA !

Hunkerdown

August 15th, 2011
7:45 pm

Blair is right. UGA has had some of the best of the best in specialist. Good luck this year and go Dawgs!

FaithfulDawg86

August 16th, 2011
10:40 am

Great young man – love his attitude. UGA has has some great kickers (Robinson and Butler in my days), and that is an awfully good feeling in a defensive struggle or last minute scoring opportunities…. NEVER take kickers for granted.

how2fish

August 16th, 2011
1:16 pm

Best of luck Blair you have been and continue to be a DGD! Thanks !

RED DOG 77

August 17th, 2011
1:40 am

It is not a matter of “if” Blair Walsh will win a couple games for us this year, it’s a matter of how many he wins………..and who his leg will send to the showers crying?………A great kicker in college football is priceless………yea, you want to stick-it in the end zone, but if you have someone who can add 6……9…..12 points a game, when other teams would punt, that can mean alot of additional W’s………..and The GEEEEOOOORRGIA BULLDOGS have that guy………..Thanks Blair, you’ve been a Damn Good Dog…………..RED