Georgia’s Mark Richt breaks down his special teams philosophies

ATHENS – Obviously the most critical area for Georgia to shore up for this final stretch of the regular season is its special teams. I outlined the Bulldogs’ poor statistical standing in most facets of special teams earlier in the week.

Yesterday, coach Mark Richt provided some details as far as how much they work on special teams on a daily basis and how the responsibilities are divided among the assistants.

Here’s a quick look at what assistants are handing what units and some tidbits about practice and meeting time spent on it. Then you can hear from Richt as far as his philosophies on special teams.

  • PAT/FG — OL coach Will Friend
  • PAT/FG Block — DL coach Rodney Garner
  • Punt team — TEs coach John Lilly
  • Punt return — RB coach Bryan McClendon
  • Kickoff team — LBs coach Kirk Olivadotti
  • Kickoff return — WRs coach Tony Ball

Only defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos doesn’t have an assignment.

According to Richt, Georgia meets and practices specials team every day. Of course the specialists themselves — punters, kicker, snappers, holders — are practicing all day every day in practice. But as units, this is who much time is devoted to them:

Day——-Meetings———Practice
Mon.—–40 mins———-25 mins
Tues.——- 20————-35
Wed.——–20————-25
Thur.——-15————–30
Fri.———60————-n/a

Richt’s comments:

  • On time devoted: “I guess it’s roughly 30 percent of our time, not quite a third of a our time.”
  • Has he considered a full-time special teams coach? “I looked at it. But what happens is, if you have a guy that does only special teams, all of the sudden you’re robbing a position from the offense or defense. . . . You’d be shorthanded on one or the other. So I decided to continue on with what we’ve done since I’ve been here, splitting up the roles.”
  • Should the NCAA allow staff expansion to allow for a full-time special teams coach: “I’d be all for it, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.”
  • Why he settled on this model: “It’s kind of what I was used to [from Florida State and Bobby Bowden].”
  • Is this the preferred method in college football: “I think more people probably do it the way we do, but I’m not sure of that. The NFL doesn’t have a limit so they don’t have to do that.”

Note: According to the 2011 SEC Football media guide, 10 of the 11 league schools have a “special teams coordinator.” Only Mississippi State does not and, i that case, head coach Dan Mullen handles specials team, a la Urban Meyer.

In practice this week, it looks like Georgia has been working in on special teams a lot more of the front-line offensive and defensive. Can’t be sure who will be doing what until Saturday’s game against New Mexico State and maybe not then. Meanwhile, this is what Richt said regarding special teams play at his weekly news conference on Tuesday:

“Early in the year we were doing some things fundamentally extremely well. Then it got especially sloppy in this last ballgame. Guys were just not avoiding blocks in the right direction. If everybody avoids blocks properly, then you’ve got all your gaps taken care of. You have guys just kind of ad-libbing, then you get these creases. So that’s part of it, but also personnel. We are challenging a lot of the guys who play more scrimmage downs to get involved in more than just the opening kickoff. I think everybody can understand how crucial that that play is, so there will be other guys involved personnel-wise. We have to kick the ball in such a way that there is enough hang time to get everybody down there, too.

“We have some true freshmen on there. It’s the same bunch of guys that really did a fantastic job earlier in the year. A lot of it became fundamental. Are you running as hard as you should be? The main thing was are you avoiding blocks properly. The number one fundamental of that team is the number one thing we work on. For whatever reason, a few guys decided they would avoid any way they felt like. We’ll get that straight.”

Thoughts?

– Chip Towers

307 comments Add your comment

Newman

November 3rd, 2011
3:07 pm

I believe there are 12 teams in the SEC…

Kauai DAWG

November 3rd, 2011
3:09 pm

I think a Special Teams coach who can coach the RB’s and or TE’s is what we need. This glarying weakness has to be addressed and those seem like areas we can improve in. Just my humble opinion.

?????

November 3rd, 2011
3:10 pm

i guess if no one is in charge then no one is accountable. Sign me up for that job!

Kauai DAWG

November 3rd, 2011
3:11 pm

For instance as much as we love coach McClendon our RB’s need to improve and our Special Teams need to improve so go find a Special Teams coach first and then let their secondary focus be RB’s or even WR and let coach Ball coach what he played????

Spaceman Spiff

November 3rd, 2011
3:11 pm

@ Newman

Not officially.

why not...

November 3rd, 2011
3:18 pm

can a strength and condtioning coach actually coach? I think Thomas Brown played some special teams in his day. Why not give him a chance. Anything is better than nothing!

Fire Mark Richt!

November 3rd, 2011
3:23 pm

Richt…You are a moron..You claim to be this man of faith, yet, you cleary lie about the timing of the “Drug Test,” and “More coaches doing it the way you do re: NO SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR.” I call BS on all of your responses! This why The University of Georgia has seen a decline in its Football program the last 3-4 years. You can recruit the best players in the state, region and the Country..however, you have not clue on how to motivate and close out games. Every single win UGA has, is a complete struggle! Good Luck!

Golden Bear

November 3rd, 2011
3:23 pm

If everyone (i.e., all the coaches) is responsible, then no one is responsible. And it shows.

Bright Idea

November 3rd, 2011
3:26 pm

I would suggest that one of these coaches is the de facto “special teams coordinator” but Richt does not officially publicize that title. Even with a coordinator, several coaches must assist with each unit to insure success. Just like OC and DC have position coaches.

HARDY DOG

November 3rd, 2011
3:27 pm

They should fire all the Coaches , when is the last time we had a block kick of any kind???????????????????????????/

Dope Skillz

November 3rd, 2011
3:27 pm

Why can’t Richt HANDLE coaching the special teams like Beamer does Chip ?

Zoomie

November 3rd, 2011
3:29 pm

” For whatever reason, a few guys decided they would avoid any way they felt like. We’ll get that straight.”

I really like the things I’m seeing and hearing from CMR these days. There is a noticeable difference in how the football program looks now as compared to the past three or four years.

Did McGarity really make that much of a difference?

Eisendawg

November 3rd, 2011
3:29 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if Harton and Karempelis played so well this weekend that the suspended players had a hard time getting future playing time? Of course, theres not much chance of that happening, but it would be pretty neat if it did.

TampaDawg

November 3rd, 2011
3:29 pm

Fire Mark Richt!

November 3rd, 2011
3:23 pm

Richt…You are a moron..You claim to be this man of faith, yet, you cleary lie about the timing of the “Drug Test,” and “More coaches doing it the way you do
—————————–
My my aren’t we a little quick to judge today. Obviously, you are just coming on here as Chip layed out in a previous blog the timing of when everything happened. And to his credit, he did file the FOI request to see the screening paperwork. Which is way more than you would do. You just want to come on here and lie about someone, blast them with NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER! Go on back to your teams blogs you dumb, ignorant, troll!

Dope Skillz

November 3rd, 2011
3:30 pm

Hire Steve Tasker (Buffalo Bills ) as special teams coach. He was the best special teamer ever !

ArobUGA

November 3rd, 2011
3:30 pm

He meant the 11 league teams other than UGA.

MarineDog

November 3rd, 2011
3:31 pm

@why not,

I don’t think that the NCAA allows more than 11 coaches and it specifically restricts you from getting around that rule by using a strength and conditioning coach in that role. I know the article says that most of the shcools have a special teams coach , but they are probably sacrificing another position coach. Also, the articles says, “coordinator”, which only means that someone is actually responsible. I suppose that they can name someone as the special teams coordinator in order to actually have someone accountable for this area, but it won’t give us another coaching position.

robodawg

November 3rd, 2011
3:32 pm

So, we should name one of the position coaches as the special teams coordinator. Or have Richt take that role.

Also, it’s not just the coverage teams. We need more from the return teams.

I’d like to see more creativity as well. I’m just not that confident right now that if we wanted to fake a punt or pull a surprise on-sides kick that we’d be prepared for it. Or that we’re very likely to stop opponents from pulling off such fakes. Haven’t seen us block a punt in a while either. But we let our punt get blocked at the most critical point in the Vandy game.

We’ve got some major shoring up to do here.

ARdawg

November 3rd, 2011
3:33 pm

Chip,

So essentially, status quo on special teams. Isn’t this the set up prior to the FL game as well? Isn’t this a classic case of doing the same thing over and over yet, expecting different results?

sogadog

November 3rd, 2011
3:33 pm

I love CMR but dang, he has to “CHALLENGE THE GUYS WHO PLAY MORE SCRIMMAGE DOWNS” to play on special teams? Does that mean he has to ASK starters to play special teams? Does he have to say “pretty please with a cherry on top?” I thought coaches said “Get your @$$ out there and play special teams!

Dope Skillz

November 3rd, 2011
3:34 pm

And don’t forget the 35% accurate kicker Walsh & short punter Butler….

Dawg Fan

November 3rd, 2011
3:37 pm

If Richt isn’t the OC or QB coach and is the DC or anything on defense then what is HE doing?

St Simons - we're on Island time

November 3rd, 2011
3:38 pm

run down the field, stay in your lanes, tackle the man with the ball

c’mon man!

AltamahaDawg

November 3rd, 2011
3:38 pm

Looking back at the preseason and the headlines were just how thin we were at LB going into the start. I do think that is part of whay we have not have as many front line player on the ST. Just didnt have the 3 deep LB’s to spare. We can probably afford a few more now getting gassed.

Fair and Balanced

November 3rd, 2011
3:39 pm

I’m tired of reading AJC. Thoth it was a good place get info and entertainment. Dog fans writing many negative comments are driving me away from this site. I’ve been negative sometimes too but I’m done here. I’m gonna support my team and the coaches from this point on. But I won’t be reading AJC.

Dope Skillz

November 3rd, 2011
3:39 pm

Do football games mean so little to Richt that he can let freshmen & walk-ons determine 25% of the game ? If I were the coach my best players would be on special teams. It would matter to me !

Carew Rowell

November 3rd, 2011
3:42 pm

Whatever it is…change it.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Spaceman Spiff

November 3rd, 2011
3:42 pm

@ Fair

The negative comments you speak of come from technerd trolls whose team can’t beat us so they try psyops on us…

doodoobailey

November 3rd, 2011
3:44 pm

Good God, no wonder our ST’s struggle. It’s like having Christmas with 7 sets of in-laws.

Hire 1 dude and make it his priority, along with the TE coach.

Ted Grob

November 3rd, 2011
3:46 pm

“did a fantastic job earlier in the year”. Really, would that be the SC game we lost because of ST?
We were one Butler tackle from losing to Vandy and CMR said special teams were horrible against
UF. How busy can the Tight Ends coach be? ST are at least 30% of the game, Tight Ends aren’t.

Spaceman Spiff

November 3rd, 2011
3:48 pm

@ doodoo

How are you going to hire “1 dude” and make it his priority when the NCAA allows only a certain number of coaches?

doodoobailey

November 3rd, 2011
3:51 pm

You hire “1 dude” to handle all your ST duties ala Belin last year. And yes, I am aware of that little organization called the NCAA dumarse.

Reality

November 3rd, 2011
3:59 pm

Why does UGA need two linebacker coaches? Grantham is the outside LB coach in addition to being the DC, and then there is Olividatti (sp?) as the inside LB’s coach. Why not either have Grantham take over coaching all LB’s (which is what Van Gorder did when he was here) and then have Olividatti or somebody be the ST’s coach, or make Olividatti have the dual role of ST’s coordinator and inside LB’s coach, which would be consistent with all other coordinator roles as virtually every OC and DC out there also coach a position unit.

this dawg want hunt!!

November 3rd, 2011
4:05 pm

Typical B.S. from Richt as always. And as always he reacts to a glaring weakness on his team that almost cost him 2 games(Vandy&Fl) before he reacts and decides to make a change. This is the problem with RIcht, he is always the last person to realize weaknesses of his football team, and by the time he makes changes it is too late. A good coach, and i emphasize GOOD, because RIcht does not fall under that category, sees weaknesses at practice and during scrimmages and makes changes before these problems hurt the team. Richt only sees them after the problems cost the team several games, then he makes a change, if he makes one at all. Richt is a joke now, and he always has been, how many more missed F.G.’s will it take before he lets the other schlarship kicker try? After he losses to Auburn and Tech? Any decent coach would sit Walsh’s ass down, and teach him a lesson.Either you start making F.G’s which is your job, or you sit. Same as with the midget, and vastly overrated Murray. How many more missed opportunities is Richt going to allow this guy. Murray is one of the worst Q.B’s i’ve ever seen with accuracy. The guy misses 9 consecutive passes against Fl., and many of them were to wide open receivers, yet Richt never thinks about sitting his ass down for a series or 2 to show him, he had better start making accurate passes, and good decisions, or your ass will be standing beside me. That is the problem with RIcht and UGA, players aren’t held accountable for their play or their mistakes. If you are a starter, doesn’t matter how you perform on the field, you will have your job next week. Richt will NEVER win another SEC championship, and you cool-aid drinkers keep drinking, because he want beat Auburn or Tech. But celebrate UGA fans, you got what you wanted, 4 or 5 more years of this pathetic product that Richt and his coaches put on display. One last question to you RIcht lovers. When was the last time Richt had a team prepared to play in a big game in the 1st qtr? Not wait until you are behind by 2 or 3 scores? The answer is, 2007. That is pathetic, and so is RIcht and his coaches.

Alter Ego

November 3rd, 2011
4:06 pm

Spaceman Spiff-
Great handle.

Danny

November 3rd, 2011
4:07 pm

A Tech fan here but both UGA’S and Tech’s ST suck. Is it pretty much across the board that teams don’t generally hire ST coaches? If that is so, that is a real shame. A blunder on ST can win or lose a game for you. I consider it very important.

dawggirl

November 3rd, 2011
4:09 pm

Whatever we’re doing, isn’t working. So we need to change it. Whether that is the coaches responsibilities, shifting things around, moving starting personnel, whatever. Just DO IT.

BobDawg

November 3rd, 2011
4:10 pm

@Reality…. go back to selling for Mary Kay and let the coaches coach,,,, the 3/4 is pretty complex with the Linebacking corp as a main focal point… If Grantham feels he needs 2 coaches, then by God, the Man needs 2 coaches for his Linebackers.., Seems like he is doing a pretty good job! and No they don’t need to go over to the Spl Teamers and hold the football while they kick the friggin ball,,, They will get all this worked out this week and be back to normal for the Barners.

DawginLex

November 3rd, 2011
4:10 pm

Anyone thinking we throw it 50 times Saturday?

I bet not.

I bet Harton and Karampelis get to run it a lot. Big OL versus and undersized D-line.

Defense might not be able to find them until it’s too late.

Predicted depth chart for Auburn

Harton
Crowell
Thomas

Start Harton. That will shut up all the idiots.

No wonder the special teams are bad...

November 3rd, 2011
4:13 pm

…you need ONE guy to be responsible for all teams, not someone for each segment – the reason being that the special teams coach will be into ALL of the moments requiring those players and he, and he alone, can account for people who may be missing due to injur,y thus having the backups ready – with the multi-coach approach you might have people missing and no one knows if that particular coach is busy tending something other than the need for whatever team is needed at any point in time…

NCAA Critic

November 3rd, 2011
4:13 pm

One has to expect that problem areas will arise during a season. The frustration with Georgia is the apparent lack of success in addressing and correcting problems within the context of a season or a game. If we start the year tackling poorly, we will probably finish the year tackling poorly. If a RB repeated pulls himself out of a game early in the season, he is still removing himself in the November games. Game clock management, suspended licenses, a receiver dropping passes, etc.-we don’t seem capable of rectifying any issues.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 3rd, 2011
4:15 pm

this dawg want hunt!!

A post like that will bring the bong smokers after you

beware some of them go by Altamah Dawg, WDE, Tampa Dawg, Mr. Krinkle

People dont want to here facts on here just puffs of smoke

Hey, Dawginlex......

November 3rd, 2011
4:15 pm

…you are giving BooBoo too much credit if you think he will even think of our big line maybe being better than the NMS undersized line – see Boise State as example 1…granbted, BS may have better players than NMS, but BooBoo is still calling plays, so I will not be surprised at all if he chunks it up there 50 times…

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 3rd, 2011
4:16 pm

Actually just beware of the likes of Fat Tar as he perceives himself as a voice of reason, similar to Thomas Brown.

Destin Dawg

November 3rd, 2011
4:19 pm

great improvement on Defense under Grantham…. how about Richt/Bo Bo brain trust ?? do some creative play calling ?? reverse… end around… fake kick just once in a while to keep opponents off balance ??? Murray good on roll out QB delay/draw… go Dwags !!

UGAfan

November 3rd, 2011
4:20 pm

Since the coaches each handle a special team individually then I would say with the results we have had so far would lead one to believe that collectively they are a failure. Do these special teams ride the short bus to practice ?

Obviously, Reality......

November 3rd, 2011
4:21 pm

…you are a little light in the football knowledge area – inside linebackers and outside linebackers are not interchangeable parts from a coaching point of view; so, yes, you do need separate coaches for those positions, just as you need two coaches for the D Line, one for interior linemen, and one for DE’s. While you can plug an outside linebacker into the inside, and vice-versa, you still are teaching very different skill sets…

BigdaddyJ

November 3rd, 2011
4:24 pm

Time for Tony Ball to go…running backs always have issues and our kick off coverage team is awful. Both fall under Ball.

DAWG COLONEL

November 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm

I can coach the Kickoff Team……….KICK THE BALL THROUGH THE ENDZONE! I thought that was one of the reasons we recruited Bogotay. He was kicking it out routinely. I assume he is still on the team.

I am available a no charge and short notice.

Paul Garmon

November 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm

I agree with the “Fier Mark Richt” guy.