PK Blair Walsh getting lots of advice amid worst slump of career

Blair Walsh, who has missed 10 of his 23 field goal attempts this season, has gotten plenty of advice on fixing his slump. (AP photo)

Blair Walsh, who has missed 10 of his 23 field goal attempts this season, has gotten plenty of advice on fixing his slump. (AP photo)

ATHENS — Technically, Blair Walsh doesn’t have a kicking coach. Not at Georgia anyway.

The Bulldogs don’t include a kicking coach or even a special teams coordinator among their NCAA limit of nine assistant coaches.

But that doesn’t mean Walsh doesn’t get advice. For that, Georgia’s senior place-kicker has endless resources.

Through high school, Walsh trained under Nick Gancitano of the Nick Gancitano Kicking Academy in South Florida and Walsh still talks to Gancitano regularly about kicking. But Walsh hears from plenty of other experts as well.

“Nick Gancitano is a guy I refer to as my coach, but I’ve had a lot of guys reach out to me and talk to me about kicking throughout my entire career,” Walsh said this week. “I talk to them about the ups and downs of the job and they give me words of encouragement or advice or tell me if they see anything I need to change. Nick, Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler, Billy Bennett, all those guys have been a help to me.”

Walsh has gotten more than his share of advice this season as he has endured the worst slump of his collegiate career. The 2009 Lou Groza Award finalist has missed 10 of 23 field goal attempts this season. This after missed just five kicks in his sophomore and junior seasons combined.

“Sometimes it can be overwhelming to hear everybody’s opinion,” Walsh said. “But those guys know what they’re talking about. They’ve been doing it a long time and they’ve been successful at this level and obviously  above. I’m open for any advice from them because they know what they’re talking about for sure.”

For decades, Georgia had a kicking coach in the late Bill Hartman Jr., a former All-American who handled the duty as a volunteer assistant. But the NCAA eliminated volunteer coaches in the late 1990s and the Bulldogs, like most teams, have been winging it ever since.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he and the Bulldogs’ assistants generally steer away from giving the kickers technical or mental advice. He equated it to golfers, who generally have their own personal swing coaches.

“[Kickers] still kind of rely heavily on the guys that have taught them all along,” Richt said. “If you have too many people trying to teach a guy to swing a club or to swing his leg as a kicker you could have problems. The unfortunate thing is we can’t just bring Blair’s coach in there and let him coach him, even for a couple of hours.  That is a problem. It’d be nice to have somebody on staff who is an expert at that.”

Walsh’s problems finally reached a point where last week Richt opened up the kicking competition between him and Brandon Bogotay and had them alternate kicks in last Saturday’s game against New Mexico State. Bogotay, a senior from San Diego, is also a scholarship kicker.

The Bulldogs brought him to Athens in 2008 when Walsh was  struggling with kickoffs. But Bogotay enters this week’s Auburn game having attempted only one field goal in his career — a miss from 35 yards in last season — and neither played had a try against the Aggies. Bogotay was 4-for-4 on extra points.

Walsh said he hasn’t made any wholesale changes in his kick during the slump. Meanwhile, Richt said the competition between Walsh and Bogotay continued in practice this week. He could not, however say how the rotation, if there was one, would work against Auburn on Saturady.

“If I knew 100 percent I really wouldn’t want to tell you now anyway,” he said.

From a practical standpoint, it seems unlikely the Bulldogs would throw a unseasoned kicker such as Bogotay into a field goal duty in as crucial an SEC game as is Auburn on Saturday. Georgia needs to win it to remain in first place in the SEC East with one conference game remaining.

And when you consider that the average score of the Georgia-Auburn series over 114 games is 15.86-15.53, it could well come down to a kick from Walsh.

Walsh said he’ll be ready if that happens.

“Like I’ve said, my abilities are still there and I believe in myself and I believe in my ability to perform on the field consistently,” he said. “I just think I need to get into a rhythm and gets some kicks under my belt and move from there.”

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96 comments Add your comment

PrimeTime#8

November 10th, 2011
11:22 am

Gregg

November 10th, 2011
11:23 am

I still have confidence in Blair. Go Dogs!

SimpleDawg

November 10th, 2011
11:26 am

Kicking seems to be a very important part of a football team. I’d find a way, within the NCAA rules, to provide coaching to kickers.

Maybe through counseling – sports psychology – players could work out their problems. Surely, UGA has some professor on staff that could help……if not, get one.

Throwing away 6 points per game seems to be pretty reckless.

nvdjnvdjbgv

November 10th, 2011
11:27 am

Let Bogaty kick, Blair has got a bad case of the shanks!!

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
11:29 am

Does anybody know if Walsh and Butler did anything different in the revamped s&c program?

Both Butler and Walsh...

November 10th, 2011
11:33 am

…have bad cases of “senioritis” – both have been clearly looking too hard at next year, hoping that they could get the “cash” – too bad they have both blown their chances of getting drafted and will now have to go the free agent route having to prove themselves, while being known for “choking” when their careers were on the line…

1eyedJack

November 10th, 2011
11:33 am

Surely Rex or Kevin could have him over to the house for a hamburger or hotdog and a kick or two.

ole yeller

November 10th, 2011
11:33 am

I don’t know what has happened. I know he was kicking super last year. I hope he breaks out this weekend. We may need a kick or two. If he has trouble this weekend he’s probably through. Appears, no Confidents.

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

November 10th, 2011
11:35 am

Well, let’s hope and pray that the DAWGS will be ahead by 15 points and won’t need a field goal.

Trojan

November 10th, 2011
11:36 am

CMR: Put more attention to special teams.

Blair: You are a great kicker, just get straightened out and beat Auburn.

Palm City Dawg

November 10th, 2011
11:38 am

Just close your eyes and say a BIG prayer.

Destin Dawg

November 10th, 2011
11:40 am

Fundamentals… keep your head down and follow through… just like my golf game.. Walsh has hit some good kicks .. just alittle off to the right… rotate kickers like last week ?? and GO for it on 4th and 1 yard … Go Dawgs.. Beat Auburn.!!!!.

Destin Dawg

November 10th, 2011
11:45 am

Try a fake field goal.. or punkeroosky.. just once this week ???

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
11:46 am

I listened to Danielson visiting with 680thefan this a.m. He said he thinks Murray is the best QB in the SEC by far. He also didn’t discount Auburn, saying the Georgia is a “thin edge” better in Saturday’s game. Apparently, Auburn has some key people returning from injuries.

Texas Dawg

November 10th, 2011
11:51 am

I agree with SimpleDawg. I would think that the athletic department would have a sports psychologist on staff.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 10th, 2011
11:52 am

As Jackie Mason famously said in Caddyshack II, “Be the ball.”

DC

November 10th, 2011
11:53 am

We have two offensive key players back…Emory blake (#1 receiver) and Trevon Reed (Wide receiver)..our offense was clicking until they got hurt especially Blake. Our offense will be running on all cylinders and we are finally healthy and refreshed…we have no excuses going into saturday.

UGA Insider

November 10th, 2011
11:54 am

Bogotay was brought here for the sole purpose of kicking the ball in the endzone on kick-offs. He was never suppose to kick field goals. It was said Bogotay could kick the ball off into the stands however he must have been kicking off on the 50 because I have never seen him do it at practice or pre-game warmup.

UGA Insider

November 10th, 2011
11:56 am

I can be Walsh’s coach from here……Stop going downtown and get some sleep!

There, it’s all better now.

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
12:00 pm

DC – How about McCaleb?

Highlands

November 10th, 2011
12:01 pm

Look, I love the Dawgs, love CMR, so I’m not saying this to be a troll, but: ever notice how some kickers are awesome, right up until the point when they’re not (Gramatica, Vanderjagt)? Generally, they develop a problem upstairs, and then you never hear from them again. Blair Walsh is so talented he completely fizzled out in college. He’s been TERRIBLE this season, cost us the game against USC, and very nearly did against Florida. I’m almost to the point of either go for 1st or punt on every fourth, because he is KILLING drives and keeping the opposing team in games. GRADUATE, BLAIR. To paraphrase Motley Crue, “(Blair!) Don’t Go Away Mad/ (Blair!) Just Go Away)…”

zbulldawg

November 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

I predict Blair will do great things for UGA before the season ends! BUT just like the rest of the team it won’t matter SOME will have a hard time admitting they where wrong. I LOVE IT GO DAWGS SICK EM

Joey

November 10th, 2011
12:09 pm

What’s your prediction, DC?

I think it is 50/50, with Auburn in the “nothing to lose” mode, and if Richt gets conservative, it could be a bad day for us.

DC

November 10th, 2011
12:11 pm

McCaleb is healthy. All key players for AU are good to go. Dyer needs 11 yrds to pass the 1,000 yrd mark. If UGA is to win they have to stop Dyer and McCaleb and control line of scrimmage (in my opinion).

AU’s keys to success will be to get pressure on Murray…longer he has time easier he will pick apart our young secondary. AU gives up yardage in the run game but UGA’s RBs dont scare me (not this year at least)..

JDawg1785

November 10th, 2011
12:16 pm

I have faith in Blair. Go Dawgs!!

Old Dawg Fan

November 10th, 2011
12:17 pm

I think Walsh needs to go and get “hammered” Friday night, have a hang over and don’t worry about it Saturday.

DC

November 10th, 2011
12:18 pm

Joey,

Its a tough call for me…that 12 1/2 spread seems interesting to me..I feel UGA can cover that if AU can’t get to murray..

I also remember what I saw USCe running game do to UGA but that was without o’tree…I’m expecting scoring to get in the 30s easy…

You are correct on the “nothing to lose” but coaches talking about wanting to get a good bowl game as well…think the cotton bowl is still in our sights…if we lose to UGA, I see us going to the Chik fil A bowl.

Ok here goes…here is my bias war eagle prediction 34-31 AU..haha..I just hope sec 107 will be kind to me with my dyer jersey on hah

RedandBlackDawg

November 10th, 2011
12:29 pm

Defense rules the game this year. Defense wins games and opens up opportunities for the offense. Auburn’s defense is young and not the equal of the DAWGS which is a mixture of experience and young eager players. If Murray’s protection is good and it should be, UGA can have a field day if CMR and Bobo let them play and do not, repeat do not, go conservative. UGA has the defense to control Auburn’s offense so let our offense play an open game. Auburn’s offense has to worry about trying to control the line of scrimmage and J.J. roaming in their backfield to cause chaos.
I hope it will be a good clean game, without injuries happening to either team.
I think UGA will win, and the offense, if allowed to play the game, will put points up pretty easily against their defense.

GO DAWGS and GATA

Old Dog, Retired

November 10th, 2011
12:29 pm

Blair Walsh shouldn’t have taken those kicking lessons from Scott Norwood.

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
12:33 pm

RedandBlackDawg – Who’s in and who’s out on the Georgia O-line? Lee has a broken leg, but he was originally a buckup, if I recall correctly.

DP

November 10th, 2011
12:35 pm

Chip, the headline to another of your blogs says “Georgia’s Cordy Glenn let’s (sic) his play do the talking”. What’s the apostrophe there for, a possessive for “his play”? Surely you didn’t write the headline.

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
12:38 pm

DP -Chip will probably answer that, but I was told last year that interns write the headlines. There have been some really interesting ones on the AJC main and news pages.

DP

November 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

Delbert, my understanding was that reporters typically don’t write the headlines. But I figured editors did, not interns. Surely they can find interns who can handle basic grammar.

ReservoirDawg

November 10th, 2011
12:57 pm

DC wears a jersey. LOL!

DC

November 10th, 2011
12:59 pm

lets be real Reservoir..its better than your overalls…hah

doodoobailey

November 10th, 2011
1:02 pm

You know what helps with the shanks? Strange, just saying.

ReservoirDawg

November 10th, 2011
1:08 pm

I hope you don’t wear jean shorts with it!

DawginLex

November 10th, 2011
1:09 pm

Walsh needs to go find Tin Cup and Romeo and get rid of the yips

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2011
1:09 pm

A good friend of mine’s daughter graduated from Georgia in Journalism several years ago, and she interned during the summer with the AJC. Very intelligent young lady.

DC

November 10th, 2011
1:11 pm

who wears jean shorts these days? haha..I think i wore those when i was 5

NCDawgs Fan

November 10th, 2011
1:27 pm

Blair, just remember the Bobby Boucher cheer from The Waterboy……”YOU CAN DOOOO IT!!!” Love the confidence from Walsh. He will come through when we need him!

Inman Park Boy

November 10th, 2011
1:36 pm

I’m glad someone is writing about sports today. Thanks!

Smoking with Crowell

November 10th, 2011
1:39 pm

He just needs to come hit the pipe with me…..a little relaxation never hurt anybody. That being said I hope he gets it solved this weekend. He can miss all he wants against Kentucky as the Dawgs will beat them like a rented mule…..

Smoking with Crowell

November 10th, 2011
1:40 pm

He needs to see the sports psychologist John Smoltz visited……..

All Saints

November 10th, 2011
1:41 pm

Just a little reminder that we’ll be having our regular tribute and moment of silence on Saturday for Saint Jan Kemp, the courageous martyr who exposed UGA and Vince Dooley’s “remedial studies” fraud. Mark Richt keeps the scam going even today, almost thirty years later.

Please approach this special moment with reverence as we honor her sacred name.

Russ or no Russ, that is the question

November 10th, 2011
1:44 pm

How is Russ the Temporary Mascot doing this week? Last time I saw him, he had a bad case of mange and he was crawling with worms. Gross!

JB

November 10th, 2011
2:00 pm

Hope he doesn’t have to win it Saturday from 48 yards out with 4 seconds left

ole yeller

November 10th, 2011
2:05 pm

@JB
That is the one he would hit.Tthe 25-35 scares the hell out of me.

reasonable dawg

November 10th, 2011
2:06 pm

If we just had Saban or MIles or Muschamp or Smart or Peterson as head coach, he wouldn’t be missing those field goals….it’s Richt’s and Bobo’s fault!!

Sarcasm off now.

Good luck Blair and Go Dawgs, beat Auburn!

Destin Dawg

November 10th, 2011
2:18 pm

Run the ball from the I… still want to try Malcome ? Granthan’s Junkyard Defense vs. Malzahn’s offense should be exciting…. Go for it on 4th and short… try a fake kick once this year ?? Go dawgs.. Beat Awlbarn !!