ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt suggested Tuesday that he might take on an added duty next season: direct responsibility for coaching the Bulldogs’ kicker and punter.
“One thing that I can do as head coach is at least spend time learning the kicking and punting fundamentals well enough to be their coach,” Richt said. “Right this minute I wouldn’t say I have enough expertise to do that, but I think this off-season it would be wise for me to do something like that because I am freed up enough to do that.
“And if that’s my contribution to special teams in the future, I think it’d be valuable.”
Richt’s comments came as Georgia continues to struggle on special teams and prepares to face a Florida team that excels in that area.
Georgia’s special-teams problems this season have included extra points (four misses, tied for most in the SEC), net punting (last in the SEC) and punt returns (eighth in the SEC). Florida leads the nation in punting and also ranks near the top of the SEC in several other special-teams categories.
Georgia’s coaching staff doesn’t have a designated special-teams coordinator, instead dividing the duties among various assistants. Florida has a special-teams coordinator, D.J. Durkin, who also coaches linebackers. Durkin has seven years of experience as a special-teams coordinator.
Richt didn’t indicate any plans to establish such a position, noting college staffs are limited to nine on-field assistants.
“You can assign somebody within your staff to do it, or if you don’t (and) there’s no attrition, you’re going to fire somebody to hire a special-teams coordinator,” Richt said. “So I don’t know if I’m interested in doing that.”
Richt said that across the country some teams have success with a special-teams coordinator and others have success without one. He also noted that some teams with a special-teams coordinator nevertheless divide the actual coaching duties over the various special-teams units among several assistants.
“We’ve had some pretty good punters and kickers over the years since I’ve been here,” Richt said. “We’re not doing anything any differently than we’ve done before, really. But they (Florida) have done a very good job on their special teams, there’s no doubt about that.”
Georgia has a freshman punter, Collin Barber, and a freshman kicker, Marshall Morgan.
Tech, Ga. Southern return tickets
Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech did not sell out their ticket allotments for their games Nov. 17 and Nov. 24, respectively, against Georgia in Athens. Both schools returned the unsold tickets to UGA.
Tech and Georgia Southern had original allotments of 8,000 tickets apiece for their games at Georgia, according to UGA assistant athletic director of ticket operations Tim Cearley. He said Tech returned approximately 1,900 unsold tickets and Georgia Southern returned approximately 1,400.
UGA plans to put the returned tickets for both games on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Prices are $45 for the Georgia Southern game and $75 for the Tech game.
Georgia’s offense is ranked No. 4 in the nation and Florida’s defense No. 4, according to the weekly UPS Team Performance Index for all 120 major-college teams. The index ranks Georgia’s defense 50th and Florida’s offense 80th. … Richt remained optimistic about linebacker Jarvis Jones’ status for Saturday’s game: “We think he will be able to play.” Jones sat out last week’s game at Kentucky with a sprained ankle.