Monday, October 31, 2011

Teams that are not so special...WTF?

Eight games into the season and I'm still trying to wrap my head around our special teams. Blair Walsh is taking the brunt of it, but obviously there is evidence that the problems are much more widespread. And now it may have caught up to Drew Butler who had an average of 34 yards a punt against Florida.

What the hell is going on?
  • Field goals. You have to try Bogatay, right? It's to the point that Walsh is doing more than hurting the team. His psyche seems as strong as his leg, but no one can withstand the pressure he has to be feeling at this point.
  • Kickoffs. Again, you have to try Bogatay, right? I mean, this is what he was brought here to do. A dagger turns inside my heart every time we miss a field goal attempt, but a close second to that are the kickoffs that fail to reach the endzone. Walsh was putting them as deep as you needed on a consistent basis early in the season.
  • Coverage. Saturday was awful. Bad enough that it nearly cost us the game. And as I remarked afterwards, this was after a bye week when we had the extra time to work on these things. Did our coverage team get fat and lazy when Walsh had seven touchbacks in a row against South Carolina? I don't know. But we're beyond looking for band-aids at this point. Use the Homecoming cupcake to try a different approach, new personnel, both...a sacrificial chicken...acupuncture........helium in the pigskin (ala Jackie Sherrill for you oldtimers).
  • Returns. We're reactionary in our approach. Say what you want about Urban Meyer, but his special teams were top notch. They should've taken a step back this season, and I just didn't see it Saturday. Because we just go through the motions setting up and executing a return. Boykin is down to a very pedestrian 22 yards a return this season. He averaged 18 yards Saturday. We've gone from thunder and lightning to a light drizzle around the 20 yard line.
No one is functioning at an SEC level on special teams. And with Butler, Walsh and Boykin returning for the senior season it seemed this would be a special year to watch them. As Phil Dunphy would say, Why the face?


JenniferfromLaJolla said...

I am wondering if CMR's plan is to stick with Walsh this week, when presumably (due to our cupcake-ish opponent) he should be very relaxed, and see if he whiffs. If he does whiff, Walsh should be benched. I hope CMR sees it that way too. 

Bernie said...

The other side to that is, with NMSU coming in it might be a good time to build Bogatay's confidence before Auburn when we might actually need a kick to win it. I don't know. I still feel like if Bogatay were good enough he would have already beaten Walsh out. But we have two kickers on scholarship and are missing more than we're making.

Then again, we might just become a team that goes for it on fourth down once we cross midfield. That worked well Saturday. 

Brian Ard said...

I understand that Boykin is looking for space, but he truly started out jogging in a couple of those returns. Whereas Floridian Mighty Mouse* just turned on his jets and out ran everyone.

I know I'm not in the arena, but if Boykin tracked down a Mighty Mouse* from behind, something tells me he can use that speed to CREATE space. 

*don't remember if it was Demps or Rainey - and don't care.

UGA70 said...

With regard to Special Teams, it appears to me we need someone on the coaching staff to take responsibility for coaching Special Team play.  As I understand it, those responsibilities are shared by different coaches but no one is lead coach.  This just leads to no one being "in charge" or responsible for the ST's efforts or lack thereof.  I understand that Frank Beamer at VATech is their Special Teams coach, that's why they call it "Beamer Ball" and they have been very successful on Special Team play.  We should determine how other successful teams coach their ST's and consider realigning our ST's coaching.  While multiple coaches could be involved in a team effort approach, I think you still need someone on the coaching staff being the lead ST's coach or coach in-charge, whether it's Coach Richt or someone else.