Friday, April 20, 2012

Special changes for special teams

The changes coming to the area of special teams for the 2012 season are both local and global. The NCAA has changed the kickoffs from the 30 yard line to the 35. For a Georgia team that ranked 88th in the country in kickoff coverage (23.1 yards a return) that should be welcome news.


But the air of change is blowing on the inside as well where Richt and staff emphasized drills for special teams during the spring.
“The goal in the spring for the special teams was to get a lot of guys involved and do a lot of drill work that will help us. First of all, evaluate, ‘Can a guy do what we’re going to ask him to do. Can he get off a block. Can he tackle in space? Can he protect a kick?’ ” coach Mark Richt said. “We were just wanting everybody to understand that everybody and anybody could end up on a special team — a starter, a second-teamer, whatever it is.”
That may or may not just sound like coach speak to you. But Coach Olivadotti sounds as if there is more tweaking needed than whole scale changes.
“We were bad statistically, but within games we actually played good,” Olivadotti said. “What bad teams always say or I always say this to the players, ‘Whenever you’re talking about one or two plays that you want to take out, you didn’t play good.’ As a whole, you’ve got to look at that we obviously let two touchdowns get on you and we can’t have that.”
Coupled with the continued focus on revamping the offensive line, and the arrival of two brand new freshman kickers, this will be something to keep an eye on in August.