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Blog: Georgia has special teams ‘shortcomings’ to once again tackle

It’s become an annual offseason issue to address for Georgia in recent years.

Fixing what ails the Bulldogs on special teams.

“Certainly we’ve got to get some better answers in our special teams,” coach Mark Richt said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean changing any coaches on what they do or all that kind of thing, but I’m going to make that a point of emphasis for myself and our staff and give them carte blanche to take trips of maybe bring people in to really solidify what we’re doing and be certain we’re doing the right things schematically and technically.”

Richt said that before the offseason of 2012.

He then vowed to personally get more involved in 2013 with the kickers and punters.

Marshall Morgan had a terrific sophomore season, leading the nation in field goals per game at 2.0 and making 22 of 24.

Adam Erickson eventually replaced Collin Barber as punter late in the season after the Bulldogs had issues with two punts blocked and handling snaps.

Georgia ranked last in the SEC in kickoff returns (18.6) and punt returns (2.92). Only California nationally had a worse punt return average.

The Bulldogs special teams issues this season led to 21 points in an upset loss at Vanderbilt and included a drop on a punt return against Nebraska in the Gator Bowl loss.

When I spoke to Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity this week, I asked him specifically about the Bulldogs’ special teams play.

“Our shortcomings are very obvious to everyone,” McGarity said. “Mark’s aware of that. I know he is. Mark’s job is to address our weaknesses and put a plan in place to address our weaknesses and make sure your strengths become stronger.”

McGarity and Richt were to meet Thursday for their annual end-of-the-season get together.

McGarity said he leaves it up to his head coach to decide what, if any changes, to make to staff or with responsibilities on the staff.

Secondary coach Scott Lakatos resigned Thursday for what were termed “personal reasons.”

Would Richt delegate the title of special teams coordinator to someone after he fills the latest opening?

“I can easily say John Lilly is the special teams coordinator because he’s the one that does coordinate who has certain meeting times, who has certain practice times and he makes sure we’re all on the same page,” Richt said back in October of his tight ends coach. “I think it’s a matter of semantics half the time.”

Richt said back in 2011 that he expected a “high sense of urgency on our special teams to become more than just decent.”

Most Georgia fans would settle for decent as a starting point.

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