Fans aren‚Äôt the only ones who let issues that plagued their team last year linger for months and months in the offseason.
Georgia assistant coach John Lilly, who oversees the Bulldogs‚Äô punt coverage unit, isn‚Äôt about to forget the big plays given up in the SEC championship game.
‚ÄúYou think about that game every day and what happened there,‚Äù Lilly said.
It may be hard to remember, but it wasn‚Äôt all bad for the punt coverage unit that day.
Most of Georgia‚Äôs punts and coverage in the game ‚Äúyou‚Äôd make a clinic tape,‚Äù out of them, Lilly said, ‚Äúbut the other two killed us.‚Äù
Tryann ‚ÄúHoney Badger‚Äù Mathieu returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown and set up another with a 42-yard return. LSU ran away in the second half with a 42-10 victory.
That was then. A new season beckons.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to do a great job of coaching it,‚Äù Lilly said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to give them a great plan and scheme that fits our personnel and then we‚Äôve got to get the right guys on there and then motivate them. Then, at the moment of truth, we‚Äôve got to make the plays when they‚Äôre there to be made.‚Äù
High-profile players will be asked to pitch in for a unit that ranked 116th in the nation last season, allowing 14.9 yards per return.
‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got to put guys in the right place and I do think from a personnel standpoint, I think you‚Äôre going to see guys across classes,‚Äù Lilly said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôll see everything from a true freshman to seniors out there. You‚Äôll see everything from a high-draft pick to a guy that might be one in two or three years but hadn‚Äôt done it yet. We‚Äôve got to do‚ÄîI‚Äôve got to do‚Äîa great job of motivating them and getting it done. The punter‚Äôs got to do a great job of putting the ball where we want it and how we want it there, and I think we‚Äôll be very good again.‚Äù
That punter is likely to be incoming freshman Collin Barber. None of the walk-on candidates staked a claim to the spot this spring.
Georgia’s coaches visited ‚Äúwith a lot of guys in the offseason,‚Äù on other coaching staffs‚Äîsome in the NFL, some in college.
So what‚Äôs changed?
‚ÄúSome of that is ever evolving,‚Äù Lilly said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll have a great group of guys out there.‚Äù
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer