In the middle of last football season–days before Georgia’s annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville–coach Mark Richt signalled that he would become more involved in 2013 with the kickers and punters.
Shoring up the special teams looked like a big area of need. Among the issues were punt return, net punting and extra points.
Richt admitted he didn’t have the expertise in that area, but said he would be freed up enough to become more familiar with that this offseason.
About six months later, Richt is still getting up to speed.
He said this week that he and staff members spent time with Mike Stock, a former NFL special teams coach of the year with the Kansas City Chiefs, when he spoke at Georgia’s coaching clinic last month.
Stock was an assistant coach with five NFL teams including with Steve Spurrier in Washington and his college stops included Notre Dame. He is now a special teams consultant.
“There’s two things I want to do to help these guys,” Richt said. “One is to have a real consistent routine that they can go to on a daily basis and make sure we video them and all that. Make sure we sit down with those guys and watch what they’re doing and let them see any kind of flaw that they may have. The other thing, I’m still searching for the right person to go see, but I want to learn the technique for these guys so I can help them if they go astray.”
But he is hesitant to teach kicker Marshall Morgan and punter Collin Barber something different than what they were brought up on and taught by their private kicking coaches before they got to Georgia.
“The big thing is to make sure we give them a routine that doesn’t allow them to overkick, doesn’t allow them to underkick,” Richt said. “I want them on a daily basis to be working on the things that are going to help them have a consistent stroke.”
Richt said he expects Barber and Morgan “to be much better than they were a year ago,” as freshmen.
Barber, he said, was punting good enough by the end of last season “to win any game.” He finished the season with a 41.5-yard punting average.
Morgan “looks to be kicking in a very consistent way and hopefully he’ll continue that in the offseason.”
He made 8 of 14 field goals last season.
“We didn’t try as many because we were a little concerned on how that was going to go,” Richt said.
Morgan converted 63 of 67 extra points.
“Of all the guys that have hit the upright on multiple times,” Richt said, “he has a high percentage of going through.”
That comment drew laughter from the “UGA Day” crowd in Macon on Thursday night.
“We’re going to try not to hit the goalpost anymore, the uprights,” Richt said. “He’s striking the ball extremely well right now. … I think they’re both going to grow up and not be so starstruck as they were with the season began.”
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