It’s probably never a good time to lose your starting kicker, but Georgia did not rely as heavily on Marshall Morgan last season as it has on the guys that came before him at the position under Mark Richt.
Morgan probably won’t be kicking field goals or extra points against Clemson when the Bulldogs open the season on Aug. 31 in Death Valley.
His boating under the influence charge should cost him that. Georgia hasn’t announced a suspension or if a suspension will include the next game against South Carolina also.
Morgan’s arrest came after he was jet skiing on Lake Sinclair. It’s not every day players find trouble on the water.
David Pollack, the All-American defensive end, needed 32 stitches to close a cut on his head in April 2004 after falling down a flight of stairs while at the boathouse of a teammate at Lake Lanier.
How can Georgia overcome the loss of Morgan?
Just do what it did much of last season. Score touchdowns instead of field goals.
Georgia was 8 of 14 on field goals last season–all off the foot of Morgan, a freshman last year. His last made field goal last season came against Georgia Southern in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Only seven teams in the nation attempted fewer field goals per game than Georgia’s 1.0, according to cfbstats.com.
Morgan’s 94 percent PAT rate (63 of 67) ranked 94th in the nation.
And then-senior Jamie Lindley actually accounted for 54 kickoffs last season. Morgan
So where does Georgia go from here at kicker?
Well, only Morgan got a mention from Richt after the first two spring scrimmages.
On G-Day, sophomore Patrick Beless (24-yard field goal), junior Adam Erickson (19 yards) and redshirt freshman Thomas Pritchard (35 yards) all made field goals.
Beless and Pritchard are listed as the top backups to Morgan on the summer depth chart, but Erickson may be the guy to beat out if Morgan can’t go.
The Clarke Central product was the holder and back-up punter last season. Punter Collin Barber also could be in the mix.
I reached out to Blair Walsh, the former Georgia kicker who made the NFL Pro Bowl last season with the Vikings as a rookie.
Here’s his take: “As far as the next guy in line goes, I have worked with Adam Erickson for three years and I have great confidence that he will be able to step in and do the job. I also am confident that coach (John) Lilly and coach Richt will handle the situation perfectly. Adam has a smooth swing and a confident attitude and I believe the situation will be hashed out through competition during camp.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer