Weiszer mug

Blog: Why Swann was back as the punt returner

Reggie Davis returned a punt 17 yards against Missouri and for 15 against Vanderbilt. So why, you might have wondered, was Damian Swann back as the returner when he muffed a punt Saturday that was recovered by the Commodores at the Georgia 36 and led to a touchdown?

‚ÄúWe were in punt safe,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. ‚ÄúIf you remember two years ago, they faked the punt on us somewhere around that territory about the same distance. At the time of the game…they were down 13 and the clock‚Äôs ticking. We made a great stop and called for the punt safe and when we go punt safe, he‚Äôs already on the field and we keep him in there because we‚Äôve got experience catching those balls. That‚Äôs designed to be a fair catch anyway. We know when we‚Äôre in punt safe, we‚Äôre not going to get much of a return. It‚Äôs just a matter of fielding the ball. He‚Äôs been doing that his whole life. It just hit off his chest.‚Äù

Those kind of miscues—along with the high snap on the punt and giving up a fake field goal—again bring up the issue of whether Georgia should have a special teams coordinator designated for a staff member.

“Whether you have a special teams coordinator or not, you’ve got to field the punt, you’ve got to snap the ball, you’ve got to catch the snap,” Richt said. “What does that have to do with whether you’ve got a special teams coordinator or not? It’s just things we’ve got to be able to execute, the basic fundamentals of it. Those guys are very capable and I do have faith that we can get the job done. We’ve got the ability, we’ve just got to be consistent in that way.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer