August 14, 2009

Richt focusing hard on special teams

After rewarding his players with a trip to the Ramsey Center pool Friday morning, head coach Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs got back to the task at hand in the afternoon with their second special teams practice at Sanford Stadium.

"We're still learning a lot about our kicking personnel, our kicking teams," Richt said. "Like I mentioned before, it's a good race between Blair Walsh and Brandon Bogotay, although Walsh has a wider lead with field goals and extra points. (Drew) Butler is the man as the punter, while our snapper and holders are all doing well. But there are still a lot of guys who we are trying to figure out who are going to be on the kicking teams."

Fortunately, Richt said the Bulldogs aren't short on numbers.

In fact, Richt suggested that he might even put together a mock travel squad to get a better idea of who his assistants are considering.

"We may look at that board and see there's 90 guys, then have to trim it down but I want to see and make sure we're practicing the right guys," Richt said. "We can take more than 70 because it's not a conference game but the next couple of weeks we'll be making those conference trips so want to be sure we're pretty close to 70 when we travel and even on this first one."

Although Richt couldn't give any names, he suggested that the majority of those on the kickoff teams will be starters elsewhere on the team.

"We've got an awful lot of our 'starters,' more defense than offense on our kicking teams; they're all over our kicking teams," Richt said. "To me if you're a starter on the punt team you're a starter, if you're a starter on the kickoff team, you're a starter. I hope we can find guys who are 'starters' on the special teams, too, that will be the very best at that position. I don't want to have guys who are the best at that position and then may not be there every time because of a fatigue issue. That will mean they're getting every snap on defense, every snap on special teams. We don't want to spread the guys that thin. We want guys that can run and hit."

Richt said that numerous players are getting reps to see who the team's most effective "gunner" on kickoff might be.

"Just about every cornerback, safety and receiver are getting reps there," Richt said. "We're repping an awful lot of guys there right now, but right now it's just too soon to hone it down."

Scrimmage set for 8 p.m.

The Bulldogs will hold their second scrimmage of the season Saturday at 8 p.m. and Richt can't wait to see what occurs.

Georgia held its first scrimmage on Wednesday with the first-team offense and defense getting the best of their second-team counterparts.

"I hope our No. 2 units provide more of a challenge to our No. 1 units," Richt said. "I'm not going to go ones against ones. I don't ever do that in-season; I just do that in the spring, so I'd like our No. 2 units to make some plays on both sides of the ball."

That's not all.

Richt said he's also looking for his No. 1 offense to have a penalty-free game and one that's turnover free.

"On defense, I want to get the picks and fumbles, the ball disruptions, the sacks," Richt said. "I had someone on the radio tell me he looked at the statistics and how our defense must have done awful. I told him if you were there you would have seen the No. 1 defense dominated the day and the No. 1 offense dominated the day. All those numbers were basically against the No. 2 defense, but if you look at the states versus what the No. 2 offense got against the No. 1 defense, the No. 1 offense got just one first down."

This and that

• Walk-on linebacker Jackson Griffeth missed Friday's kicking scrimmage after landing on his back during a dive off the 10-meter board at the Ramsey Center. "He's in pain," Richt chuckled. "I can't imagine what it (his back) will look like in a day or two but he was pretty beat up."

• Freshman receiver Marlon Brown (finger) is expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage after missing the one on Wednesday.

• Richt said that freshman Branden Smith is now playing wide corner behind starter Prince Miller.

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