Georgia Football: Special Teams Play Has Taken a HUGE Step Back and Could Cost the Dawgs in Jacksonville
I turned 31 last week. Tough pill to swallow. Every year I feel a little bit older, but the LSU game really aged me. You see, I’m old enough to remember when Georgia was a nationally relevant football program. I’m something of a dying breed in that regard.
Kirby Smart, so it seems, has ruined Georgia football. Even among his true peers – programs who have changed coaches recently – he looks bad. He’s lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and now LSU in his incredibly brief tenure. Not exactly a murderer’s row of quality opposition.
Frankly, the state of Georgia football is so dire heading into the annual tilt with Florida in Jacksonville that I can’t in good conscience preview the game itself. We already know how that’s going to end up. In lieu of a preview and a prediction, here’s a step-back look at the season so far.
Over the next few days I’m going to power rank the worst parts of the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs. As a word of disclaimer, Kirby Smart is clearly the worst facet of this program. As such, you could list him in every single one of these spots. But these are the single components that have been most disappointing thus far. Earlier today, I addressed Georgia’s deficiencies in the running game. Now, let’s address Special Teams woes.
Rodrigo Blankenship went from superstar to bust awfully quickly, didn’t he?
He’s missed more field goals than the rest of the team combined and is on pace to drastically under-perform his stellar 2017 campaign. Hot Rod averaged one field goal miss for every five games played a year ago. He’s missed twice in just seven games this year. Not only that, but he’s taken a decisive step backwards on mid-range kicks. As a freshman, he connected on 75% of field goals from 30-39 yards away. Last year, he was 100% (a perfect 6 for 6) from that distance. This year, he’s hitting just 50%.
Georgia has taken a step back in punting as well and as a result the Dawgs are officially worse at all special teams activities except punt returns.
|Category||2017 National Rank||2018 National Rank|
|Field Goals Made||10||24|
|Field Goals Percentage||8||25|
|Punting Gross Average||12||63|
|Punting Net Average||9||85|
|Kickoff Return Average||20||43|
|Punt Return Average||31||11|
If you don’t think this stuff matters, then you must be Kirby Smart. Don’t be surprised if Georgia loses another contest because of Special Teams.
Until next time,
The Kirby Smart Hater