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Monday, December 15, 2014

Georgia Bulldogs Kicker, Punter & Snapper News


December 15, 2014 - kicker Rodrigo Blankenship commits
Blankenship, an All-American kicker from Sprayberry High School, committed to UGA on Monday. Blankenship will join UGA as a preferred walk-on next season, and then be put on scholarship after Marshall Morgan graduates after next season, according to his high school coach. 'Yes, Rodrigo is really excited,' Sprayberry’s Billy Shackelford told the AJC. 'They (UGA) said he was the best kicker they could find anywhere for 2015 and 2016. They don’t have a scholarship for this year’s class, but they will sign him to one that next year.' This season, Blankenship made seven of 10 field goals, including ones from 56 and 51 yards. He averaged 70.5 yards on kickoffs, with 57 of 60 resulting in touchbacks. He also averaged 46 yards per punt." - AJC

October 31, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan
"Other than extra points (where he’s 38-for-39 this fall), Morgan — who is one of four captains for today’s game — hasn’t had as many opportunities to score for Georgia, connecting on 8 of 10 field goal chances. But he’s still using his leg to help the team on kickoffs, delivering an unusual number of kicks into the end zone for touchbacks. 'I think he’s outstanding,' said Georgia coach Mark Richt. 'We do love the way he kicks off. He’s very accurate. He’s accurate on the kickoff, but we like the ball placed in a certain spot. We like the ball with a lot of hang time. He’s been very, very consistent doing that, allowing our coverage team to get down there and do a good job on some of the better return people in our league and in the country. That’s one of the biggest keys in kickoff coverage, ball placement and the hang time. He’s done a good job of that'." - Athens Banner-Herald

September 13, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan sets record, but then steak ends
"Morgan broke a 30-year-old SEC record when he made his 19th consecutive field goal early in Saturday’s game against South Carolina. By halftime, however, the streak was over. And by the end of the game, Morgan had missed two field-goal attempts in a row. Morgan’s 36-yard field goal midway through the first quarter broke the league record of 18 in a row set by former Tennessee kicker Fuad Reveiz in 1984 and tied by Morgan in Georgia’s Aug. 30 game against Clemson. Morgan added to his new record when he made his 20th consecutive field goal with a 26-yarder in the second quarter of Saturday’s lightning-delayed game. But the streak ended at 20 when, with 2:16 left in the second quarter, he missed a 44-yard attempt, which was wide right. Then, with 4:24 left in the game and South Carolina leading 38-35, Morgan again was wide right on a 28-yard attempt that could have tied the score. Instead, the Gamecocks held on to win." - Atlanta Journal Constitution

August 30, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan ties SEC record
"Marshall Morgan made his 18th consecutive field goal yesterday, which tied him with former Tennessee kicker Fuad Reveiz from 1984 (the same year Butler kicked the 60-yarder against Clemson) for the longest streak without a missed field goal.... If Morgan makes his next field goal he will hold the SEC record for most consecutive field goals. Let’s not under-appreciate our kickers Georgia fans. As former greats like Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler, and Billy Bennett have all shown us…kickers win games." - Dawn of the Dawg

August 27, 2014 - both punters may play
"Collin Barber remains a 'little bit ahead recently' of Adam Erickson in the competition at punter, Georgia assistant coach John Lilly said Tuesday night. 'I think they’ll both play, they’ve both played I think the last couple of years,' Lilly said. 'Some of it may be a little bit situational and some of it may be just the hot hand, but it’s a great problem to have.' Erickson could again handle 'pooch punts', Lilly said. Coach Mark Richt sounded pleased for the most part with both Barber and Erickson.... Lilly said junior Nathan Theus is ahead of Trent Frix as the snapper on punts and field goal/extra points." - Dog Bytes Online

August 20, 2014 - punter Collin Barber worked on drop
"Barber, from Cartersville, worked on drills this offseason with his personal kicking coach, Marc Nolan of Roswell, to make sure the ball was where it needed to be on the drop. 'Right over my right foot and nose a little bit down instead of just kind of tossing it up and swinging at it,' Barber said. Barber said he’s taking a 'jab step,' now before he catches the ball to punt it. 'It’s shortening my steps and my get-off time,' Barber said. 'The operation time is a big deal,' coach Mark Richt said. 'The snap to the catch to the kick. There’s a certain time that you’re looking for and if you’re too slow in your operation time, it doesn’t matter how good you block, you’re probably going to be vulnerable to having your punts blocked. I would say Collin and Adam [Erickson] have done a tremendous job of getting their times down to where they’re very quick, almost two step punting instead of three step punting'." - Dog Bytes Online

August 14, 2014 - Collin Barber leads punting competition
"Junior Collin Barber has pulled ahead of walk-on Adam Erickson for the punting job. 'Collin’s the No. 1 guy right now, but they’re still competing in my mind,' coach Mark Richt said. 'They’re both competing for that job.' Erickson, from Clarke Central, overtook Barber for the job towards the end of last season. Richt indicated that Erickson is likely to remain the pooch punter on kicks pinning opponents inside the 10.... 'Both of them have punted well,' Richt said of the punting competition. 'When Collin hits his best ball, we’re talking 45 to 50 yards with some 5.0 hang times. He can really boom it. Erickson when he hits his best best ball, he’s more like a 45-yarder, 40 to 45 with 4.5 hang time. Those hang times as they correlate to the yardage that their kicking them is good. We can cover those kicks'." - Dog Bytes Online

August 7, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan
"After making 17 consecutive field goals to close last season, Marshall needs to make the first two this year to surpass the 18 straight made by Tennessee's Fuad Reveiz in 1984.... The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior from Fort Lauderdale admitted that he hasn't changed a thing when it comes to field goals. He still enjoys exchanging ideas with other kickers, which can't be avoided at Mark Richt camps when the likes of Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler and Billy Bennett are also in attendance. Morgan said the operation with snapper Nathan Theus and holder Adam Erickson is working better than ever through seven preseason practices, and he believes he will be much more of a driving force on kickoffs. Georgia's average of 60.1 yards per kickoff last season ranked 13th in the SEC, with its net coverage of 38.8 yards ranking 13th as well. Morgan had just 17 touchbacks in 72 kicks. 'I've widened out my steps on kickoffs, so I'm driving the ball a lot further and out of the end zone more,' Morgan said. 'The way I'm hitting it now, I feel like I can make a big difference and take some weight off the kickoff team's back by not having them run down the field and get banged up. Hopefully I can give them some relief to where they don't have to make a tackle every time'." - Chattanooga Times Free Press

August 4, 2014 -  summer specialists
"While there's little question about Marshall Morgan returning as Georgia's top kicker in 2014, they're going to have to go a few rounds in preseason to name a starter for the Bulldogs at punter. There is 'definitely' competition ongoing right now between Collin Barber and Adam Erickson for the starting role against Clemson, said assistant coach John Lilly, who coaches UGA's punt team. 'Collin and Adam both are embracing the competition,' Lilly said. 'The great thing is you've got two guys that you feel very comfortable with, because they've both been in the heat of it before and both performed well at different times. I'm kind of excited to see how it plays out.' Lilly says the Bulldogs have worked live punting situations already twice in the first four days of practice." - 247 Sports

April 21, 2014 - punting competition
"Collin Barber was Georgia’s top punter last season until Adam Erickson overtook him down the stretch. 'I let it get to me a little bit,' Barber said. 'I’ve never been one to ride the bench.' The rising junior who was recruited to Georgia on scholarship was competing again for the job this spring with Erickson, the senior walk-on out of Clarke Central High. So how did it play out during the 15 practices heading into the summer? 'I would say they’re going to be co-No. 1 right now,' said John Lilly, Georgia’s co-special teams coordinator who oversees the punt team. 'And that’s not a knock against either one. It’s a good thing that they make the decision hard because I think they’re both really quality guys'." - Dog Bytes Online

April 5, 2014 - second spring scrimmage
"Perhaps the most impressive player of the day for the Bulldogs was junior kicker Marshall Morgan. Morgan finished Saturday's scrimmage 4-for-4 kicking having made a 22-yard kick, two 47-yard kicks and a 59-yard kick, though Richt said that the team might have to review the tape to see whether or not Morgan's 59-yard attempt actually cleared the crossbar." - The Red & Black

April 3, 2014 - double coaching for special teams
"The frequent calls for Georgia to have a special teams coordinator on its football staff have been heard. The Bulldogs now have not one, but two in co-coordinators Mike Ekeler and John Lilly.... Georgia is devoting two practice periods a day and a walk-through focused on special teams. There are new drills added and schemes changed.... Offensive line coach Will Friend is also involved with the field goal/extra point team. 'I had the kicker last year,' Lilly said half-joking, 'because he was pretty good last year.' That would be first-team all-SEC selection Marshall Morgan. As far as punter, Lilly couldn’t identify whether Adam Erickson or Collin Barber leads. 'It depends on what day you ask me,' he said." - Athens Banner-Herald

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