Up – The Specialists
Week 1 went about as smooth as possible for Georgia’s kicking/punting game. After a tight battle through camp for the kicking jobs, it appears that freshman Peyton Woodring won the FG job while veteran Jared Zirkel will handle kickoff duties. Even though they were from short-yardage, Woodring made both of his Field Goal attempts (23 and 33 yarders) and was 6/6 on PAT’s. Zirkel also did his job on Kickoffs as well as he sent 7 of his 9 kicks out for touchbacks.
The returner in the group, punter Brett Thorson, also did well on punts as he averaged 44.6 yards per across 5 punts. He put two of them inside the 20 and forced three fair catches. His long was 53.
Fans more-or-less knew what to expect from Thorson, but there were some questions about the kicking game. While the pressure wasn’t too high, it was a smooth Week 1 across all fronts in the kicking game which is good news for the Dawgs.
Down – Not getting a shutout
It’s hard to blame Georgia’s defense in my opinion for the TD that they gave up with just minutes remaining in what was a 38-0 game at the time. Georgia had a ton of freshmen on the field, and the throw/catch itself was impressive. Also, I should mention that the catch was controversial and iffy. The ball appeared to move, but replay ultimately decided that the call should stand as called on the field as a UT-Martin TD. It would have been a bigger deal in a closer game, but it did rob Georgia of a shutout.
While this is not as much of a “Down” for the team itself, it is a bummer that Georgia’s defense was not rewarded for it’s strong performance with a shutout. If anything, giving up the late TD allows for prime coaching opportunities for the staff to the youngsters that were on the field at the time. The group should also be more motivated (potentially this week against Ball State) when they get on the field again (you also saw a little bit of that the very next UT-Martin drive when Kyron Jones jumped a route on the first play and took it the other way to get the TD right back).
All in all, it was a mostly positive Week 1 game for Georgia, and they’ll hope for an even better showing on Saturday as they welcome Ball State into town at Noon Eastern.