ATHENS – There’s a chance Georgia could have a new kick-off man this season.
Marshall Morgan has done it the past three seasons, with varying degrees of success. His booming leg on field goals – he has five career field goals of 50-plus yards – hasn’t translated as well to kickoffs, which has a different kicking technique.
So Rodrigo Blankenship, the walk-on from Marietta, is getting a look right now, assistant coach Mike Ekeler confirmed.
“Right now his kickoffs look pretty darn good,” Ekeler said. “And Marshall’s doing a great job.”
Morgan’s kickoffs did improve last year: His average went up to 61 yards per attempt, and his touchback rate increased to 32 percent. But that ranks around the middle of the country; by comparison UCLA had a 72 percent touchback rate last year to lead the nation, and Auburn led the SEC with a 57 percent rate. Georgia ranked eighth in the conference.
Blankenship was brought to campus with the possibility of eventually replacing Morgan as the kicker, or replacing Collin Barber as the punter. Both are seniors this year. So giving Blankenship some kickoff chances this year could be a way to ease him in.
But Ekeler indicated that a decision isn’t close.
“We’re doing fundamentals and what-not right now,” Ekeler said. “(Blankenship is) just working kicking off right now, and doing a good job. But we’ll have to see when we get deeper into camp here and we start going as a unit.”