No one had a better ending to the 2020 season than Jack Podlesny. He proved to be the hero in Georgia’s Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati by hitting a 53-yard field goal in the final seconds.
It capped a great first season as Georgia’s starting kicker for Podlesny, who made all of his extra points and 13 of his 16 field goal attempts. For his efforts, the junior from St. Simons Island, Ga., was put on scholarship.
“It meant a lot,” Podlesny said. “It was always a goal of mine once I got to UGA to work my butt off and someday get put on scholarship to pay for school. Now I’m here.”
Heading into his second season, much has changed for Podlesny. Expectations certainly rise, as he’s much more of a known entity at the kicker position.
He’s also working with a new voice. But perhaps not the one the casual fan would think. Will Muschamp has taken over the special teams coordinator role from Scott Cochran, but Podlesny stated the former South Carolina coach leaves the specialists alone for the most part.
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Instead, it’s special teams analyst Robbie Discher who has injected some positivity into the group. Discher came over from Louisiana and it has been a welcome addition according to the Georgia kicker.
“Disch is my man. He’s a great guy and we’re lucky to have him,” Podlesny said. “He’s been a real good guy to have in the room to cheer us up when things aren’t going our way maybe. He’s really smart when it comes to the special teams scheme.”
There’s also another big change Podlesny has to adjust to entering this season. He’ll now be kicking in full stadiums.
It’ll be a difference experience for Podlesny, who estimates the most people he’s kicked in front of is about 30,000 people.
Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, where Georgia opens up its season against Clemson, seats just over 75,000 people.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” Podlesny said. “I meet with our sports psychologist pretty frequently and we discussed that and are going to work on that.
“It will definitely come down to mindset more than anything. Making sure I clear my head before every kick and see it through.”
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Podlesny referenced multiple times in his interview with Georgia media how he’s focused on improving his mental health. Meeting with the team’s psychologist is one such way he manages it
That’s been a big part of his transition from last season to this. He spent much of the offseason trying to fix and improve his technique.
“The number one key takeaway I would say is focusing on my mental health aspect,” Podlesny said. “Talking with our sports psychologist, making sure I’m staying positive whether that’s a good day or a bad day.”
Even with the challenges that a new season brings, Podlesny is practicing what he preaches by staying positive.
When discussing the possibility of playing in a full stadium, of kicking in a pressure situation in front of packed stadium, Podlesny understands they’ll be quite a few Georgia fans in the stands.
“We’re excited. Who wouldn’t be,” Podlesny asked. “We’re a week away from playing Clemson in Charlotte at such a beautiful stadium in such a great atmosphere. We get to welcome home a full capacity stadium and hopefully we’ll pack out the stands with Dawg fans.”
Georgia football kicker Jack Podlesny announces he’s been put on scholarship