ATHENS — Kirby Smart started to grin as a reporter began asking him about kickers and punters. The last time Georgia’s new head coach was asked about those two spots, he cracked that he was “scared to death.”
The grin meant Smart’s outlook hasn’t improved much. But he did have one bit of insight that at least makes the punting situation look rosier.
Brice Ramsey, who finished last season as the starting punter, will not give up punting — at least not yet. Ramsey, a junior, will be competing for the quarterback spot, and there had been rumblings that Smart wanted him to concentrate fully on that. But apparently that’s not the case.
“He will continue to be part of our punt program,” Smart said. “During punt periods he’ll come over there and kick. We’re gonna find out if he can continue to do that.”
That doesn’t mean Ramsey will be the favorite to punt this season. Punter Marshall Long was signed to a scholarship in February, and it’s not often that one of the coveted 85 scholarship spots is used on a punter who sits on the bench. Still, Long doesn’t get here until the summer, and the team will see what it has until then.
“We’re going to find out this spring who does the best job of punting until Marshall comes,” Smart said.
As for placekicker, the spring competition will be between two walk-ons. Rodrigo Blankenship joined the team last year and didn’t play. William Ham was on the team in 2014, then sat out last year, but has since returned to the team.
“We’re gonna give these guys every opportunity to get involved, to earn the job,” Smart said. “And then we’re going to challenge them, hopefully in the fall, with some guys we’re going to bring in. That’s the direction we’re headed in.”
The team also has another walk-on. Mitchell Wasson, who as originally committed to join Alabama as a walk-on then changed his mind, is due to arrive this summer.