It may not be a good thing that Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan made his first two tackles this season in Georgia’s 52-20 demolition of South Carolina on Saturday in Athens.
When a kicker is making tackles, it means that the kick was returned, and that either the coverage broke down or the returner did something really special.
No, tackling isn’t something Morgan works on during the week.
“I have three brothers so we always played in the yard,” Morgan said. “I played defensive end in middle school, so it carried over all these years later.”
Morgan said he will have to ask the assistant coaches about his form.
All joking aside, Georgia’s special teams were partially responsible for the team’s inability to pull away from South Carolina early.
After Morgan put his first two kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, depriving the Gamecocks a chance to make a play, his next two were returned. The first was caught by Shon Carson and returned 28 yards to the 33-yard line before Keith Marshall assisted Morgan with the tackle. The Gamecocks weren’t able to take advantage of the short field.
The second was returned by Carson 27 yards to the 28-yard line, where Morgan made the unassisted tackle. The Gamecocks took advantage of the slightly shorter field to finish a touchdown drive that cut Georgia’s lead to 17-10 with 2:10 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs took a 24-10 lead with 17 seconds left in the first half, not enough time for the Gamecocks to do much other than think about a halftime speech.
But Collin Barber’s ensuing kickoff didn’t reach the end zone, allowing Carson to catch it and run. Fifty one yards later, he was pushed out at Georgia’s 48-yard line. A facemask penalty on the tackle moved the ball down to the 33-yard line. The Gamecocks took advantage of the gifts to kick a 51-yard field goal and cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 24-13.
The Gamecocks posted three returns for 106 yards in the half. The kickoffs and coverage improved in the second half. The Gamecocks finished with 162 yards in returns.
“I feel that every area of special teams has what it takes, it’s the little things that sharpen it up that can lead to a bigger return,” Morgan said.