Kirby Smart made some huge hires before the 2020 football season began such as Matt Luke as the new offensive line coach and Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator. However, quite possibly the most impressive hire for Georgia was bringing in former Alabama strength and conditioning coach, Scott Cochran, to take over as the special teams coordinator.
During yesterday's game yesterday, there were a lot of ups and downs especially during the first half, but one thing that stayed steady throughout all four quarters was the special teams unit. The defense and Stetson Bennett is what ultimately saved the game for Georgia, but it was the guys on special teams that kept Georgia in the game.
Georgia's punter, Jake Carmada, averaged 49.9 yards per punt on seven attempts and was very successful at flipping field position and pinning the Razorbacks deep in their own territory. Georgia also did a good job of gaining a better field position on both punt and kick returns. Wide receiver, Kearis Jackson, averaged 17 yards per return on two attempts which does not include one where he returned the ball all the way to the 26-yard line but was then called back for holding. Georgia was also very efficient on kickoff returns as running back, Kenny McIntosh, broke off a couple of good runs. McIntosh had two returns for 91 total yards including one that he took for 43 yards and would end up leading to Georgia's first touchdown of the game.
The sophomore placekicker, Jack Podlesny, also had a perfect day on the job as he was 2/2 on field-goal attempts, both of them being from 38 yards out. Podlesny was also perfect on PATs going 3/3 and totaling for nine out of Georgia's 37 points. It is hard to replace a guy like Rodrigo Blankenship, but yesterday was a good start to the season for the sophomore kicker.
In the future, Georgia probably doesn't want to call on Camarda six times in the first half, but because of Carmarda and the rest of the players on special, it definitely helped keep Georgia in the game. Mistakes are expected in the first week of the season especially when there was essentially no spring practice, but when it came to Georgia's special teams yesterday that was not the case. Georgia was able to come out with a win because of it and Cochran's debut as a coach at Georgia was a major success.
It didn't stop with the specialist either. One thing that Kirby Smart is adamant about is playing his best position players on special teams. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint who's never played a down of special teams in his career before coming to Georgia had a pivotal tackle on kickoff coverage. The very next special teams snap, Zamir White got his hands on a punt that led to a short field for Georgia's offense.
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