Kickoffs are more than an afterthought. I don't have to go too much into this, but hearing players complain about the time spent on kickoff coverage wouldn't hurt my feelings. Hearing that Blair Walsh has only left three kicks short of the goal line during August will make me very happy. Hearing Warren Belin say he's letting Walsh kick it just as far as he can and letting his athletes get down field and dare anyone to try to come out of the end zone will make me leg-humping ecstatic. (emphasis added)This was one of the points I made in the post about what I the seven thing I am looking for in training camp. After reading Weiszer's article on the kicking game, looks like I have my first checkmark for that list.
|Walsh looks like a perfectly swung five wood (Image: ABH)|
"Just about every hand is on deck and that allows you to have more runners and hitters." -Coach Richt on the makeup of the kickoff coverage team.Seriously, this is awesome news, both from a personnel and strategy standpoint. Last year, the coaches were asking Walsh to hit a pretty specific area, oftentimes in the corner near the endzone. This year, it sounds like the target he is being asked to hit is more in the range of the whole end zone or the hedges behind the end zone. That coupled with putting your biggest hitters and fastest players on the coverage team hopefully will equal many fewer opponent drives starting from the 35 yard line and beyond.
I am ok with opponents starting their drives on the 20 or taking a chance of one of 'The Trees' putting an imprint of their number in the dirt at about the 12 yard line. Who wouldn't be?