October 5, 2011

Walsh gets welcomed advice



Knowing it probably wouldn't hurt to have an extra set of eyes, Georgia kicker Blair Walsh called in the best set he knew to help figure out his recent issues - Nick Gancitano.

One of the country's foremost kicking gurus, "The Nick Gancitano Kicking Academy" has tutored approximately four dozen kickers on the major college level including 13 All-Americans, with Walsh being one of his prize pupils, dating back to his days at Cardinal Gibbons High in Boca Raton, Fla.

So, after missing four field goals over his past two games, earlier this week Walsh decided to make a call.

"I asked him to come up here and just take a look at what was going on," Walsh said after practice Wednesday. "He was going up to North Carolina so I asked him to stop on in."

Apparently, it didn't take Gancitano long to show Walsh what he had been doing wrong.

"It was nothing big. He just changed a first step to the ball as that was really what I was getting off," Walsh said. "I was coming too much in at the ball rather than up-field with it."

Walsh added he wasn't aware of the issue before Gancitano pointed it out.

"It was something I didn't really notice myself. I kept looking at it, and I kept looking at the flight of the ball and everything looked fine," Walsh said. "The ball was going as far as I wanted it to, just right off or right left, so I just fixed it."

Despite his recent field goal problems, there's been nothing wrong with Walsh's kickoffs.

With 13 touchbacks, Walsh has already matched the number he had all of last year, despite the fact colleges still kick off from the 30-yard line as opposed to the 35 in the pros.

"We're still kicking from the 30. The NFL is even easier than ours right now, but I'm pleased with it and the fact I can get the ball deep right now," Walsh said before laughing. "At least I'm doing something right."

Figgins' mother to be honored

The Bulldogs will wear a pink Breast Cancer sticker honoring the mother of tight end Bruce Figgins who was recently diagnosed with the disease.

Kim Devita Figgins of Columbus recently underwent surgery and fortunately, her son said doctors appear to have caught the cancer in time and his mom is expected to make a full recovery.

"She's doing well. She's going through treatment and taking her medication," Figgins said. "I'm blessed that the doctors caught it in time. She's doing good and going to be OK."

The pink sticker will bear the initials "KDF" and be worn during Saturday night's game at Tennessee.

"We just want to let her know we love her and we care about her very much and pray that everything turns out well," Richt said. "We pray for anybody who's dealing with any kind of cancer, for that matter."

Injury update

Offensive guard Chris Burnette practiced again with the Bulldogs Wednesday and Richt said he should know by Thursday morning whether or not he'll be able to play against the Volunteers.
He's certainly hopeful.

"If he's not sore in the morning, then that will be a good sign," Richt said. "If he's not sore, it will be a thumb's up for him to play."

If he can play, Richt said it will be up to offensive line coach Will Friend whether or not Burnette will be allowed to start.

Tuesday, Friend told UGASports that if Burnette - who has missed the last two games - is able to play he will start at his customary spot at right guard with Dallas Lee moving to the left side.

Also:

• Richt said that freshman cornerback Damian Swann (hip-pointer) "looked pretty good" in practice Wednesday, but it will be a coach's decision whether or not he receives any reps.

• Running back Richard Samuel wore a green non-contact jersey Wednesday due to a shoulder injury, which Richt said is not serious. "It's nothing big," Richt said. "We just didn't want to light him up. He's scheduled to play."

• Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten "is not ready to play," Richt said. Wooten suffered a concussion as the result of an automobile accident prior to the game at Ole Miss.

• Cornerback Brandon Boykin (mouth) once again took part in non-contact drills Wednesday, but is expected to play."

This and that

During the first period of Wednesday's practice, Richt piped in continuous renditions of the Tennessee fight song "Rocky Top," much to the chagrin of linebacker Christian Robinson. When asked if he would have any future trouble remembering the words, Robinson said. "They get their corn from a jar," he smiled. "That's the part I focused on." … Georgia practiced for almost two hours Wednesday. "All the work is pretty much done with the pads on," said Richt. "We'll have a glorified walk through Thursday and then Friday we'll take off for Knoxville."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.