October 31, 2011

Not lacking confidence



Blair Walsh said he appreciates head coach Mark Richt's vote of confidence after his struggles continued during Saturday's 24-20 win against Florida.

However, he concedes that it's ultimately going to be up to him to find the answers to turn his season around.

"It's nice to have his backing, his confidence," Walsh said after practice Monday. "But I'm not oblivious. I'm sure that (confidence) does run out, but I'm confident in my ability and that I'll come through and be fine."

It's been a difficult road for Walsh, who after kicking a 32 yarder early in the second quarter, missed from what over his career have been chip shots of 33 and 37 yards.

For the year, Walsh is now 13 of 23. His 10 misses are just three removed from the 13 he had missed over his first three seasons combined.

But still, despite his problems, senior Brandon Bogotay won't be getting his chance any time soon after Richt quashed that notion Sunday.

"That's the plan right now," Walsh said. "I expect him (Richt) to have confidence for me to make it and I'm glad that he does but I also know that's his decision, obviously, I'm not in control of that. I'm in control of how I practice, how well I do."

Punter Drew Butler - who had his own issues against the Gators - can empathize with what Walsh is going through.

"It's an extreme mental game. I've always compared it to golf. If you're hitting the ball extremely well but not making a lot of putts, it gets in your head and you start getting the yips," Butler said. "I'm not saying that's what Blair has, a lot of things happen and sometimes you can become your own worst enemy. The main thing for a player is to just get that self-confidence back. He's had really good weeks of practice and good pre-game performances before, it's just a matter of having those practice routines translate to the game field."

Walsh said he's gotten plenty of advice from people - most from whom he's never met - regarding how he might snap out of his current slide.

"People have definitely come out of the woodwork, that's for sure but it's really not that big of a deal," he said. "It's not like I'm out there and just wanking them, not coming close. There are just a couple of things that have to get corrected. I know it sounds like a boring story, that's what it is."

Despite his struggles, Walsh said he was at least able to enjoy the Bulldogs' win over the home-state Gators.

"I did, I really did. It's a team sport, you can't be out there pouting that you didn't do as well as you wanted. At the end of the day, we beat a team that we haven't beat in the three years since I've been here," Walsh said. "I'm not happy about my field percentage, that's for sure, and it will change and I'll make it change."

Andrew stays on alert

Freshman David Andrews confirmed what Richt suggested during Sunday's teleconference - if another injury occurs on the offensive line, he'll go in at center with Ben Jones sliding to the position of need.

"That's how we've talked about it earlier when the same situation was up. We talked about it that way too. Ben has a better overview of all the offense; he's been at it for four years now," Andrews said. "(Jones) still being out there would help me a lot. If that's what they do, I'll just try to be ready."

Andrews said he's worked exclusively at center since preseason camp began.

"Over the summer I got a few reps here and there, but after that I went back to center and it really hasn't changed," Andrews said. "I don't think I'll be moving."

Morant getting scout team work

Redshirt freshman Dexter Morant said he's finally at 100 percent after his two shoulder surgeries and has been working on the scout team at Will linebacker for the last month and a half.

"I'm doing well; I'm holding my ground," Morant said. "Not to be all about myself, but I think I've done pretty good. I was sore after the first couple of days, but I've been fine ever since."

Both of Morant's surgeries were to repair a torn labrum.

"The labrum is like a clock and mine was torn from 11 to 7; the whole thing was torn," said Morant, who weighs 245, down 10 pounds from where he was before the surgery. "They said let's look at the other one and saw that it was torn, too, so I wound up having surgeries on both, one a month behind the other."

Malcome says going is still tough

Running back Ken Malcome would like to think he'll get some game action Saturday against New Mexico State.

He's just not sure if he will.

"It's still tough, the fact that I've been doing good and I'm still not on the field," Malcome said. "It makes me sick every time we play, but all I can do is to keep practicing."

Malcome thought he was going to get some snaps in Saturday's win over Florida.

"People were telling me stuff and I listened, but it did not go as planned or as I thought it would," Malcome said.

Jones, Glenn honored

Linebacker Jarvis Jones has taken home a slew of honors following his four-sack performance Saturday against Florida.

Along with Monday's news that he earned co-SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, Jones was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week, Rivals.com SEC Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards National Player of the Week.

Jones leads the Bulldogs and the SEC with eight sacks.

Also, senior left tackle Cordy Glenn was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following his performance against the Gators.

This and that

Senior Brandon Boykin has been named one of 15 semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. A native of Fayetteville has started in 32 career games, including the last 16 for the Bulldogs. This year he has recorded 31 tackles and his seven pass break-ups, 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions are all second on the team. He also has two hurries and a forced fumble this year. … Richt said the captains for the New Mexico State game will be center Ben Jones, linebacker Jarvis Jones, end DeAngelo Tyson and running back Richard Samuel … Saturday's game will be Georgia's Homecoming contest. Since 1922, Georgia is 70-17-2 in Homecoming games, including four straight victories.

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