December 20, 2010

Butler feels for Giants kicker

Drew Butler said he feels for New York Giants rookie punter Matt Dodge.

It was Dodge who drew the ire of fans in the Big Apple after he punted the ball to Philadelphia returner DeSean Jackson, who brought back the ill-advised kick 64 yards for a touchdown on the game's final play, giving the Eagles an improbable 38-31 win.

After the game, Giants coach Tom Coughlin berated Dodge on the field after instructing him to kick the ball out of bounds.

"You have to feel bad for him and pray for him, but he said it himself, he didn't execute the kick as well as he'd like to. Even when they tell you to kick it out of bounds it isn't always that easy. The slightest mishap in your drop or your steps can result in a bad punt like he had," Butler said Monday. "But he (Dodge) acknowledged that. He took blame for it and said he moved on. I hope Coach Coughlin gives him another chance."

As of Monday, the former East Carolina performer still had a job.

"Matt Dodge was a great kicker in college and he's proven himself in my opinion in his rookie season. That one mistake is probably going to haunt him until maybe he wins a game with his next punt. If that happens hopefully he can forget it," Butler said. "But it's a business in the NFL, and that can cost you your job. I'm sure he's aware of that so hopefully he gets another chance and is able to move on."

Butler knows it's a position he could find himself in very soon.

The junior is one of six Bulldogs to turn their names in to the NFL's advisory board in order to get an idea of where they might go in April's Draft.

The son of former Bulldog and Chicago Bears great Kevin Butler hasn't ruled out making the jump if he gets the kind of news he wants.

"I'd like to hear they're going to take me in the fourth round, a high punter pick but that's a goal for everybody to have. I think the fourth round is a good round for punters and kickers but you never know what they're going to say," Butler said. "But if they say what I hope, that's an opportunity you'd have to think about. If they give me an opportunity you can't pass up or an opportunity you've got to think about. You can't just throw it away."

The 2009 winner of the Ray Guy Award signifying the nation's top punter, Butler averaged 44.7 yards on 45 kicks, including 18 where he pinned opponents down inside their 20-yard line.

"Every kick, you live and learn from it, you go on from that one to the next one. It's a lot like golf. You can't let your good kicks get too good and your bad kicks get too bad," Butler said. "You've just got to keep a level head, move on and approach every kick like it's a new one. In reality they are, but sometimes it's hard to get caught up in that mentality.

McGarity considering Big Ten foes, Notre Dame

Bulldog AD Greg McGarity has confirmed that he's attempting to line up some future non-conference against Big Ten members Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, along with Notre Dame.

According to McGarity, initial conversations are currently taking place between Georgia and the four mentioned schools.

The earliest the Bulldogs would consider playing such a game is 2014 after Georgia plays Clemson in 2012 and 2013. However, McGarity said a game between the Bulldogs and one of the four mentioned schools would take place well after that, perhaps as long as 10-12 years from now.

He does, however, hope to have a deal or deals in place sometime next year.

One more practice in Athens for Dawgs

After a short special teams practice Monday morning, the Bulldogs worked on situations during the afternoon session.

"It was a good fundamentals day," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "We treated it like a (regular-season) Tuesday with a lot of scout team work. We worked mostly on first-and-10 situations and finished up with some third-down work. We'll work scout team only on Tuesday."

Monday marked the seventh of eight days of bowl practice in Athens for the Bulldogs. They will have a total of 11 practice sessions, including a pair of two-a-day workouts. The on-campus practice schedule will conclude Tuesday morning before breaking for Christmas. The team will reconvene in Memphis, Tenn., for final preparations on Dec. 26.

This and that

Running back Caleb King practiced with the team Monday but there's still no word whether he will be available for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against UCF. Sources told UGASports Sunday that it appears that the junior will be ruled academically ineligible for the contest, barring any successful appeals. UGA officials have yet to comment. Another player - a non-starter - is thought to be academically ineligible as well.

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