August 12, 2012

Morgan understands pressures



Georgia head coach Mark Richt has clearly stated that his freshman kicker Marshall Morganis the guy he is looking to when it comes to extra points and field goals.

The Florida native, however, is approaching each day as if he is in a tight competition for the job.

"I knew it wasn't going to be easy just coming in here to start," said Morgan. "(Jamie) Lindley is a great kicker. Also Adam Erickson and Collin Barber can also kick too so it is all just one big competition. I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm trying my hardest."

Morgan signed with the Bulldogs out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.) as one of the top kickers in the country, and was also the top target for UGA at that position.

Still the difference between high school and college, even at the kicker position, is vast, but Morgan believes he is on the right track.

"I feel like I've did good. There is still a lot of room to improve," he said. "I think we will be ready in the next three weeks pretty much."

At Georgia, especially under Richt, the Bulldogs have been known for great kickers and punters whether the recruit them or find them as walk ons.

Morgan is well aware of that tradition and embraces the pressure that comes with it.

"Actually, since I've gotten here, I've felt the responsibility. It's a lot of pressure, and it's a big job," said Morgan. "All the Georgia fans, they don't take it as a joke. It's serious. SEC football is big. I've been watching Blair Walsh and Drew Butler over the years and know they are great kickers. I want to do what they did and step in their footsteps. Pretty much you have to be perfect as a kicker. If you got out there and you have three attempts and miss one of those, you are going to get some stuff for it."

Thus far in fall camp, Morgan has had plenty of opportunities to show the Georgia staff what he can do, and Richt, having named him as the No. 1 kicker, has clear confidence in the freshman.

Still, at this point, Morgan's aim is to improve.

"Over this past week, yeah, I have (been able to put his talent on display)," he said. "But we just started camp and every day we get better."

Having a leg up when it comes to scoring opportunities like PATs and field goals is one thing, but the American Heritage product is also hoping to find himself kicking off once the season starts.

"Yes I do (want to kick off)," said Morgan. "That's a competition also. Everything is open right now. The kickoffs, right now, are pretty much me and Jamie. My good thing is the hang time."

His last field goal attempt in a game situation was in a high school all-star game, the Semper Fidelis All American Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz., when he nailed a 47 yarder to win the game.

The entire bowl experience, not just the kick, was something Morgan believes has helped prepare him for where he is now.

"Those all American games, they really help you out because it was the first game where I have kicked off the ground since high school. Its not a huge change because it's from one inch to nothing," said Morgan. "I was happy to get that under my belt, and now I've been working on it all summer."

As for finding out whether or not he will be handling all, some, or none of the kicking duties this fall, Morgan doesn't know when he will know and doesn't appear to be losing sleep over it either.

"I have no idea," he said. "I'm just going to do the best I can, and hope for the best."

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