Special Teams Anything But For Arkansas

ATLANTA -- Reggie Fish walked off the Georgia Dome playing field with his head hung low, getting consolation from coaches, teammates, managers and just about everyone else around.

With the Florida band blaring out the school fight song for the umpteenth time following the Gators' 38-28 Southeastern Conference Championship win Saturday, Fish had a hard time convincing himself he wasn't partly at fault. Not just Fish, in fact, but the entire Arkansas special teams. With a muffed punt return -- by Fish -- a blocked punt off the foot of Jacob Skinner, another costly missed field goal early by Jeremy Davis and even a big mishap by letting Florida convert a fake punt of its own, the Razorbacks were anything but special in the special teams game. "It always hurts in a big game," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "Anytime you're in a championship game and you get a punt blocked and then you drop one for an easy score, you can't have that. You can't give away points. We all know that. "That really hurt." Fish's had to hurt the most, though. With Arkansas' corner of the Georgia Dome reaching its highest decibel level of the night after the Razorbacks had gained their first lead of the game, 21-17, almost midway though the third quarter, everything changed with Fish's mighty blunder. Deciding to take a punt return inside the Arkansas 10 instead of letting the kick go over his head, Fish's decision was just what Florida needed after the sophomore flanker fumbled the kick over his shoulder, into the end zone for an easy Gators touchdown. "(The punt) was high and it just kept floating," Fish said. "I was unaware of where I was at and I lost my landmark. I didn't realize how deep I was, and I kind of hesitated on the punt and tried to catch it on my shoulder." Fish tried to tell himself after the game it wasn't all his fault. And it really wasn't. "You know, we catch probably 200 punts a week trying to get ready for that," Arkansas special teams coach James Shibest said. "And you know, I feel sorry for Reggie. But the game, by no means, was on him." Not totally on him, for sure. But much of it was on an unspecial special teams. "We just had some bad plays on special teams," Fish said. "The muffed punt, the (blocked) punt, they had a fake punt. "They just didn't go our way tonight."

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