Resolving Special Teams Play

ATHENS - Georgia's coaching assignments on special teams won't change in 2012.

At least that's the plan right now, according to coach Mark Richt.

"We're not changing who's doing what, we're just making sure we're really comfortable with what we're doing and very comfortable with the personnel that we put on these teams and also that we take the time that it takes to be good at it."

Aside from point-after-attempts, the Bulldogs finished in the bottom half of the Southeastern Conference in every special teams category in 2011.

The subpar play, which included missed field goals, a blocked punt and touchdowns given up on kickoffs and punt returns, led some to question both the personnel used and the overall strategy for each unit.

Georgia does not have a singular special teams coach -- instead the duties are the divided up amongst the assistant coaches.

Punt team: John Lilly
Kickoff return: Tony Ball
Kickoff: Kirk Olivadotti
Punt return: Bryan McClendon
Field goal/PATs: Will Friend
Field goal block: Rodney Garner

Samuel on the move again?

The addition of two highly-rated running backs in the 2012 class could lead to another position move for senior Richard Samuel.

With Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley joining a backfield already deep in young talent, the possibility for Samuel to see the field more often could come at fullback.

"There's a chance of that," Richt said. "We have got to make sure that we take the entire talent base of our football team and get the best players out there in whatever situations that we need them in. If that means a guy playing both ways or playing two positions on defense or if it means the entire starting lineup on offense or defense playing special teams, whatever we've got to do to get the best players on the field, we've got to do that to take advantage of everybody's abilities."

Samuel rushed for 240 yards and a touchdown on 82 carries in 2012 after spending a short stint at linebacker the previous year.

His 6-2, 245-pound frame has given reason for some to forecast the move to fullback.

Let's stand pat

Texas A&M and Missouri joining the SEC has already changed scheduling, and future alterations could be in store.

With 14 teams now in the conference, some have lobbied for a nine-game slate to help alleviate difficulties in providing fairness when scheduling cross-division games.

Richt indicated he's opposed to adding another SEC opponent.

"Eight league games to me is plenty to prove that you're a good football team," he said. "And then when you always play Georgia Tech to go along with that, that's another one that you've got to deal with that's going to take everything you got."

Teams must now play six division opponents each year and two teams from the opposite division on a rotating basis. The squeeze has placed classic rivalries such as Georgia-Auburn and Tennessee-Alabama in jeopardy.

"I know our rival game with Auburn is very important to us," Richt said. "It would be kind of hard to not have that game for a lot of reasons just like people thinking about Texas and Texas A&M not playing. It's sad when you lose rival games."

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