Morgan reaching new heights

ATHENS - Morgan wants to 'knock it out of the water' on kickoffs

If Marshall Morgan’s kickoff responsibilities are being challenged by preferred freshman walk-on Rodrigo Blankenship, the Bulldogs’ senior kicker doesn’t sound like it.

“We did some kickoffs (Monday) and I got most of them,” Morgan said. “I don’t know if it’s a competition or not. We’ll see.”

Morgan had 31 touchbacks in 98 kickoffs last season, a 31.6 percent rate. That’s improved from 23.6 percent in 2013.

“I’ve been on an uphill (climb) and hopefully this year I knock it out of the water,” he said. “I have the leg strength. Tennessee, I hit 57 (on a field goal in 2013) and people are like why can’t you knock it out of the end zone? It’s all about how your approach and how your hitting it. It’s the context there. I’ve been working on different drills with different kicking coaches.”

Blankenship, from Sprayberry High, said aiming for touchbacks may not be the strategy each time out.

“It all depends on who we’re playing each week,” he said. “This conference has some of the best return men in the country so it’s just going to be whoever the coaches think is the best guy that is hitting the ball the farthest, whoever is hitting the ball the highest in the right spots to try to eliminate returns.”

Morgan said there are several other walk-ons also working on kickoffs.

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