Ely-Kelso continues to work on consistency

ATHENS – Not too long ago Georgia had a scholarship punter - in 2005 they will have one, too.

Ever since Jonathon Kilgo left Georgia, Gordon Ely-Kelso has been trying to replace him. He's gotten just a little bit closer lately – he was awarded a full scholarship on June 14th.

"Gordon has been our punter for two years and has done a solid job in that role. He's certainly deserving of a scholarship," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt in a statement.

Ely-Kelso has punted 119 times for the Bulldogs, and has averaged 39.4 yards per punt, including 21 of 50 or more yards. The accuracy of Ely-Kelso's leg has improved since his first season punting: 34 of his punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. He was named as the Bulldogs' Special Teams Most Improved Player Award at the conclusion of the 2004 season.

"Every day one of my goals is to get more consistent," said Ely-Kelso. Like fellow scholarship kicker Andy Bailey, Ely-Kelso has a cannon leg. Both struggled early in their careers to find consistency with accuracy. Ely-Kelso seems headed on the right path, however.

"I feel like my best punts are up there with anyone's best punts, but I need to get more of those out there," Ely-Kelso said.

Twice in his career Ely-Kelso has booted 61-yard punts against South Carolina. In 2003, he punished the Gamecocks with an average of 45.2 yards per punt in a game in which he was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Ely-Kelso explains, however, that for kickers, specifically, quality is far better than quantity.

"It's difficult because in a lot of positions in football you can come out and say ‘I'm going to work hard and do as much as I can.' But for a kicker if you do too much you can end up hurting yourself. There is a balance; you want to have quality reps. We don't want to come out here and punt 300 balls a day – we would just end up wearing ourselves out and our technique starts getting worse."

Still, Ely-Kelso said the punters, himself included, don't want to give the coaches the wrong impression of their workouts.

"We try to work hard enough," he said laughing, "so that the coaches don't get mad at us – but at the same time they don't want us to wear ourselves out."

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