Dawgs want kickoff return improved

ATHENS – Georgia has a few things they want to improve this season, and production on kickoff return is one of them.

Last year Georgia's kickoff return leader, Tyson Browning, had the lowest average yardage (15.7 yards per return) of any of the Bulldogs' annual kickoff return leader since some guy named Herschel Walker managed only 15.3 yards a return in 1981.

Browning is not the starter going into this week's game against Boise State. Instead Thomas Brown and Bryan McClendon will get the nod as the Bulldogs' returners. Last season Brown ended the season with only 18 return yards, while McClendon finished up with 178 return yards, third best on the team in total returns.

When Ken Rucker left the program to take the running backs coach job at Texas, newcomer Kirby Smart was left to sort out the mess that was the kickoff return game, and make it proactive again.

"He's brought a different scheme in, and I think it will work very well," said Brown. "I don't think we had enough practice on it last year to prepare for the game, and I think that kind of hurt us. It's a lot different when you get out on the field."

Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt made note following virtually every contest last season that he wanted more from that group. He reflected that it was his hope after a while that the opposing kicker would blast the ball out of the end zone.

"Last year I was hoping they would kick it out of the end zone so we could get it on the 20. This year I hope to get past the 20," he said with a smile.

This week's opponent, Boise State, ranked 55th in the country last season in kickoff return defense by allowing 19.95 yards a return last season. The Bulldogs' 16.54 yards a return ranked them 112th out of 117 Division I football teams.


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