I wrote this in the game recap thread, but since this issue seems to have really picked up steam among both blogs and traditional media outlets, I figured it was worth the fanpost.
I actually did some digging and got some answers concerning the kickoffs. They aren’t necessarily satisfactory answers, but they at least give us a little insight into what is going on.
For the GSU game, Walsh’s goal was kick the ball on a higher arc than normal and land it at about the ten yard mark on the right side of the field. This is done to give our coverage team more time to get downfield and make a tackle quickly. In theory, our guys getting having more time to get downfield can put the clamps on a potential big return. A couple of Walsh’s kicks were in the general area, but some fell well short. For the CMU game, the plan was expanded to try and hit the 10 yard line on the left sideline, as a right footed kicker can aim left better than he can aim right. However, as mentioned above, the coaches turned off the “No Touchbacks” sign three times on Saturday. One went to the endzone, one was hooked out of bounds, and one made it to about the five.
All of this does add up to something I have heard about Walsh thusfar-he has all the leg in the world, but he isn’t consistent enough yet. When kicking for the endzone, he is just as likely to split the uprights as he is to hook one into the student section. This inconsistency might also have something to do with the pooch kickoffs plan. As a result of this, Coach Richt is considering having walk on Jamie Lindley handle kickoffs on Saturday, trotting Walsh out only for extra points and field goals. If this is the case, I have to wonder why Lindley wasn’t given any kickoffs the past two weeks. While kicking short doesn’t thrill me at all, having a freshman take his first kickoff on the road in an SEC game doesn’t excite me either.