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Bulldogs kicker Walsh ‘real focused right now’.


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By Tim Tucker

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — Georgia placekicker Blair Walsh, who missed six of his final 11 field-goal attempts last season, has made his first three this season.

All three have come from 40-plus yards, with two from 50-plus, including a career-long 53.

Walsh, a sophomore from Boca Raton, Fla., staved off a challenge from junior-college transfer Brandon Bogotay this summer to hold on to the placekicking and kickoff jobs.

Walsh talked with the AJC this week:

Q: Do you believe in the concept of athletes being “in the zone”? Are you there right now on field goals?

A: I hope. I think I am, yeah. I’m real focused right now. ... I just go out there like I’m 0-for-0 and have never had any attempt before. I just got to keep knocking them down.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you learned last season?

A: Probably to not let each kick get in my head and to really understand what I’m doing and learn from each kick. Don’t draw negative things from [a missed kick]. Don’t say, ‘Now, my percentage is so-and-so.’ Just draw what you know from it, and fix it.

Q: What did you do during the off-season to improve?

A: A lot of muscle-memory drills. I went out to the Chris Sailer [Kicking] Camp, the college camp, in May. He’s been real helpful to me. I also got back in touch with my old coach who moved away. Just sort of got back to the basics again.

Q: Did you benefit from the competition with Bogotay?

A: I think everybody’s level of play steps up a little bit when there’s competition around. ... It definitely pushed me, definitely told me there’s no room for any slack. Brandon is a great kicker. So I’d say it helped, but I wouldn’t say it helped tremendously.

Q: Tell me about the day you kicked a ball onto the roof of a building next to the practice field.

A: We were hitting kickoffs, and I got a hold of one from the 30 to that roof. It was really the best kick I’ve ever hit in my life. It probably went about 85 yards in the air.

Q: There’s so much talk about Georgia’s kickoff philosophy [boom-it-into-the-end-zone vs. directional kicks]. Do you have a preference?

A: I do what I’m told.

Q: Is your confidence on field goals back to where it was early last season [when you made 10 of 12 before slumping]?

A: I’d say so, yeah, but last year I might have let it get too high. I know how to control it now. I know ... it’s a long season.

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