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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Kickers

Through a decade of success, there have been plenty of players who have made their mark in a Georgia uniform, and for the next two weeks, The Telegraph will be giving you the chance to vote on your picks for the Bulldogs’ All-Decade team for the 2000s. We’ll go position-by-position, and you’ll pick the winners by going to to vote.

Our second ballot is for Georgia’s top kicker of the decade, and the nominees are:

(Note: Years as Georgia’s starter in parentheses)

Billy Bennett (2000-2003). Bennett finished his career as one of the most decorated players in school history. When he graduated, he held the SEC record for points (409) and was second in NCAA history. He booted 26 field goals for the 2002 SEC championship team and was named to the All-SEC team twice. He scored 261 points in 2002 and 2003 when the Bulldogs finished a combined 24-4. Bennett missed just three PATs in his career, connecting on 113 straight at one point. His 31 field goals made in 2003 is the SEC record and his six field goals against Georgia Tech in 2001 tied the SEC mark. His 409 career points are 56 more than the next highest tally in Georgia history.

Brandon Coutu (2005-2007). Following in Bennett’s footsteps was no easy task, but Coutu was every bit as consistent as his predecessor. The former walk-on was a perfect 114-for-114 PATs in his career and connected on 80.30 percent of his career field goals, a school record. His six field goals of at least 50 yards ties him for second on Georgia’s all-time list, and only Kevin Butler has made a kick longer than Coutu’s 58-yard bomb in 2005 against Louisiana-Monroe. That field goal still stands as the SEC record for longest without a tee. His 23 field goals made in 2005 rank third on Georgia’s single-season list and helped the Bulldogs to an SEC championship, and his last-second kick against Vandy won the game and sent the Bulldogs on their way to a No. 2 ranking in 2007.

Blair Walsh (2008-present). If Coutu had a big legacy to live up to, the standard by which Walsh would be judged was downright intimidating -- but that didn’t stop him from impressing right from the start. Walsh connected from 52 yards out on his first career field goal try and has been money from long distance ever since. In just two seasons at Georgia, Walsh has already tied Coutu, Rex Robinson and Alan Leavitt for second all time with six field goals of more than 50 yards. In 2009, he finished the regular season 10-of-11 from beyond 40 yards, and his 37-yarder as time expired helped Georgia knock off Arizona State. He has never missed a PAT in his career (87-for-87) and his 90.5 percent success rate in 2009 would rank third all-time for Georgia. He earned a second-team All-SEC nod in 2009 and is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker.

So, who gets your vote? Go to to cast your ballot or vote in our previous categories, and be sure to pick up a copy of the December 27th issue of The Telegraph to find out the winners.

And don't forget to leave your comments here on the blog. Tell us about why you made your selection and your favorite memories of those players, and your comments could appear in our final results issue of The Telegraph.


Chase said...

Gotta go with Billy bennett from the glory days of my bulldog era

Dan said...

What about Andy Bailey? He was offered a scholarship out of high school. Hitting your own offensive lineman with a PAT has to count for something.

Universal Remonster said...

I'm definitely going with my boy Billy. He was so money, and was an awesome guy on top of it all.

Will Q said...

For those who are pining for the days when Mark Richt called plays, there's a reason Billy Bennett held the SEC record for points when he graduated.

Anonymous said...

Tough choices, but I think you have to go with Bennett if for no other reason than he kicked the clutch field goal to win the game against Alabama in 2002 and that game probably stood out as the real turning point in this program.

The Realist said...

Billy Bennett without a doubt. He restarted the legacy of great kickers at UGA, and he was the only real scoring threat in 2003.

Anonymous said...

Will Q, that is right.

That is because Mark Richt called plays that sustained long, time consuming drives that allowed us to win the right way, with defense and special teams.

3 and outs absolutely kill a defense, and while we have scored a lot of points under Bobo, we have also gone 3 and out a huge percentage of the time.

I would vote for Billy because he was a great guy, and I will never forget him bombing the LSU band in the 2003 SECCG. Funny as hell.

Anonymous said...

Billy Bennett! He helped bring home the 2002 SEC Championship, as part of the team that is still my favorite UGA team of my lifetime. (I was born in 1980, so I obviously don't have many memories of that team).

Plus, he gave me one of the greatest nights of my life when I went to Bobby Dodd Stadium as a senior and watched him boot those six field goals and lead us to the drought-breaking win over the nerds, my only one as a student.

GATA, Billy!!!

Will Q said...

Anon @ 12:05

I'll give you the long, sustained drives, but my point is that people were bitching just as much back then about Richt's conservative play-calling as they are now about Bobo's 3-and-outs.

Very few admired Richt's calls back then; they all wanted to see us light up the scoreboard like FSU did. What they ignored was that FSU was playing in the ACC, and that was prior to Miami and VT being added.