Posted: 10:25 am Friday, July 18th, 2014

Golden high on Butker, special teams 

By Ken Sugiura

Jamal Golden broke Georgia Tech's 14-year drought without a kickoff return for a touchdown with two in 2012.

Jamal Golden broke Georgia Tech’s 14-year drought without a kickoff return for a touchdown with two in 2012.

 

Georgia Tech safety and return specialist Jamal Golden loves what he sees out of his fellow specialists.

“We have dynamic special teams,” Golden said this week. “I’m sure Coach Ray (Rychleski) is going to take that up another notch just with his experience, with his game planning. He’s a smart guy, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Golden missed most of last season with a shoulder injury after a standout 2012 season in which he ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns and was sixth in the country in punt return average at 14.6 yards. While leaving the decision up to Rychleski, Tech’s new special-teams coordinator, Golden said he expects to take on both duties again this fall.

Golden has also been fielding kickoffs and punts with kickers Harrison Butker and Roberto Hinojosa and punter Ryan Rodwell.

“I just go in there and field for them and let them get the feel of kicking to a returner,” Golden said. “We work all the time. They’re kicking pretty good.”

Butker is back for his sophomore season. As a freshman, he made 10 of 14 field-goal tries (including 5-for-7 from 40-49 yards out) and recorded touchbacks on 30 of 73 kickoffs. He also made academic All-ACC.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing him work this year,” Golden said. “He’ll get us a game or two.”

Rodwell played in six games as a freshman in 2012 but redshirted last season. After Golden went out, DeAndre Smelter, Lynn Griffin and Dennis Andrews were among those taking turns in the return game. Golden noted the return of a less prominent special teamer – linebacker Anthony Harrell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Syracuse last season but is mending.

“People forget about him,” Golden said. “He’s the guy that makes things go.”

Golden said he has met with Rychleski, hired in May, two or three times. They’ve talked schemes, watched video together, both past Tech games and from Rychleski’s past stops. Golden said it was heartbreaking when former special-teams coordinator Dave Walkosky abruptly resigned in May, but said he was looking forward to working with his new special-teams coach.

“He seems like he knows what he’s doing, so I’m ready to take his experience and turn my game up to the next level,” he said.

 

21 comments
GGee
GGee

Special teams are such a huge part of college football. With nobody really playing defense anymore, youve got to be up to par on STs. If we can give ourselves better starting field position and hold other teams from flipping the field when our O stalls, We will gain a couple wins that in reality we probably shouldnt. Golden is a playmaker and Butker is going.to be special. Cant wait for the season to get started.

GoGT
GoGT

Can't wait! Go Jackets! Glad Jamal and others who have been hurt are back.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Jamal was incredible during the 2012 season at returning kicks.  Didn't get much of a chance to shine this past season because of injury.  I think he's prime for a big season.  As for Butker, he's got all the tools to be one of the best in the country.  He was as advertised last year.  I believe he very well could be of the best in the country in a few years.

BigTimeTECHFan
BigTimeTECHFan

Defensive back combo of Golden White (Jamal and DJ) will lead Tech to the final 4. can't wait to see who we play

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

Thanks for the updates Ken. Sure helps to get that excited feeling since the season will soon be upon us. The Tulane writeup was interesting, should win but I for one am not expecting it to be that easy. Awaiting your GS preview to complete the preseason schedule. Hopefully we'll be 3-0 going to Blacksburg. We always seem to play the Hokies close. It would be nice if we could finally win one of those tight ones. Will still have plenty of challenges ahead with the Canes and Dukies to follow.

Halfback
Halfback

The whole special teams thing is so important and has been missing for some time.  Just kicking the ball deep is something we have missed until last year, and the possibility of getting points on every drive changes things.  Looking for Golden to light it up this year.  GO JACKETS!

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@BigTimeTECHFan

Ummmm.  The schedule is out.  It's Virginia, NCST, Clemson and UGA.

I'd take 3 W's against those now.... But I'm not hard to please.  I'll take just 1 if it's UGA.

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket We probably need to improve our pass defense more than our A-Back play.

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

I'm gonna reply to myself, lol, and correct myself because I just noticed the GS preview was released yesterday. Let me go check that out! Thanks Ken

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@Halfback  Concur.  Tech is not dominating enough on O or D to sluff off on special teams and until the very recent past, we were NOT very special.  Although touchbacks go to the 25, it eliminates the chance for a big play and kicking it about 2 - 4 yards deep gives opponents a tough choice to bring it out. Butker has the leg and accuracy to give us some long FGs. We've got a new punter so ??? there, Golden is back who is an excellent return person, and I hope we continue our upward trend of getting a couple of punt blocks on the D-side.  I like our new coach and I think our Special Teams may win us a game or two this year.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GTBob
Perhaps I've been known to agonize a little more than I should on LOS issues, but our "pass defense" problems I think is more up front.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@Yellerbug @Halfback

Agree.  Touchbacks are to football what strike-outs are to baseball.  They're just "better" defensively---the opposing offense never gets the ball in play.

On the other side of the coin, without Golden we failed to get the ball to or significantly past the 25 on too many kickoffs.  Take a knee from the end-zone.  Avoid the possibility of a TO or injuries.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

Yeah. Because our defensive line can get 34 sacks but they suck in covering open receivers. I guess no responsibility falls on the secondary.

Seriously, it's almost like you're being willfully stupid.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@AugustaJacket

We had 2 players from our secondary go pro.  They cannot cover the receivers forever while QBs are snacking on popcorn and sipping cokes in the pocket, Augusta.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket @AugustaJacket "We had 2 players from our secondary go pro.  They cannot cover the receivers forever while QBs are snacking on popcorn and sipping cokes in the pocket, Augusta."

___________________________________________


Really?  I thought we had a DE (Attaochu), a LB (Watts) and a CB/S (Thomas) go pro.  That's only one from the secondary and two from the front 7.  Can you show me some tape where Watts was holding his on against opposing receivers as a member of the secondary?  I seemed to have missed those plays.


Again, facts.  

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket @AugustaJacket Again, 34 sacks, good for 22nd in FBS suggests the line did their part.  The QB's weren't "snacking on popcorn."  But facts have never bothered you before, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you are ignoring them now....

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket I didn't see the same poor line play that you did last year. It wasn't great but it was solid. We kicked a potential starter at safety off the team before the season started. We lost another starting safety to injury before the season started. We lost another 3 games into the season. We had to move our best CB to Safety because we didn't have anyone left to play the position. Combine that with relatively poor CB play outside of Thomas and White and you have pretty poor pass defense.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GTBob @Birmingham__Jacket

Don't think the defensive line play was necessarily "poor".  They stuffed the run pretty well except Miami and UGA in OT.  And lot of lines struggled against Johnson and Gurley.

Frankly, I saw a lot of holding against our DL last year that didn't get called.  I can only speculate why.  Just my opinion, but we're less likely to get those calls when you run the kind of unorthodox blocking schemes we do on O.  If you've ever sat behind an opposing team's bench, their coaches are always in the ref's ears critiquing our blocks.