ATHENS, Ga. — Football players love to showcase their athletic ability on Saturday afternoons, but sometimes it still results in disaster.
Take Georgia punter Collin Barber recalling the third quarter of Saturday's 45-21 win over North Texas.
"It was a pretty high snap, and I jumped up as high as I could," Barber said. "I had my arm extended as high as I could and caught it, but by the time I hit the ground, they were already there. I tried to take one step and get it off, but as soon as I kicked it, it went into a guy's chest."
The Mean Green benefited from a high snap and, according to Barber, a couple of wrong protections in blocking his punt early in the second half and recovering the ball in the end zone for a score that briefly tied the game at 21. It was the third high snap in as many games for Nathan Theus, with the first two resulting in a botched field-goal attempt at Clemson from short range and a bobble by Barber against South Carolina that led to a Gamecocks touchdown.
Barber took the blame for dropping the snap against South Carolina, but Bulldogs punt-team coordinator John Lilly pulled Theus on Saturday and replaced him with former Calhoun High snapper Trent Frix. Frix is the younger brother of Ty Frix, who handled snapping responsibilities the past four seasons.
"It's something we've just got to continue to work on," Lilly said. "The good news is that we have a couple of guys who are capable, but I do think there is an accountability factor there, and they have to understand that they're accountable for what they do. We've just got to go back to work.
"There are some little things we have to look at and hopefully clean up."
The Bulldogs also allowed a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter, but Barber did provide a bright spot for special teams with a career-long 61-yard punt.
Floyd in pursuit
Georgia freshman linebacker Leonard Floyd took the team lead in sacks Saturday after recording two in the first quarter that totaled 17 yards.
"The coaches had been telling me all week that I needed to get a sack," Floyd said. "I've been telling myself that I need to get a sack. I finally got one, and it felt great.
"I come to practice every day wanting to work hard using my hands and stuff. We've been getting better, and we showed up today."
Floyd had the only sacks for the Bulldogs, who have five through three games.
Sophomore kicker Marshall Morgan played for the first time this season. He missed the first two games as the result of an arrest this summer for boating under the influence.
Morgan made all five extra-point attempts and a 27-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. He missed a 52-yard attempt on the final play of the first half.
"It was so tough those first two games knowing I wasn't going to be able to kick, but now it's the greatest feeling ever," Morgan said. "I am definitely not taking my job for granted after all this. I don't mess around anymore, and I'm a lot more focused.
"I felt like I had something to prove today."
Odds and ends
Fifth-year senior receiver Rantavious Wooten notched his first career pass completion when he took a lateral from Aaron Murray in the second quarter and lofted a 42-yard strike to tight end Arthur Lynch. ... Junior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson led the Bulldogs with nine tackles and had two tackles for loss. ... Redshirt sophomore tight end Jay Rome had a 27-yard reception in the first quarter but injured his ankle and was in a walking boot afterward. ... The UGA athletic association this weekend approved a $3 million expenditure for renovating the football practice fields.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...