Georgia's Butler aims to do more

Georgia's Butler aims to do more

April 9th, 2010 by David Paschall in Sports - College

All the trophies, plaques and certificates that Georgia punter Drew Butler received last season after winning the Ray Guy Award and becoming a consensus All-American are at the family home in Duluth.

It's the second nicest collection of football hardware inside the Kevin Butler residence.

"I've tried to match it up with my dad, but he's still got me outnumbered by quite a lot," Butler said. "My mom is taking care of them, and I'm just trying to work hard to get all of them back."

Butler has experienced a different spring from a year ago, when he was known as the untested son of an NFL Hall of Fame kicker. In his first season as a starter, the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder punted 56 times for 2,691 yards and a nation-leading 48.1 yards per kick.

Georgia punter Drew Butler

Georgia punter Drew Butler

His average was the highest for any Bowl Subdivision punter since Purdue's Travis Dorsch averaged 48.4 yards in 2001.

"It's a whole new kind of pressure," Butler said. "It's kind of gone from 'Can he do it?' to 'Can he do that again?' What I'm really doing is sticking with the same fundamentals and sticking with my same work habits and working hard to get back to that same spot.

"I want to make that ball go higher and farther."

Bulldogs tight ends coach John Lilly oversees the punting and sees a more confident Butler this year. Lilly believes the redshirt junior is driven to surpass last year's accomplishments.

Butler placed 19 of his punts last season inside the 20-yard line.

"I think there are things we can do to be better, not only with him but with the whole punt team as a unit," Lilly said. "I think at times our coverage was not as good as it needed to be last year, and obviously you just start nitpicking on things just trying to be better. Last year, he was really looking for consistency in what he was doing, and I think this year it's consistency and excellence."

Butler is using these 15 spring practices to "get stronger, more fit, more technical and more sound." Lilly is fine with those objectives, though he isn't sure how much stronger he wants Butler's leg to become.

After all, there are 10 other players racing downfield on the punt team.

"To average what he averaged last year -- he was toying with 50 most of the year and led America," Lilly said. "I don't know that you want him to punt too much farther than that because you end up outkicking your coverage too much."

Said Butler: "It would be great to match those numbers or go even higher. One of my main goals for this year is to make sure we don't taper off toward the end of the season. Legs get tired and people get worn out, but I hope we can progress every week."

Plans for G-Day

Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said after Thursday's practice, the 13th of the spring, that Saturday's G-Day game would consist of 12-minute quarters. There will be no kickoffs, no rushing on extra points and field goals, and every punt will net 35 yards.

Tailback Caleb King (knee) is not expected to play.