Dogs' Walsh ultra-reliable

Dogs' Walsh ultra-reliable

August 26th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

UGA's Brian Mimbs (32) holds the ball as Blair Walsh (57) kicks.

Photo by Kate Harrison Belz/Times Free Press.

Georgia senior place-kicker Blair Walsh has been a model of consistency, and he has the numbers to prove it.

Walsh made 20 of 23 field-goal attempts last season with a long of 53 yards, and he was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award. In 2009, he made 20 of 22 attempts with a long of 53 and was a Groza finalist.

"Just my ability to be consistent for our team is what I'm most proud of," Walsh said. "I feel like I can look back each year and know that I did my best and performed on the field in order to help my team, and I think that's where I can hang my hat at the end of the day."

The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder from Boca Raton, Fla., hasn't disappointed since signing in 2008 as a Parade All-American and as Scout.com's No. 1 kicker nationally. He has made 8 of his 12 career attempts from beyond 50 yards, and there is no better way to reflect his short-range accuracy than a 138-of-139 career clip in extra-point attempts.

Walsh set the school record by making 119 consecutive extra points before finally misfiring last season at Kentucky.

"Blair is a great kickoff guy and a great extra-point and field-goal guy," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "He's super accurate every day, and his fundamentals are so strong. He's just a guy you believe in."

With a full season to play, Walsh has amassed 303 points and ranks fourth on the Georgia career chart behind Billy Bennett (409), Kevin Butler (353) and Herschel Walker (314). Bennett holds Georgia's top two single-season scoring marks with 131 points in 2003 and 130 in '02.

Walsh scored 106 points last season and would need 107 to surpass Bennett, who started in 2000-03.

"That would be absolutely something I would love and cherish for the rest of my life, but I'm not really a big record-book guy," he said. "I've always had the mentality that records are meant to be broken, and if I was fortunate enough to pass Billy, I'm sure someone would come along and get mine. Honestly, I would much rather play in a BCS bowl.

"It would be an honor to be up there with Billy, who is one of the greats at Georgia, but I am definitely not a record-book guy."

Walsh is, however, an admitted ESPN junkie. He is scheduled to graduate in speech communication next May and loves to spend his free time inhaling sports on the radio or television.

His ESPN favorites are Colin Cowherd and Brian Kenny.

"I would love to be a sports broadcaster at some point in my life," Walsh said. "I would like to be in front of the camera, so that's my overall goal, but anything in that area would be fun for me. I look up to all the reporters. I think you guys have a cool job."

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs worked out for 90 minutes Thursday, with most of the practice dealing with special teams. ... Redshirt junior tailback Richard Samuel returned after missing several days with a strained quad. ... Freshman outside linebacker Ray Drew had his preseason sidetracked by a scooter accident, but he is expected to play in the opener. ... Boise State's all-white Nike combat uniforms were introduced Thursday, and they include white helmets with a sizable Bronco on them.