It feels like we’ve covered pretty much every essential part of this Georgia football team.
The guys who make the offense work like Stetson Bennett IV, Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey or Kenny McIntosh. The guys who make the difference on defense – Jalen Carter, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Christopher Smith, Kelee Ringo and many more.
We don’t usually emphasize it, but we did talk about how good the Dawgs’ offensive line can be — a big factor in why Georgia has one of the most consistent offenses in the country.
But you know who we don’t talk about? The kicker. We never talk about the kicker. Well, today is my unofficial Kicker Appreciation Day.
Senior Jack Podlesny is as consistent as it gets. Good weather, bad weather, close game, big lead – it doesn’t matter. He has a job – kicking a long ball between two tall yellow bars – and he does it with extreme efficiency.
Podlesny has made 20 of his 22 field goal attempts this season, his only misses coming from over 40 yards. One was over 50. His 91 percent accuracy ranks him 14th nationally, and his 20 kicks completed put him tied for 5th place. He didn’t miss an extra point all year and his 51 earned a top 10 spot overall.
The Dawgs have benefited from many blowout wins, but on the few occasions Podlesny has been forced into pivotal moments, he has delivered. His 4 field goals against Missouri were the only offense Georgia could muster at the time. It kept the team in a game that could have slipped away.
Last Saturday, the Dawgs struggled to get over the goal line. Podlesny went through 3 clean-shooting to help them secure a stunning 16-6 win.
Podlesny is Georgia’s all-time best kicker when it comes to accuracy. He takes 84.6 percent of his kicks, more than 2 percentage points ahead of Dawgs legend Rodrigo Blankenship. For a team that has had some pretty big names – Blankenship, Brandon Coutu, Billy Bennett, Kevin Butler, Blair Walsh, John Kasay – Podlesny has more than continued the tradition.
Look, he’s not kicking nuclear weapons out there. His length this season is only 42 yards. His career is 53 years long, but he’s only attempted 4 yards beyond 50. Most of it has to do with Georgia’s offense, but everyone has a flaw.
However, here is the point:
That will matter in the end. At some point — maybe against LSU, or maybe later in the college football playoffs — the Dawgs will have a moment where they need a big kick from their senior. Whether it’s a tense field goal or an extra point, a booming kick for a touchback or an onside kick, it’s crazy to expect Georgia to continue rolling over the top five teams without drama.
The good news: Georgia is as complete as they come.
With the nation’s highest-scoring defense, a powerful offensive attack and Podlesny closing every loophole with his leg, the Dawgs have a rare wealth of riches at all stages of the game.