How Special Teams Will Impact Georgia vs. Alabama National Championship
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Will Reichard.
- There was no real advantage in special teams during the SEC Championship game, but how about on the biggest stage?
- The teams rank 25th and 26th, respectively, in Special Teams SP+.
- Collin Wilson breaks it all down before the big game.
From a high-level view, these teams rank 25th and 26th in Special Teams SP+. There was no real advantage in the SEC Championship, as both had an average starting field position around the 22-yard line and finished up almost dead even in hidden yards.
Both teams combined to go 11-for-11 in field goal and point-after attempts.
There are certain areas of focus between the two teams where an advantage can be found. Alabama ranks 115th in punt efficiency and 130th in opponent field goal efficiency. While there is no way to handicap opponent field goal efficiency, Georgia does rank 61st in punt return efficiency.
Kearis Jackson has returned 22 punts on the season with a long of 41 yards and an average of 8.6 per return. Jackson was held to just six total yards on two punts by Alabama in the SEC title game.
While the starting field position was even in Atlanta, the season ranks favor Georgia. The Bulldogs are third in both defensive field position and net field position.
Slade Bolden and JoJo Earle combined for four punt returns and negative eight yards against Cincinnati.
Williams took over kick return duties with the injury to John Metchie III, but a shoulder pop against Cincinnati may force a new face to field kickoffs. Georgia senior Jake Camarda is 23rd in touchback rate, indicating Bolden, Earle or Williams have the task of setting field position for Alabama.
Could another Alabama game come down to a field goal? Will Reichard has hit 32-of-37 field goals since the beginning of the 2020 season, with three misses this season from the 40-to-49-yard range.
Reichard has connected on 2-of-3 lifetime from beyond 50 yards.
The Crimson Tide have the more stable kicker, as Georgia junior Jack Podlesny has connected on just 33-of-41 field goals since the 2020 season. The Georgia kicker has missed on five tries between 30 and 49 yards, including a miss in the Orange Bowl.
— kevin (@FieldGoalKev) January 1, 2022
While Podlensy has not attempted a 50-plus yard field goal this season, the Bulldogs kicker connected on all three attempts in the 2020 season.
With any field goal props posted, the question becomes more about opportunity than length, as these kickers are 5-of-6 lifetime from beyond 50 yards.