Camarda looks for consistency on special teams
Georgia punter Jake Camarda was a true difference-maker in Georgia’s upset win over Clemson this past Saturday in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.
The senior specialist averaged 43.4 yards per punt and four of his attempts were downed inside the Tigers’ 20-yard line. Camarda’s relentless effort help set up the Georgia defense to bring pressure and keep the Tigers from driving past midfield in a low-scoring affair.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart pointed out that Camarda had a great performance.
"He had an elite kick of 50-something yards with a five-something hang-time,” Smart said on Monday. “That's something … people don't do that much. He had some really big punts and the ones that got downed he actually missed his field zone on a couple of those.”
Smart acknowledged that on some of Camarda’s punts, he set up his teammates in the perfect situation to execute a great play on special teams.
“Arian (Smith) made phenomenal plays, so I want to give him some credit,” Smart said. “We come in this room and sit here and say ‘okay, Camarda what is your percentage downed inside the 20?’. Our goal is for him to hit around 70 percent. Since he's been here in his career he's batting about 75-80 percent.”
Smart said that’s all about preparation and the special teams working together as a whole to perfect a great play.
“He doesn't do that alone,” he added. “That ball doesn't roll in itself. He has gunners and people out there. We practice that really hard, and I think coach (Todd) Hartley does a great job and we were able to down I think two or three in there.”
Camarda averaged 42.6 yards per punt as a true freshman in 2018. Since then, the Norcross High School product has only improved. Camarda has averaged a 46.7 yards per punt mark throughout the last two seasons. He has 43 punts that were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard lines and has 38 balls go over 50-plus yards over that same timeframe.
Camarda highlighted that it’s all about getting better and being more consistent.
“I remember back in my freshman year, just working hard on everything,” he said. “It's a lot more of a team effort than me just punting. You’ve got to have a good gunner to get down there. I definitely think we have that improved since freshman year."
Georgia’s matchup against Clemson was a defensive battle, which started with the fight for field position. Camarda’s four punts inside the Tigers’ 20-yard line helped the Bulldogs tremendously. Clemson’s offense struggled to move the ball after those punts and only scored three points as a result of Georgia’s effort on special teams and defense, respectively.
Camarda pointed out that the execution of the specials teams unit definitely played a role in the victory.
“It was definitely a defensive battle there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “When you have a low scoring game, 10-3 contest, it was a struggle as a team. We (the special teams unit) were able to go out there and contribute in a big way. That’s what we are there for.”
Georgia returns to action this upcoming Saturday against UAB in Sanford Stadium at 3:30 p.m.
Nevertheless, Camarda feels like the Bulldogs’ special team unit can polish up some things ahead of their matchup against the Blazers.
“There’s so much to improve on,” he said. “We need to continue to focus on consistency, continuing to work toward having a consistent drop, consistent steps and making sure that we’re hitting certain spots on the field. There’s always going to be something to improve on. You’re never going to have a game when you’re perfect.”