One of the last moments that Georgia fans will forever cherish about the 2020 season was the game-winning 53-yard field goal from Jack Podlesny that put Georgia up by a point, leading to a 24-21 victory for the Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. That kick won Podlesny Offensive MVP of the game and capped off a stellar season from the walk-on kicker.
This year, Podlesny enters as the undoubted starter after being named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the countries top placekicker. Podlesny spoke on Thursday in a virtual press conference about what he looks to improve on heading into the 2021 season.
“A lot of it has been finding those rights and wrongs that I did last year,” said Podlesny. There weren’t many rights. A lot of things I’ve had to work on and fix over the offseason. A lot of it had to do with techniques. So, I’d go and I’d train with a guy on the weekends making sure that I simplify my jab step or my drive was a little longer.”
For a guy that only missed three field goals last year (13-of-16) and 0 extra points, Georgia fans should be excited for what is to come in 2021 if there were not many “rights” from Podlesny. He also said that he is on scholarship heading into this season.
We often hear quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs talk about who they looked to growing up, but very rarely do kickers talk about that. Podlesny though has a different background with how he came to love football.
“If I’m gonna be honest, I wasn’t a football guy until probably [the] end of junior year, beginning of senior year,” said Podlesny. It was all soccer. So, I was a big [Lionel] Messi fan, big [Cristiano] Ronaldo fan, but football was the last thing on my mind. Now, gotta look up to [Rodrigo Blankenship], such a great kicker, pastime now, who just retired is Adam Vinatieri.”
Filling the shoes of Rodrigo Blankenship was never going to be easy for anyone at the University of Georgia. Blankenship had the specs and the roaring crowd always with him, but Podlesny could find himself kicking on Sundays with Blankenship if he continues to excel.
With the Clemson game just eight days away, Podlesny could end up playing an integral role in that matchup, especially if it’s a close one late. However, the 6-foot-1 junior from Saint Simons Island seems ready for the challenge.
For Podlesny’s full presser: