Kevin Butler, former University of Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2017 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 45-14 win over Vanderbilt.
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Junior center Lamont Gaillard, who led the Georgia offensive line’s best performance of the season as the Bulldogs rushed for 423 yards, the sixth-best total in UGA history and the most yards rushing in a single game since the 1987 season.
“Georgia is a powerful offense when its running backs are rolling downhill,” said Butler. “This past game against Vanderbilt proved how dangerous Georgia’s running backs can be. The one reason they are successful is the offensive line. Lamont Gaillard has been leading the way at the center position for an O-line that is improving each week. Lamont embraced the opportunity to take over at center and his hard work and physical play is showing the dividends of that investment. Coach Sam Pittman’s confidence in Lamont is creating a young and strong offensive line. With Lamont at center, Georgia is creating something special for the future with this offensive line. As Lamont goes, so do our running backs.”
Junior cornerback Deandre Baker, who recorded five tackles and played outstanding pass defense against the Commodores’ very capable quarterback, Kyle Shurmur.
“The junior cornerback had a productive Saturday against Vanderbilt,” said Butler. “With a limited rushing attack Vandy had to go to the air but, not on Baker. Deandre keeps developing as a superior corner with relentless defending capabilities. His physical play supports the ‘junkyard dogs’ as evident by his five tackles against Vanderbilt. As Georgia’s run defense continues to get better, their opponents will challenge Georgia’s secondary and Deandre Baker will play a huge role in the success of the Bulldogs in the second half of the season.”
Junior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker, who has sparkled on the Bulldogs’ kick coverage teams in the six wins to date. Walker and the rest of his special teams cohorts have continually put the Georgia defense in excellent field position to defend the opposing offenses.
“So many times when you talk special teams, your first thoughts are the kickers,” said Butler. “Georgia’s success in the special teams play this year is due to the physical nature of the coverage teams. The one player that stands out to me is D’Andre Walker. The 6-3, 240-pound junior is a force to be reckoned with for all opponents. His size combined with his speed enables Georgia to dominate on the coverage teams. Whether it is kickoff coverage, punt protection or punt return, D’Andre is a force on the field. This combined with his defensive play shows you his dedication to making the Bulldogs as strong as they can be on every single play. I expect big things from Mr. Walker heading down the home stretch. Mr. Walker, that has a good Bulldog ring.”
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