Early this season I began following UGA freshman linebacker Nate McBride as he made his way downfield on the kickoff team. McBride caught my attention with the aggression with which he attacked blockers and closed on the return man. Saturday at Grant Field on the opening kickoff I again ignored the return to concentrate on the young Dawg from Vidalia. Apparently, Georgia Tech had also noticed Nate and assigned one of their return team to neutralize the pressure closing on their returners with a track star’s speed.
Tech defensive back Tariq Carpenter, also a freshman, spent his afternoon trying to block McBride. The battle raged on each kickoff and brought interest to a portion of the game that has become routine with each kick that Rodrigo Blankenship sails out of the endzone.
On the opening kickoff Carpenter caught McBride from the side and knocked him off his feet:
The rest of the afternoon, I judged in favor of McBride. The gallery that follows includes photos from several kickoffs: