“We had several of them that we were in safe the other day where he’s not protected, meaning we’re not holding people up for him, so he can’t just abandon it and try to return it on his own,” Smart said.
“So we weren't able to set up a lot of returns. … There were a lot of times that they were in the 50-yard-line range that they’re in fake mode, and we want to be as safe as we can to get possession of the ball. That had a lot with Dom having to fair-catch it. It's not a matter of him wanting to.”
Regardless, the Bulldogs’ return game isn’t what it has been. Simmons had a 42-yard return against Murray State and was averaging 16.8 yards a return before the muff. But that’s still behind last year’s pace set by Mecole Hardman, who led the SEC with a 20.1-yard average and had one TD return. Along with Ahkil Crumpton, Eric Stokes and Terry Godwin, Georgia averaged 16.3 yards per return last season.
Earlier this year, Smart said that Blaylock is a very capable punt returner and it was one of the reasons the 5-star receiver prospect was a recruiting priority for the Bulldogs. Redshirt freshman Kearis Jackson opened the season as Georgia’s punt returner, but broke his left hand in the opener and has not returned punts since. Receiver Demetris Robertson also fields punts in practice.