Georgia’s Jake Camarda using Tiger Woods as inspiration after shanks

Georgia punter Jake Camarda (90) during the Bulldogs' game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Snyder)
Georgia punter Jake Camarda (90) during the Bulldogs' game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Snyder)

Credit: Kevin Snyder

Credit: Kevin Snyder

Late in the first half of Georgia’s game against Florida on Nov. 7, Jake Camarda shanked a punt. The junior doesn’t do that very often, but when the nature of your role is to drop an oblong ball and kick it in mid-air, sometimes things won’t go according to plan.

Unfortunately for Camarda, the misfire gave the Gators the ball in the Bulldogs’ territory with 39 seconds left in the half. Florida marched down the short field and scored to go up 38-21 after 30 minutes of football.

“I’m counting on who I think is the best punter in America to take care of me and hit a bomb down there,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after that game. “He didn’t hit a bomb.”

As soon as the ball left Camarda’s foot, he knew it wasn’t his best punt. Before the ball landed, Camarda turned away with a disappointed look on his face.

“I definitely am not planning for that and trying to do that,” Camarda said Wednesday. “... Is that something that we can have happen? It’s not. That’s on me. I need to work on that to get a lot better in that category of not having that.”

After the Florida game, Camarda went back to what he called “the workshop” to focus on refining his technique. And because Georgia’s game against Missouri, which should’ve been played Saturday, was postponed, Camarda had even more time to get back to his usual form.

He worked on just about everything, but focused on the fine points of technique around catching snaps and dropping the ball. It sounds simple in theory, but an imperfectly dropped ball can be the difference between a punt that pins the opponent inside its 10-yard line and a punt that travels only 20 yards.

“Just fine-turning things like that,” Camarda said. “Just getting back to the simple, little drill work to try to fine-tune my craft.”

It’s no secret that Camarda is an avid golfer, so when talking about how he plans to rebound from the Florida game, a golf analogy naturally came to mind.

“Looking at the Masters this past weekend, Tiger Woods throws a 10 up on a hole,” Camarda. “Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer ever, and he comes back from that. I’m pretty sure it was five of the six last holes he birdied. He came back pretty strong from that.”

Heading into Saturday night’s game against Mississippi State — the Bulldogs’ first game at Sanford Stadium in six weeks — Camarda believes in his ability to bounce back. After all, he has Woods as an inspiration.

“That’s something that I really like to see (and) something that I can move my game towards,” Camarda said. “Something where you come off of something bad, but you can turn it into something really good.”

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