ATHENS — Georgia got plenty of chances to kick off in a rout of Central Michigan, and coach Mark Richt didn't like what he saw.
Freshman Blair Walsh reached the end zone only once, knocked another out of bounds and generally allowed the Chippewas to begin their drives with good field position.
Central Michigan's average starting spot after Walsh's nine kickoffs was the 33-yard line. Georgia got away with that against an overmatched team, but Richt knows Blair — or someone else — will have to do better in the tougher games to come.
"He's not real consistent with the kickoffs," Richt said after a 56-17 rout of the Chippewas. "He kicked one out of bounds, and that gives the other team the ball at the 40. He didn't always kick it where he's supposed to, and they ran it back out past the 30 and 40. Some of it was the coverage, but a lot of it was hang time. You've got to give guys a chance to get down in coverage."
Central Michigan's worst field position after a kickoff was its own 22. Six out of nine times, they started beyond the 30.
Jamie Lindley, a walk-on from Savannah, is next in line to handle the kickoff duties.
"He's kicked well in practice," Richt said. "We may go with him."
The coach also was concerned about another rash of penalties. The Bulldogs were flagged nine times for 70 yards, right in line with the 11 penalties for 70 yards they had in a season-opening win over Georgia Southern.
"That's probably the number one issue with me right now," Richt said. "It's going to happen once in a while, but we've got to be more disciplined."
The most damaging penalty was a 15-yarder on Asher Allen after he ripped off his helmet to celebrate Demarcus Dobbs' 78-yard interception return for a touchdown. Central Michigan returned the ensuing kickoff to the Georgia 40 and quickly went down to score a TD of its own.
"That's so out of character for him," Richt said of Allen. "He was real apologetic afterward."
Remembering No. 95
Jeff Owens watched the game from the sideline, but his presence was felt on the field.
The defensive tackle tore up a knee in the opener against Georgia Southern and is done for the season. Teammate Corvey Irvin donned Owens' uniform number, 95, to honor one of the team's most popular players.
"I wanted to wear it for Jeff," Irvin said. "He's like a brother to me. I love that guy. It was real special to wear his number."
While Owens is a senior, he'll likely ask for a medical redshirt and return to the Bulldogs in 2009.
Caleb King had gone nearly two years since his last touchdown. He finally made it back to the end zone against Central Michigan.
The redshirt freshman scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead. He had no trouble remembering the last time he scored.
"The sixth game of my senior year of high school," he said. "It felt good to get that chip off my shoulder. Now I'm ready to get some more."
King sustained a broken bone in his leg as a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian, then sat out his first season with the Bulldogs because the team already had plenty of depth at running back.
King wasn't the only Georgia player getting his first college TD. True freshman Richard Samuel scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Freshman A.J. Green, who began the game at flanker, was one of four first-time starters for the Bulldogs.
He was joined by three sophomores: fullback Shaun Chapas, defensive end Demarcus Dobbs and linebacker Darryl Gamble.
Georgia produced the highest-scoring home game of the Mark Richt era, trailing only a 62-17 win at Kentucky in 2004. ... WR Mohamed Massaquoi had the first two-touchdown game of his career, hauling in scoring passes of 3 and 54 yards. ... Georgia's 99-yard scoring drive was its longest since a 99-yarder against Arkansas State in 2001. ... WR Kenneth Harris sat out the game with an injured right ankle. ... LB Rennie Curran led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles. ... Georgia improved to 32-2 in non-conference games under Richt, including 22-0 at home.