April 5, 2012

Enough weapons at WR?



With Malcolm Mitchell now toiling on the other side of the line of scrimmage, one of the more popular questions revolving around spring practice for the Bulldogs now includes the position that was once his full-time home.

Do the Bulldogs have enough weapons at wide receiver to make the same type of impact last fall when Mitchell played such a large role in Georgia's passing success?

Senior Tavarres King certainly thinks so.

The veteran of Georgia's receiving corps, King is coming off an Outback Bowl, where he set a Bulldog single-game mark of 205 yards.

Although most assume that King - who led the Bulldogs in receiving with 47 catches for 705 yards and eight touchdowns - will be a key figure once again, the veteran said he's not feeling any extra pressure to be "the guy" just because his buddy Mitchell is now spending more time at cornerback.

"There's no need for it," King said. "I feel I am that guy, but we've got four or five guys who can make plays, we saw that last year with Michael Bennett, Chris Conley and Marlon Brown. Hopefully, (Mitchell) will be back on our side of the ball. We've got weapons."

But will the Bulldogs' deep game suffer?

Mitchell had a knack for big plays, catching 45 passes for 665 yards and four scores despite playing in just 11 of Georgia's 14 contests.

Bennett - who caught 32 balls for 320 yards and five touchdowns - doesn't believe that will be the case.

"I feel we all have deep-ball potential. I feel we're all very well-rounded receivers," he said. "I don't think any of us are good in just one aspect, I feel we can do a lot of things well."

King agrees.

"We feel we've got the talent and the speed to get the job done. We run a very pro-style offense where anybody can get the ball at any time," he said. "If Malcolm was in my position or me in his, we'd feel any one of us could make the play."

Actually, Georgia's receiving unit could be even deeper than that of a year ago.

Junior Rantavious Wooten is back after a medical redshirt season due to a concussion, while former walk-ons Taylor Bradberry (1-13) and Rhett McGowan (7-84) are now trusted targets, while redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley continues to show the kind of progress that has teammates thinking he'll be a noticeable impact come fall.

Also, come fall, former Martin Luther King standout [dn]Blake Tibbs[/db] joins the mix.

Now, if they can just stay healthy.

Conley won't face any contact while recovering from off-season wrist surgery, while Wooten has been sidelined for the past week nursing a sore hamstring. Brown, meanwhile, has been slowed by a number of different bumps and bruises.

They're each expected to be healthy by fall.

"We've got a few guys hurt, but I think Justin Scott-Wesley is really coming along pretty good. He redshirted last year, but I feel like he's doing very well right now. I feel like Marlon Brown is showing a lot of leadership, same with TK (King)," Bennett said. "As a group we're hurting, we've got guys like Wooten and Marlon been hurting, nicks here and there, but we're doing pretty good as a group."

Of the veterans, Brown's name continues to be bandied about in a positive light as well.

Highly-touted when he arrived out of Harding Academy in Memphis four years ago, the 6-foot-5, 222-pounder hasn't quite posted the numbers many expected.

Last year, Brown caught a career-best 15 passes for 234 yards, but with just this season remaining, King believes his buddy is finally ready to take that step.

"He wants to be the best; he wants to be the best at his craft. When I see him do things out there it pushes me," King said. "We tell each other when we're doing something wrong and when we're doing something right. He's really come a long way as a receiver."

But why will this year be different than past seasons?As for King, he's hoping to make his last year in Athens a memorable one.

"They always say they only remember your last one, and this is my last go-around. I'm excited about the opportunity I have, but I personally have to continue to progress," he said. "I always talk about it, but to play this position, you have to be consistent."

His effort in the Outback Bowl showed what his potential can be.

"I know that I'm a good receiver. I know that I've got the talent to get the job done and the Outback Bowl pushed it over the top," he said. "When I saw it in a game situation, it showed me what I already knew."