Thank goodness for A.J. Green and Orson Charles

The return of Kris Durham will bolster Georgia's receiving corps. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The return of Kris Durham will bolster Georgia's receiving corps. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Coming out of signing day this week, Mark Richt admitted that Georgia’s lack of depth at wide receiver concerns him, especially after the loss of Da’Rick Rogers to Tennessee left the Dogs with only one incoming freshman receiver this year, Michael Bennett of Alpharetta.

Speaking of his receiving corps, Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald, “We don’t have, at this moment, the number that we would feel comfortable having — and that’s always give or take one or two.” Which pretty much echoes a quote from Mike Bobo last April when it was announced that rising senior receiver Kris Durham would have to take a medical redshirt year because of shoulder surgery.

Despite being thin at receiver last year, Georgia wound up with a pretty decent passing attack, mainly because of A.J. Green. Junior star Green is back this season, of course, for what many think will be his final season playing in Athens, but the Dogs’ second-leading receiver last year, Michael Moore, is gone.

Returning behind Green are what so far has proved to be a middling bunch of wide receivers, with Tavares King the most productive. There’s also Rantavious Wooten, who showed flashes last year but wasn’t consistent; Israel Troupe, who didn’t do much; and the  heavily hyped Marlon Brown, who barely registered on the field in what probably should have been a redshirt season for him but ended up being wasted. It would certainly help if Brown finally started to live up to his potential this year.

On the plus side, the Dogs do get back fifth-year senior Durham, who if he is able to shake off the rust could provide a set of sure hands in possession situations. And, who knows, Logan Gray could even wind up at receiver after the spring quarterback battle shakes out.

Looking ahead a year at Georgia’s receiving corps in 2011, when Green likely will have moved on to the NFL, isn’t a very pleasant prospect right now. But despite the lack of depth I’m not really that worried about the receiving end of the passing attack this season, barring a rash of injuries.

And that’s mainly because the Dogs are well-stocked at tight end, including hybrid Orson Charles, Georgia’s third-leading receiver last year, and Aron White, who was fifth for the year in catches.

“The one thing that I’m excited about and confident about is our tight end position,” Richt told the Banner-Herald. “We’re blessed with four outstanding tight ends; tight ends that certainly are playmakers and we’ve got good solid depth with guys that can really play that position. I think that’s going to a little bit of the burden off the wide receiver corps.”

Like many, I still expect the running game to be the primary focus of Georgia’s attack in 2010, especially early in the year, to take the pressure off whichever inexperienced quarterback ends up starting. But with targets like Green and Charles out there, Bobo and Richt are going to put it in the air a fair amount of the time and should be able to maintain some of the balance that their offense is based on.

I believe the Dogs will be just fine at receiver this year. Beyond that, I’m not so sure. What do you think?

259 comments Add your comment

Theophilus

February 5th, 2010
11:39 am

First? Looking forward to big things from Brown.

otis

February 5th, 2010
11:41 am

first–go dawgs

Gobigdogsgo

February 5th, 2010
11:41 am

Don’t sleep on the dogs, i think this year was a blessing, they will be hungry, the d will not fold up and give up 40+ and the state will still belong to the red and black!

and oh yeah….1ST!

Gobigdogsgo

February 5th, 2010
11:42 am

Without-a-clue

February 5th, 2010
11:47 am

Let’s quit lamenting what we don’t have and and exult in what we do have. If they are conditioned and coached well they will do well. Go Dawgs!

nola dawg

February 5th, 2010
11:48 am

why are you so darn negative Bill… Wooten was a true Fr man, and played really well given it was his first year in the SEC. And maybe its more that M Brown couldn’t get on the field b/c better players where ahead of him, not that he was “disappointing”.

Every article Bill writes is laced with negative comments, it is getting old fast. AJC – do something fast…

Leedawg

February 5th, 2010
11:50 am

Two primary needs for next years class: WR and LB.

arrh

February 5th, 2010
11:52 am

I thought Wooten, Troupe in King played great at teh end of the yr. It’s normally towards the end of the yr. that young players like that start to play better, once they get some experience. When we got hot at the end of the yr. w/ some good quality wins…AJ was on the sideline, & UGA won w/ those other guys without him.

arrh

February 5th, 2010
11:53 am

Sorry, I meant Troupe & T. King…

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 5th, 2010
11:56 am

I am afraid that when Green leaves next year it will be hard to find a go to guy , it might have to be a true freshman that no one has heard of yet
GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!!

Georgia

February 5th, 2010
12:00 pm

King is a true deep threat. The tightends are going to be a much larger part of the offense. Orsen Charles is the real deal and A.White showed great improvement. Behind an experience O-line and 2 experienced backs I expect Murray who will have 2 springs and 2 summer practice years to win the job and be very productive to start the season

Toole

February 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

If we are so thin at receiver then why do we have the following receivers on the roster? Taylor Bradberry, Marquise Brown, Blake Sailors, Craig Sager, Greg Lanier, Rhett McGowan, and Zach Renner. What are they there for? Tackling dummies?

Won't Get Fooled Again.

February 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

Hey nola dawg, the reason Marlon Brown did not play last season was because he could not grasp the playbook or read the defense. He may be gifted physically but this is not high school where you can get by just being stronger and faster.

Looking forward to the halftime as much as the game.

toga

February 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

How can you not have a back up plan???? Another hole shot in the sinking ship that is GA Football.

Words from the master, Saban:

I’m old-fashioned,” Saban said. “I think a commitment is a commitment.

“We tell guys when they commit that we want the recruiting to be over or we really don’t want them to commit. If you’re not really ready to stop recruiting, then you aren’t really ready to commit because committing means you are coming to that school.

“I would rather you go visit other schools until you’re sure that this is what you want to do rather than making a commitment and then not feeling comfortable and wanting to go explore other opportunities.

“There is an old saying, ‘If you’re shopping, then we should shop.’ It shouldn’t be that way, but when guys make commitments and then don’t stick up for them, then you kind of get stuck a little bit because there may be other guys that you didn’t recruit, that you could have recruited, that could have actually taken their place.

“I wish there was a better way, but there is not. We’ll just have to manage it and keep recruiting guys and do the best we can with them.”

Roll Tide

More recruits next year I guess

February 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

We will definitely need some Frost to step up next year, but we will have a solid core of seasoned juniors. If anything, I think our Wideout recruits will be loaded next year with such a good opportunity to contribute early. After all, getting Thornton (DT is thin and young) was more important than getting another wideout.

C-Dawg

February 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

Marlon Brown and Troupe will explode onto the scene this year!

McDawg

February 5th, 2010
12:08 pm

what about those TBs in the slot Dontavious and C. Thomas -i thought our WRs were pretty good last year. T. King really came on and Troupe is a good blcoker

PMC

February 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

It should help that the running game is coming around and the line should be solid.

This is the most talent on the whole that they have had at receiver for as long as I can remember. Everyone of those guys is remarkably capable of contributing.

Georgia’s offense simply wasn’t consistant at all last year. You can’t blame that on receivers.

PMC

February 5th, 2010
12:13 pm

They keep poormouthing receiver depth. Ok. So take care of them in practice. Play the TE’s more. My gosh there are 3 capable TE’s on this team all of which can catch. Stop poormouthing your receivers.

The rest of the SEC East

February 5th, 2010
12:18 pm

toga, yea Saban is so moral and upright: “I am not interested in leaving Miami for Alabama or any other coaching job”. I am laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair!

dawgfan

February 5th, 2010
12:18 pm

I wish Richt would get that concerned about the offensive and defensive lines. That’s where championships are won coach.

robodawg

February 5th, 2010
12:21 pm

Looking to 2011 and beyond, it would’ve been nice to get Da’Rick or Christian Green. But I expect Marlon Brown to step up. And we should be solid at tight end so that definitely helps the passing game. I think we’ll be alright with having people to catch the ball.

How’s our depth on the OL? Seems the last few years we’ve been just one or two injuries away from really struggling when it comes to running the ball and giving the QB time to throw.

BabsTolstoy

February 5th, 2010
12:28 pm

toga, how do Saban’s comments square with his recruitment of Shon Coleman, who had verbally committed to Auburn months ago and reaffirmed that commitment about two weeks before signing day? They don’t. He wants it both ways. Coleman or any recruit can do anything he wants, and no amount of hypocritical brow beating on the part of Saban will ever change that. Saban says “don’t shop,” but his actions say “don’t shop unless it’s with us and then that’s different.” Is he trying to make us think he is some how honorable, or does he believe people are too stupid to catch him in his bs? This is the kind of crap that gets politicians in trouble but usually not deified football coaches, especially ones soon to have their own statue.

Tim

February 5th, 2010
12:33 pm

Barring Injuries, OL should be pretty good the next few years, depth-wise. That is probably the hardest position to project though.

WR is a concern after next year. Someone will HAVE to step up and help AJ out. I’m hoping it’s Marlon. Next year, when AJ is gone, might be rough. We need to pick up some big time prospects in the next recruiting class. Even then, I don’t like having a freshman be our main go to guy. AJ’s only come around every so often, and even he admitted as a freshman he didnt know what was going on….

Mike S

February 5th, 2010
12:34 pm

The Dawgs will be fine. WR is loaded this season. Next season will be easy to recruit top flight WR as they will see the chance for immediate playing time at a top notch program. Bennett might see the field this year, or he might red shirt. Lonnie Outlaw will be coming 2 yrs down the road, and 2 star rating not withstanding the kid is a stud. We lose Durham, and maybe green this season.

I do expect to see Logan Gray at WR by the summer.

BigDawg

February 5th, 2010
12:35 pm

Georgia will be fine.

Orson will be the best TE in the SEC before he graduates and Green is easily the best reciever in college football (yes Techies including little Bebe)

Georgia has one of the best two back tandems in the conference of Ealy and King

An awesome Offensive Line (Even Cox was barely sacked)

all Georgia needs is for one of the QBs to step up and they could have one of the best offenses in the SEC.

Tim

February 5th, 2010
12:35 pm

Defensive line and secondary will also be critical for us next year too, as far as recruiting goes. We are dangerously thin there and we need the players that fit the 3-4 scheme

ga gator

February 5th, 2010
12:35 pm

AJ is the best college receiver I have seen in my years of watching college football and seems to be every bit as good a young man.

Michael Scharff

February 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

I am hoping that we can get a QB installed who can finally master the art of progression of reads. Stafford was fair at it, but Joe Cox was TERRIBLE at going through his progressions. I can’t tell you how many times we sat in the stands (every home game except Kentucky) this past fall and saw him fail to recognize wide open WR’s or TE’s as he “locked-in” on his primary receiver. It doesn’t matter how talented your receiving corps is if YOU CAN’T GET THEM THE BALL!

run the ball

February 5th, 2010
12:45 pm

The only way we will ever win a NC is to be able to consistantly run the ball. Bobo does not establish a POWER RUNNING GAME and tries too many “gimmick” running plays. Line up in the power eye and establish yourself as a grind it out running team. We get killed in “time of possesion” because we are not a smash mouth running team. Also our offense seems to “go to sleep” at times, again because of a inconsistant running attack. Perhaps our o-line underachieves? Run the ball. Find our fullbacks and utilize them.

UGA(g)

February 5th, 2010
12:54 pm

Wow, a “thin” receiving corp of at least 6 guys? Almost all of whom were highly-touted pick-ups out of high school? This is what you complain about? Either shut up or get a real coach to turn these boys to men.

Tim

February 5th, 2010
12:55 pm

Our offense tends to stall out in large part to Bobo’s play calling. He insists too often on being “balanced”, and needs to stay with what’s working. If we’re hot throwing the ball, stay with it. If they can’t stop the run, stay with it. Instead, he tries to hard to get to that 50/50 mark. He also has a tendency to call “trick” plays in bad situations. And for goodness sake, dont give the ball to Branden Smith every single time he’s on the field. Everybody in the stadium knows if he’s in there, he’s getting it. Use him as a decoy from time to time…

TXDawg

February 5th, 2010
12:55 pm

Lee Dawg, you are some kind of expert…I think my 6 year old niece could have figured that out!

merbertmoover

February 5th, 2010
12:55 pm

Marlon Brown will contribute big time next season….guaranteed….he just needed a little time to adjust to the puddin, know what im sayin?

Tim

February 5th, 2010
12:56 pm

UGA(g) – Cool story bro. Unfortunately, this is a UGA blog, find somewhere else to troll.

20 yards and a cloud of whiff

February 5th, 2010
12:57 pm

There have been lots of very strong Georgia teams when the top receiver was not nearly as good as A.J. Green. No need to panic there. And, next year, Georgia needs to run the ball – a lot.

Mark

February 5th, 2010
12:58 pm

Branden Smith can catch some plays at wideout or in the slot to cover up some of those depth issues, but we can’t have anyone go down with injury for any significant time. Charles and White can also play the slot with Figgins and/or Lynch at TE. Not sure who out there in the signing class of 2011, but not many freshmen receivers make a huge impact. I think better recruiting and coaching up front and at linebacker will be the key to competing for championships.

Habersham Dawg

February 5th, 2010
12:58 pm

Tavarres King will be great next year. He is a speed demon and has great hands. He is also a great blocker – that will be key next year. Goooooooo Dawgs!

TXDawg

February 5th, 2010
12:59 pm

Seems like CMR is laying the ground work for next years recruits by saying that he’s not happy with the depth at WR. Once next year’s High School Seniors have a chance to check out what the Dawgs new QB can do, I suspect we’ll bring in several top notch WRs. Also, next year we need to add some OL’s. It wasn’t too long ago that our cupboard was bare in this area.

run the ball

February 5th, 2010
1:01 pm

20 yards: not just next year every year. Become known as smashmouth U and the wins and recruits will follow.

BIG UGLIES WIN GAMES!!!

February 5th, 2010
1:06 pm

It doesnt matter, Bobo cant get them the ball even if we did have more WR’S.

CHDawg

February 5th, 2010
1:11 pm

I think Coach and Bill have this one completely wrong: this looks like the best receiving corps UGA has ever had to me. Most 18 year olds don’t make the transition immediately from HS. Wooten and Brown were getting up to speed and have great potential. Troupe looks a lot better than he is given credit for, and King dropped a few he should have caught, but showed flashes of brilliance. The overall picture is strong. Assuming we have a good QB step up, we should have a great passing year. Finally, remember how young these guys are, and remember how much Mo Mass improved in his career. Most players don’t start out like Green did. I just hope the Coaching staff sees the potential.

rob

February 5th, 2010
1:12 pm

I guess the glass is always half full.

Some honest journalism would be appreciated.

Thin at receiver?

February 5th, 2010
1:13 pm

I believe you are all missing the proverbial “forest because of the trees” – none of this really matters if we do not have a QB who can play……..

Saint Simons is my Caddy

February 5th, 2010
1:14 pm

Da’Rick Rodgers can’t pass high school.Would I say that if he were coming to UGA???? Nope but I would sure as hell be concerned!

jaxdawg

February 5th, 2010
1:15 pm

Don’t forget Branden Smith will play wide recever as well! Kid’s gonna be a stud…

Joe

February 5th, 2010
1:21 pm

How about a two tight end set as Georgia’s primary formation? It boils down to who is more productive receiving and blocking: Aron White or Tavarres King. Orson Charles would have a HUGE year. And the Dawgs would run this state! I would love to cram it down the other guy’s throat. And with a freshman QB, they may need to. Richt and Bobo have 6 months to scheme it.

Fair and Balanced

February 5th, 2010
1:21 pm

If the OL is any good at all, the running game will open up passing and with good TE’s we should be fine. Might take a few minutes to get down the field, but that is good too. It won’t be bad to have a little of the old V Dooley type football at UGA next year. Lets run the ball some, wear out some defenses and with an improved defense of our own plus a MUCH weaker schedule than this year – we should be in the hunt for the East. THEN the recruiting opens up better for 2011. GA has good players – they just need to be coached up and when they are we will get a lot of W’s. BUT any less than 10 total wins next year will be more than disappointing. If Murray is good (and coached up) – we are in good shape for 2011. The conference will boil back down to Bama and GA like the 60’s – 80’s. But if the offense flounders and has all those turnovers again – GA is shopping for an OC. I think however, that this next season holds much promise in every area and should be an exciting season.

ugaaccountant

February 5th, 2010
1:22 pm

We do need to recruit WR hard next year losing AJ and Durham, but our 2010 set of receivers is quite good. T. King and R. Wooten are both ready to replace the kind of production we got out of M. Moore. I think Durham can resume the slot receiver role he did so well a few years back. So I’m not even counting on M. Brown at all, and he could easily wind up being a #2 receiver.

Scrub

February 5th, 2010
1:24 pm

Gosh-a-Moses, what a bunch of Chicken Littles! The sky is falling, we have no receivers. Georgia has a fine young stable of talent to catch the ball next year. We are better off than many teams in the SEC. We are better off than many past Bulldog squads. Who were the receivers who bracketed Hines Ward, or Fred Gibson, or Freddy Lane? A bunch of scrubs, that’s who, and we won plenty. The only real “stud corps” we ever had was the Garrison Hearst/Eric Zeier crew with Hastings and Hunter and that bunch. Right now, we’re thin at coach. We’re thin at discipline, that’s where we’re thin at! Sheesh!