Replacing A.J. Green a major challenge for 2011 Dogs

The pressure is on Georgia's receiving corps to step up in the wake of A.J. Green's departure. (AJC file)

The pressure is on Georgia's receiving corps to step up in the wake of A.J. Green's departure. (AJC file)

I mentioned yesterday all the worrying that college football fans do during August preseason practices and all the questions that surround the Georgia Bulldogs as they approach the season-opener with Boise State.

Most of the fan worrying I’ve heard recently has centered on the offense and I think that’s on the mark, so let’s put aside for now former hard-hitting Dawg Thomas Davis lamenting how “soft” last year’s defense was.

As for the offensive fretting, much of it has centered on the patchwork, thin offensive line and the inexperience at running back.

But as I noted yesterday, replacing the offensive production of A.J. Green and Kris Durham at flanker and split end is going to be a major challenge. The success Georgia has doing that will have a lot to say about whether Aaron Murray has to go through a sophomore slump or not.

Along those lines, we’ve all been heartened by recent comments about incoming freshman receiver Malcolm Mitchell and how impressed the veteran players have been with him during summer workouts. Let’s hope their comparisons between Mitchell and the departed Green aren’t just your typical off-season talk.

Mitchell is expected to be a backup to Marlon Brown at split end and also to train at flanker, where Tavarres King will start. Receivers coach Tony Ball told The Athens Banner-Herald he hopes the youngster will light a fire under Brown, who so far has failed to live up to expectations. “Competition makes everyone better,” Ball said, adding of Brown: “He’s got to get better. He’s got to push himself fundamentally. If he does that, he’ll take that next step.”

As for Mitchell, I was really encouraged by something Murray had to say about him in The Red & Black. “The thing I like about him most is he works harder than anyone,” the quarterback said. “Every day after pass drills he’ll get with me and we’ll work on routes a half-hour or 45 minutes. That’s every day.”

Ball said of Mitchell: “We don’t know how quickly someone will come into their own and perform the way you hope they will or the way you saw them perform in high school. But what I will say is that I’m really impressed with his maturity, his intelligence and his ability to communicate.”

Of course, another positive aspect of the passing game that Dogs fans can latch on to while we’re worrying is having Orson Charles as a sort of hybrid tight end/wide receiver.

“Orson already thinks he’s a receiver and that’s how we use him,” Ball said. “He won’t be in our meetings though, but he will still be a big part of our offense.”

Georgia fans definitely will miss Green and Durham. But perhaps not for too long.

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242 comments Add your comment

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
10:52 am

KingDawg

August 3rd, 2011
11:00 am

Talent + hard work always beats out Talent – - – - are you listening MB ??

42-34 Dawgs All Year Long

August 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

Great article Bill. I have faith that TKUnoDos, Marlon and Malcolm will step it up.

Is there an easy replacement for AJ Green? No, but have you seen tech replace Calvin “2-Catch” Johnson? No!

Troll Power Ratings

August 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

Trolls in 3…2….1

Come on trolls, get with the program!

JB

August 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

Waiting on tide roll to tell us about out line woe’s. But, as far as WR, somebody will step up. maybe more than one………….And by the way tide roll, I believe all our wideouts are black.

JYD

August 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:05 am

The whole AJ Green effect has been blown out of proportion. Yes, the team scored 7 more points per game with AJ Green than the games without him. But consider 3 out of the 4 games AJ missed were against top 25 ranked teams SC, Ark, Miss St. The win total, with AJ, without AJ, was the same against ranked teams, 0 wins without AJ, 0 wins with AJ. AJ was a non-factor in the Bowl game.

Tavarres King plays big in big games. His touchodwns ALL came in big games. So I suspect King will OUTSHINE AJ, he did last year, averaging more yards per catch than AJ. Malcolm Mitchell should replace Durham’s numbers. Charles is a non-factor, he’s good for 2 td’s a year and 26 catches a season, and shrinks in games against ranked teams (0 td’s). Charles also has a 54% catch rate, while Aron White has an 80% catch. I’d like to see Aron White take over at TE, Charles has too many drops and isn’t a producer or big game TE. Branden Smith should get reps in case of injury to King or Mitchell. Wooten had a terrible year with Murray, but had a nice catch average in 2009 with Joe Cox. Brown & Troupe are washouts.

Crush

August 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

Patchwork O Line, No experience at RB, and loses of your two best WR. Yeah, UGA fans should really be optimistic about this season.

it all starts on the line

August 3rd, 2011
11:11 am

without an offensive line, it don’t matter who is playing at the skill positions.
Mark Richt hasn’t learned this lesson in 10 years….

UGA Insider

August 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

Because CMR believes in giving players a starting position based on seniority. Marlon Brown will start. However, Malcolm Mitchell should be on the field as much as possible! He is going to shatter all of the receiving records. CMR had better not fool around with this…He better put his play makers on the field. I will be watching this situation closely.

DawginLex

August 3rd, 2011
11:13 am

That must have been a mirage i saw last year in the Florida game when Tavarres King caught that long TD pass.

I am not worried about losing AJ. We got to the point where that is all we looked for. This will give other players a chance to excel.

Michael Johnson
Fred Gibson
Terrence Edwards

Tavarres king
Marlon Brown
Malcolm mitchell

See much difference? I don’t.

The question is can the 2011 defense play like the 2002 defense?

If so we win a bunch of games. If not, get the coaching replacement list ready.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:15 am

Due to the attrition on the o-line, the dogs are gonna need the tight end to block more than normal, taking away looks for Charles in the passing game.

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:15 am

Wooten dropped form a whopping 20 yards a catch with Joe Cox to under 6 yards a catch with Murray. It’d be interesting to see how Wooten did with Mason or Lemay.

JDawg1785

August 3rd, 2011
11:17 am

Nobody can replace a player like Green, but there are still plenty of weapons in Georgia’s receiving corps. If the Dawgs can get it going in the running game, they’ll be fine on the offensive side of the ball this season.

maconbulldog

August 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

Another doom and gloom post. Why even play the game this year? Lets just write a letter to CMR and tell him to sit the entire team until 2012 ( sarcasm )

DawginLex

August 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

nothing could be finer

The first team OL is just as good as SC’s. Depth is the only issue. stay healthy and this offense will be fine.

You keep crowing about us starting 1-1. What if Richt beats spurrier again? He is 4-2 against him and has been a part of numerous wins over SOS at FSU. What then?

Does he punt Garcia?
How upset would he be then?

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

Troupe dropped from 22 yards per catch under Joe Cox to under 9 yards per catch under Murray. It would be interesting to see how Troupe does with Mason or Lemay.

DawginLex

August 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

Give it up Jack

Frank Lane

August 3rd, 2011
11:21 am

NOT WORRIED ON THIS FRONT

anotherdawg

August 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

I’m hoping this leads to a more balanced attack. When you have a talent like AJ, you tend to overuse him. Biggest negative is other teams won’t have to double team like they did AJ last year. But, if the OL can stay healthy, and we mix up the run and pass properly, UGA has enough talent to be a good team. Hope we can start well.

Athens= God's Country

August 3rd, 2011
11:25 am

Wide Receiver is the most overrated position in all of Football.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

“Biggest negative is other teams won’t have to double team like they did AJ last year.”
-anotherdawg
———————————————
Exactly.
Which puts more pressure on that freshman running back.
Better hope he lives up to all the hype.

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

Don’t forget about Michael Bennett. Could be a Durham like presence. Teammates say he makes plays again and again. Like to see King–Bennett–Mitchell–White at TE.

Vance Duly

August 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

The only reason Troupe had a high yds per catch average with Joe Cox at QB was Coach Bobo calling a deep pass to AJ against Auburn. Bobo didn’t know that AJ had left the field after the previous play due to an injury. Fortunately for the Dawgs, Troupe caught AJ’s pass and scored on the play, starting our comeback victory. There’s nothing to blame Murray for here!! What nonsense!

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

Hutson Mason connected with Aron White on G-Day for the longest pass of the game. Amazing how Mason had the timing down better than Murray with White.

Tossed Salad

August 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

LMAO at Jackleg. What a tool.

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:38 am

Cox looked great with Wooten, wonder how Lemay or Masn would do, Murray couldn’t connect wiht Wooten.

Wooten-Cox TD:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG2tPA0wBzM

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:39 am

Talent + Hard Work – OLine = Waste

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:40 am

Troupe dropped from 22 yards with Joe Cox to 9 with Murray. Love to see what a guy like Mason or Lemay could do with Troupe.

Cox-Troupe 50 yard td pass against Auburn:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKQqR1sDQ0w&feature=related

how2fish

August 3rd, 2011
11:41 am

Interesting point you Murray bashers might want to take note of . Murray’s comments on how hard Mitchell is working and how he stays for extra work every day with him after each session…I would like to point out that I think that makes Mitchell a hard a worker as but Murray is working at least that hard …Murray is a leader and baring injury I think he will have a heck of a year.

DawginLex

August 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

Hey Jack

I saw Hutson Mason toss a pass to the watergirl on the sidelines. she made a great catch. Maybe we should put her in

JDawg1785

August 3rd, 2011
11:44 am

Garcia + drunken coach / bottle of booze = Fulmer Cup

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:46 am

The dogs could really have used Da’Rick Rogers this year.
By dissing Ga on NSD a few years back, they never really got that good WR that could replace A.J.

Troll Power Ratings

August 3rd, 2011
11:47 am

Jack, meds man, meds….

Alphare

August 3rd, 2011
11:47 am

If I am dawg fan, my biggest concern will be Murray.

The guy couldn’t throw a single touchdown against the 4th best team in Florida. Now, SEC teams all know him better with better defense. How many TD’s can he throw in the upcoming season?

Herschel Talker

August 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

Jack:

You are a fool and a clown. Get real, genius.

HT

St. Richt

August 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

If this storyline doesn’t deserve a “no s–t sherlock”, then I don’t know what does.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

Murray should be a concern, Alphare. He did just fine against teams like Idaho St. but against better competition, not so much.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 3rd, 2011
11:55 am

While we’re at it, replacing Chapas will be a major challenge as well.

That freshman running back could really use him.

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:58 am

Players under Mason do special things. This amazing catch made ESPN. Mason threw it. And yes, Mason’s tight end went on to excel at Auburn, caught 3x more td’s than Charles last year.

Mason to Philip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-uRprYs_k4&feature=related

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
11:59 am

Teams are going to double King like they doubled AJ last year, not guard Charles (Georgia only throws him 2 passes a game), and stack 8 in the box to stop the run. Worked last year.

Hankie Aron

August 3rd, 2011
12:02 pm

Nothing- He was a FRESHMAN. You did see his overall number right? They were better than MATTHEW STAFFORD. Come on man, get real

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

August 3rd, 2011
12:03 pm

To me, this is a bit like after 2004. We lost Fred Gibson and Ronnie Brown, and everyone lamented the state of our receivers. Turns out that our experienced tight end (Leonard Pope) stepped up and had a helluva year in ‘05, and a true freshman named Massaquoi (spelling?) came in and added some extra dimension. That team also had a helluva QB.

They also started the year against a highly-ranked Boise State squad. Is anyone else seeing the similarities here?

As I’m sure I’ve said in other threads, I think UGA wins the East this year, if not the SEC title. Call me what you will, but I’ve got a good feeling about this team.

Go Dawgs!

Hankie Aron

August 3rd, 2011
12:03 pm

His overall number were the best EVER at UGA. You guys (Nothing and Jack) are the greatest nit pickers I have seen. Do you pick for free?

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

August 3rd, 2011
12:04 pm

And if anyone else needs further assurance, Richt’s two best years (’02 and ‘07) came with Sophmore QBs.

‘Nuff said.

RabidDawgFan

August 3rd, 2011
12:04 pm

For all the Murray bashers look at his stats and his highlights. That says enough.

As for Green, he WILL NOT be missed. He never won us anything. He used Georgia. That’s all he did. He wasn’t a team player at all. We will be just fine with the guys that we have, I’m telling you. Don’t look on paper and say we don’t have a dynamic receiver, you never know who’ll step up.

Hankie Aron

August 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

Sam- To be fair, that 2005 Boise team is not the same as this team. Kellen Moore is twice the QB that the Z-man Jared Zabransky was.

Nub

August 3rd, 2011
12:06 pm

AJ who? How many Championships did he have…..? For that matter you could ask the same question with Stafford and Moreno…. Just call it like you see it the program has been in decline for yrs ….

RabidDawgFan

August 3rd, 2011
12:07 pm

Jack, go ahead and make the mistake of not guarding Charles if you want to. Name me a better TE in the SEC than Charles. Thought so. Tell you what Jack, I want you to line up against Charles and let’s see how productive you are.

Oh and as for you saying he doesn’t play big in big games, one of his biggest games was against the Gators last season. 6 catches, 108 yards and a TD. Get it together

Jack

August 3rd, 2011
12:08 pm

AJ & Durham could catch anything within range. Still, with both NFL receivers, Murray only ranked 11th out of 12 SEC QB’s in accuracy against winning teams. I am sure teams will try and force Murray to be accurate to beat them. Why not, he’s the least accurate QB in the SEC in big games.

http://www.cfbstats.com/2010/leader/911/player/split09/category02/sort03.html