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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