ATHENS – As for A.J. Green fans, there are none bigger than Georgia’s Rantavious Wooten. The junior wide receiver from Belle Glade, Fla., spent two seasons getting to know Green up close and personal and witnessing his daily feats in games and on Woodruff Practice Fields.
That said, Wooten doesn’t feel the wide receiver position is suddenly the weak link of the Bulldogs’ football team. He has heard it described that way and doesn’t much care for it.
“The whole receiving corps takes that personally,” Wooten said. “Of course, A.J. and Kris Durham came here and made plays. But as a group of receivers, we all can make plays. Actually I think we have more depth this year than we did last year and I think we made big strides in this camp. We’re going to show the Bulldog Nation what we can do and we’re going to show everybody we can get it done without A.J.”
Wooten has been one of reasons for optimism. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster from Belle Glade, Fla., is showing the same type of form he did as a freshman when he caught 10 passes and scored two touchdowns.
Wooten played in 12 games and started three that first season. But he actually got on the field less as a sophomore and finished with 7 catches for 41 yards and one touchdown.
“It was disappointing for me and I took it to heart,” Wooten said. ” I took it personally. I came out this year and I knew what I had to do and I knew what the coaches expected from me. I just need to be consistent. I’m trying to show them that I can be consistent and they can depend on me.”
He’s apparently getting his message across. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Wooten is position to be among the Bulldogs’ first three receivers behind Tavarres King and Marlon Brown. He’s being pushed by Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell.
“Rantavious has had a very good preseason,” Bobo said. “Coach [Tony] Ball challenged him. He had to be more consistent. He had shown flashes of making plays but hadn’t been consistent. He’s being more consistent now and has had a great camp.”
Big John goes down
The Bulldogs got a big scare Friday when nose guard John Jenkins had to be helped off the field during the full-contact practice. But it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Jenkins suffered what was described as a “mild hamstring pull,” according to Ron Courson, UGA’s director of sports medicine. Jenkins’ recovery time was called “day-to-day” but Georgia has said in the past the injuries generally take seven to 10 days to heal.
Jenkins is a 6-foot-4, 350-pound junior college All-American who transferred to Georgia from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He was expected to step in as the starting nose guard but thus far has been unable to unseat 6-6, 350-pound sophomore Kwame Geathers.
Crowell, Samuel back on field
The Bulldogs got a welcomed sight with tailbacks Isaiah Crowell and Richard Samuel back on Woodruff Practice Fields on Friday. Crowell has been out a week with the groin pull while Samuel was sidelined with an quad strain since last Saturday. Both players remained in green jerseys, signifying their non-contact status. Crowell was able to participate throughout the entire practice while Samuel said out for the teamwork and scrimmage portions.
Asked if the duo would be ready if there was a game this weekend, running backs coach Bryan McClendon said, “oh, definitely.
“Isaiah got to do everything we did out there today,” he said “Richard, we’re having to slow him down a little bit. But he’s doing great. He got to do all the individual work. He got to do everything except for contact stuff. Both of those guys are doing great and healing up well.”
Bobo said Brandon Harton and Ken Malcome have been working first team in the meantime.
Dogs plan to ‘Spread the Red’
Can’t make it to Athens for Fans Picture Day and the big unveiling of Georgia’s Nike Pro Combat uniforms? Have no fear because UGA is providing a sneak preview via Facebook.
According to UGA promotions director Emily Deitz, pictures of the Bulldogs in the new uniforms they’ll wear against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will be posted at www.facebook.com/georgiabulldogs at noon on Saturday. The real live Bulldogs won’t appear in the actual uniforms until 3 p.m. during Picture Day at Sanford Stadium.
Deitz, in an interview with Chuck Dowdle on 680 The Fan, provided a hint as to what the uniforms might look.
“I would definitely plan on wearing a lot of red that day,” she said of the Sept. 3rd game in the Georgia Dome. “A lot of red.”
Etc. . . .
Redshirt sophomore Dallas Lee is currently running second team at both left and right guard and center. Line coach Will Friend has been extremely impressed with the Buford High grad. . . . Offensive lineman Austin Long has returned to practice and his fully participating after missing two weeks with mononucleosis. . . . Receiver Israel Troupe is sidelined with a groin injury. . . . Secondary coach Scott Lakatos said safety Bacarri Rambo is still running with the first team. . . . Freshman outside linebacker Ray Drew is still out with a separated shoulder. . . . Defensive back Nick Marshall is back from a hamstring injury.