Mitchell finds meeting room more challenging than field in DB transition

ATHENS – This is not the first time Malcolm Mitchell made a dramatic preseason switch of positions. When Rance Gillespie showed up as the new coach at Valdosta High, one of his first moves was to move Mitchell from cornerback and make him a full-time wide receiver.

Two years later, Mitchell is making a similar move, only this time it’s with the Georgia Bulldogs and it’s from offense to defense.

“We went backwards with it,” said Gillespie, who wanted to feature Mitchell in his new spread offensive attack at Valdosta. “I felt like he was probably an offensive player. Having to learn an entire new offense, we concentrated with him on the offensive side of the ball. Once he got that down, we did move him back over to defense later in the year. Maybe the sixth or seventh game, we started spot-playing him on defense and as we got deeper into the season he played more and more both ways.”

Gillespie’s move proved genius. Mitchell nearly matched the state record for receiving yards in a season with 1,419.

The Bulldogs hope that formula works in inverse this fall. Mitchell was arguably Georgia’s most explosive wide receiver as a true freshman. He made the majority of his 45 catches for 665 yards before a mid-season hamstring injury sidelined him for four games.

But because of attrition and suspensions in the secondary — starting corners Sanders Commings and Branden Smith will have to sit out some early-season games — the Bulldogs have moved Mitchell to cornerback for spring practice. He’s expected to play on that side of the ball for at least for the first couple of games next season.

“In order for Malcolm to really be able to function back there, I felt like he needed the entire spring to really know what to do and get his technique to where he could really play SEC football when the season begins,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “In the offseason my guess is that he will be running routes half the time and playing defense half the time. But if you tried to split practice and split meetings in the spring, he’d get lost.”

Wednesday represented Day 2 of the Great Experiment.

“It is [like high school], but it’s more intense by like 10,” Mitchell said afterward. “The schemes that Coach [Todd] Grantham uses, the tempo, it’s just a lot more difficult. In high school guys didn’t have the same ability that I had. So I could run out there and play around and still do good on defense. Same way on offense. Now I have to actually learn everything and get it down.”

Actually learning the defense has been a sobering experience for Mitchell.

“Just coming in here these first couple of days has opened my eyes to how much work is going to have to be put into it to doing what I want to do,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell described his first experience in the defensive team meeting as “terrible.”

“I didn’t know what they were saying,” he said with a laugh. “It sounded like a different language. They were using words I’ve never heard before.”

And therein lay the challenge for Mitchell. He’s extremely athletic, agile and fast. No one doubts his physical ability to do what is required. But understanding the complex coverages and terminology of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme is where the difficulty is.

“Right now we’re just trying to fill him up with as much information as we can,” senior safety Shawn Williams said. “He’s a young guy and we’ve got to bring him along.”

Said Mitchell: “I don’t know what they’re talking about half the time, but all the guys help me. I’m working with the 2s right now and Connor [Norman] is telling me everything. He makes sure I know what to do.”

Mitchell has already wowed his teammates with a one-handed, over-the-shoulder grab in a drill on defending a fade route. And when the task is to simply line up and cover the guy on the other side of the line, he’s almost unbeatable.

“26 looks tremendous to me,” sophomore cornerback Damian Swann said, referring to Mitchell’s jersey number. “It’s like he hasn’t missed a beat.”

How much he plays each side of the ball in the fall, Mitchell said he’s neither thinking nor worrying about it right now. And Gillespie said that’s just the tact his former pupil should be taking.

“I don’t think there’s any question he has the physical tools to play on defense and he’s already proven he can play offensive side of the ball at that level,” Gillespie said. “It’s a matter of how quick he can pick up on all the different coverage schemes that are being installed. But I totally understand what Georgia is doing and Malcolm does, too. Just the type of kid he is, Malcolm is always going to do what’s best for the team.”

NOTES: Senior cornerback Sanders Commings pleaded guilty Wednesday to simple battery and disorderly conduct in Athens-Clarke County State Court. He was fined $200, sentenced to 12 months probation, 40 hours of community service, drug and alcohol evaluation and anger management. The charges stemmed from a Jan. 21 incident in which he was accused of striking an ex-girlfriend. A starting cornerback for the Bulldogs, he has been suspended for Georgia’s first two games of the season. . . .  Sophomore linebacker Ramik Wilson missed his second day of practice. His father passed away this past week. Wilson is scheduled to return Thursday. . . . Players received their SEC East championship rings on Wednesday.

139 comments Add your comment

Niceville Dawg

March 21st, 2012
9:06 pm

Nice read…Go Dawgs


March 21st, 2012
9:08 pm


March 21st, 2012
9:18 pm

This kid will go down as one of the best dawgs ever! Book It!

bitter dawgs fan

March 21st, 2012
9:20 pm

First cummins screwed up and opened the door like a person so dumb, pertending to be a guy—

—————-mitchell is like the cummin (no pun)–of jesus————for 30 years we dawg fans have

——-been waiting for the cummin of —-#34 H,WALKER—-we have been waiting for a majical

running back—-but god sent us a neon dion sanders and a hines ward made into one super man

————————————malcom mitchell will be a highlight machine

——————-all bamma fans can think about bthe greatest georgia football player they lost out on

—————————–hahahahahahah—trailer tramps


March 21st, 2012
9:21 pm

We truly have one of the best groups of kids on this team than I can remember in a long time. I am thoroughly excited to see their progress at G-Day and this fall!

Dawg gone it

March 21st, 2012
9:21 pm

Love this guy.

Ole Big Dawg

March 21st, 2012
9:28 pm

Gotta feeling we have a DGD here!


March 21st, 2012
9:29 pm

Our state is so pathetic that we send 100,000 people to a spring game. The sad thing is, we’re actually proud to call ourselves alabamians even though the rest of the country laughs at us and calls us “backwards.” We’re so racist and inbred that I heard Obama is going to build a wall around the state to separate us from the rest of the world, which will hurt recruiting


March 21st, 2012
9:29 pm

U can do it!


March 21st, 2012
9:31 pm

Mitchell is a DGGD! Let’s GATA!


March 21st, 2012
9:33 pm

It’s nice to see Malcolm fitting in so well! Being from LaGrange, we had to face Valdosta on numerous occasions and I mean to say they always put fear in our eyes. Valdosta has always been recognized as the best of the best! Even though I am from a rival school, I have the utmost respect for the Wildcats and UGA has something special in Malcolm Mitchell!! GO DAWGS!!


March 21st, 2012
9:35 pm

I love football so much that, at times, I will place my balls on other men’s faces. This is most enjoyable at fast food restaurants.


March 21st, 2012
9:38 pm

GO DAWGS! Mitchell is one hell of a football player.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

March 21st, 2012
9:40 pm

Prayers sent to Ramik and his family.

bitter dawgs fan

March 21st, 2012
9:46 pm

what happened to—-ray—mike————————–????prayers


March 21st, 2012
9:49 pm

I think he might be Champ Bailey 14 years later.


March 21st, 2012
9:54 pm

Any word on the possibility of Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders returning. Ill much rather see Mitchell full time at WR.

bitter dawgs fan

March 21st, 2012
9:56 pm

Could never see mitchell wearing blue jean cut offs and a wife beater t-shirt

thats why mitchell the best football player in the 2010 collage football class

————–did not chose bamma——moonpies

bitter dawgs fan

March 21st, 2012
9:59 pm

@gtdawg—first what does that mean???thats like cross dressing fool

—————-sanders and marshall screwed up—–they forgot it is a privlage to wear

==================================== ===RED AND BLACK


March 21st, 2012
10:05 pm

@Bitter, if you couldn’t answer the question why didn’t you just STHU? I AIN’T here for that..

Delbert D.

March 21st, 2012
10:08 pm

I would think that Georgia’s most explosive player is going to see significant action at WR as well.

Big Wally Butts

March 21st, 2012
10:40 pm

GtDawg/bitter…Not worth commenting on.

MM is a really talented guy with a great attitude. Wish we had more like him. GATA.


March 21st, 2012
10:58 pm

Do any of the Georgia fans troll the Vanderbilt blogs?

Why in the heck do Alabama fans troll the Georgia blogs?

I’m worried about the Missouri game. Seems the Dawgs will putting a patchwork D out there. This team leans heavily on the D to overcome the offensive issues (whether playcalling or Aaron Murray/RB by committee).

I’m hoping Swann and Mitchell can come up with come big plays early on and put some heat on Commings and Smith to think team instead of themselves.

Rick James

March 21st, 2012
11:04 pm


Any word on the possibility of Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders returning. Ill much rather see Mitchell full time at WR.
Marshall is enrolled in a junior college and CMR has indicated that he might be back in 2013.I dont think Sanders is wanted back.

Rick James

March 21st, 2012
11:08 pm


I’m worried about the Missouri game. Seems the Dawgs will putting a patchwork D out there. This team leans heavily on the D to overcome the offensive issues (whether playcalling or Aaron Murray/RB by committee).
The Missouri game concerns me too because its their first SEC game,its at home and they’re pass happy.But they have no defense so it might be a high scoring game.This one concerns more me than South Carolina.

Tide Pride

March 21st, 2012
11:11 pm

Admire that he is unselfish and get’s it – it is about team.

He would have been light years ahead if he had gone to Bama – as well as played for NT’s.

Oh well, only the few, only the elite – suit up for the Crimson and White.


Big Wally Butts

March 21st, 2012
11:13 pm

Tide Pride….what an ID10T.

Ole Big Dawg

March 21st, 2012
11:53 pm

No surprise in TP…majority of that fanbase makes any sense.


March 22nd, 2012
12:23 am

Malcom Mitchell is quite possibly our most talented “Dawg”. My prediction, when he is through at Georgia, BULLDOG NATION is going to remember him as a DGD of the first degree. He will transition just fine to the D, however by mid-season when Commings and Smith have jelled with their new D teamates………..Don’t be surprised to see him end the season with the O and winning the Hornung award just like Boykin…………..GO DOGS!!!!…………..GATA!!!!!


March 22nd, 2012
12:54 am



March 22nd, 2012
2:32 am

jus cuz we gots nuthin to do but our cuzins and foootball


March 22nd, 2012
2:34 am

corch sabans cudnt fart witout the hole state takin a deep whiff


March 22nd, 2012
2:39 am

u dont troll are boards cuz nobody outside the state gives a sheet


March 22nd, 2012
3:29 am

Both Columbia games are concerning for multiple reasons. Missouri because it will be MMs first real challenge as an SEC C/B and he may play man on their best W/R. This also is an SEC ROAD-GAME which are never cake-walks. S.C. is just another chance for the ol ball coach to stick his finger in our eye. He always has a good gameplan and it’s an SEC ROAD-GAME. We should still win both if Murray holds onto to the ball and Bobo can make adjustments at halftime and doesn’t forget about the Running Game. He might even want to try throwing the ball to a T.E. more than once or twice …

some sense

March 22nd, 2012
6:51 am


Kwame Geathers??????????????????????

13-1 SEC East Champions 2012

March 22nd, 2012
6:52 am

eBay, anyone say eBay ? Giving out rings again. I thought we learned not to do that in 2002 with 19 showing up on eBay. We told those kids they would never get them. But, now desperate for positive spins, we give out backed into SEC East rings. 10-42. That about the score ?

Sounds like the quarterback to wide receiver is an issue. Why is it that no one wants to say who threw the fade route to what remains of the wide receivers with Chris Conley in a cast.

Aaron Murray threw 403 passes 2011. He completed 59 percent of his passes, eating the ball rather than throw them away and have his percentage go down further. As it is, 59 percent completion was good for # 72 in the nation pass completion percentage. And, he has now amassed 56 sacks to garner his 16 wins his 1st 2 seasons, including to excruciating losses to teams who did not end up in the AP Poll Top 25.

Of the 27 teams with 10-Win Seasons 2011, Aaron Murray beat none. Of the 36 teams with 9-Win Seasons 2011, he beat none. Of the 48 teams with 8-Win Seasons, he beat 2 – neither of which season end, obviously, made any top 25 poll. But, there are only about 25 polls these days. And, 14 games. Of the 14, our 12 regular season games feature 1 team season end 2011 any top 25 poll. That projects about what 2012 holds, at most 1 regular season game against any team who season end is on any Published Poll for 2012 season, either.

Sounds like we are going to play the same game with veterans, such as running back and secondary players, for example, where the coaches all put down the obvious NFL Draft Picks and play instead their favorite veteran players.

I thought you detailed in specific terms how she could not have been hit because you stated there were no visible injuries according to the reports. When Mark Richt suspended him anyway, you said he was just wrong – rushed to judgment. When student council punished him, again, you said it was not a Court of Law. Now, he stands in the Court of Law, and pleads Guilty to simple battery. Interesting, you got nothing to say on that now, huh ?

Fascinating with your bag of LIES.


In all 4 games our QB gave away the games, allowing the opposing QB to far out-perform him. Again, we have posters calling for our QB to roll-out. He cannot roll-out because (1) his 4.81 speed leaves him slower than every SEC Defensive Lineman (2) he cannot throw accurately on the move (3) he admits himself while you said I was wrong on it, that he has POOR FOOTWORK, so he doesn’t get his feet right to be able to throw the ball on a roll-out and (4) he cannot see over the line, nor get himself into a position where he can see a lane, locks on to 1 receiver, cannot go through his progressions and tries to do too much.

As for this junk about we will run the ball with the great TB situation we have, look at just 2008 to see the folly of that off-season prayer for our offensive game plans for 2012. We had Knowshon Moreno for 2 years and then gone, and in 2008, we played 3 good teams that season, in these watered-down schedules for us any more. Knowshon Moreno got the ball 17 times a game average. We lost all 3 games. In fact, we lost in spectacular fashion giving up 29, 31, and 42 consecutive points.

You said that was the fault of the defense.

I said it was the fault of the offense and the defense and that the offense failed to move the ball and score a point. Any point. And, the defense got tired.

Now, Malcolm Mitchell, the only guy who can catch the football and not drop it except for Chris Conley, is instead of working on his conditioning to be there in the 2nd half of this season with his conditioning issues last year, is being yanked around out of position to play defense.

He should do well with Aaron Murray when he isn’t asking for photos of him and Kristin to be taken by yet a 3rd guy in the room, wearing glasses.

I’ll get back to that.

Wearing Glasses in bed, but not to throw. No wonder.

Malcolm Mitchell should do well against puny Aaron Murray. Everyone else does.

What did your parents say Kristin ?


March 22nd, 2012
7:58 am

Comments closed.


March 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

Who has that much time to write? .. Really?

13-1 SEC East Champions 2012

March 22nd, 2012
8:18 am

“We should still win both away games in Columbia if Murray holds onto to the ball and Bobo can make adjustments at halftime and doesn’t forget about the Running Game. He might even want to try throwing the ball to a T.E. more than once or twice.”
That’s what I love about the off-seasons followed by 12 regular seasons’ opponents only 1 of which finished in any top 25 poll.

Wish away everything that we’ve actually all agreed upon.

And, ignore the other salient points about the up-coming season in so doing, not discussing a Home Schedule for we seasons’ ticket holders of :

(1) 2-10 Ole Miss at Sanford Stadium and

(2) 0-00 Georgia Southern at Sanford Stadium and

(3) 1-11 Florida Atlantic at Sanford Stadium and

(4) 3-09 Buffalo bills at Sanford Stadium and

(5) Vandie with their losing record too and

(6) vols with their losing record as well

These are the 6 Home Games other than lowly (7) Georgia tek which we have at Sanford Stadium.

I predict upon these statements by Mark Richt that we bury the 2 new running backs on the depth chart, and play others whom we already know none will be in the NFL – while looking the other way that all failed the drug tests 2011 multiple times.

I also predict we look the other way and continue to play secondary players who do not defend the forward pass. Malcolm Mitchell is needed most at WR. Yeah, there have been :

1-Brandon Smith arrested drugs suspended
2-Sanders Commings plead Guilty Simple Assault girl
3-Nick Marshall CB kicked-off, no not coming back
4-Chris Sanders kicked-off, no not coming back
5-Jordan Lawrence Love CB arrested, transferred
6-Derek Owens, CB, transferred
7-Jakar Hamilton, Safety, transfer
8-Makiri Pugh, Safety Cornerback, transfer
9-Nick Williams Safety, transfer

But, let’s ignore the off-field issues like they don’t matter and all will just come back here because their felony theft was reported to the police of theft of a teammate’s over $ 500 cash and other valuables.

Let’s get them all back. Especially felons.

Why is it only I can put up what our record will be for 2012 season ?


March 22nd, 2012
8:45 am


You can take this for one man’s opinion and ignore it or whatever.

You are dead wrong to be mentioning that picture and the girl’s name.

evil empire

March 22nd, 2012
8:46 am

sec east shampionship rings???? are you serious???? that is crazy funny!!!! hahahahahahahaha!!!! what….who does that???…seriously…


March 22nd, 2012
8:47 am

Sanders Commings was attacked by a crazy girlfriend. I’ve had that happen, and there is no good way to respond. No matter what, you’ll always get the blame.

evil empire

March 22nd, 2012
8:50 am

probably working on first half winners trophy’s from the LSU and Michigan State games!! WOW…


March 22nd, 2012
8:51 am

Mediocrity and irrelevancy for the morons under Mark Wretched. Swill the Kool-Aid and get used to it.

The Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

March 22nd, 2012
8:54 am

How long until he gets arrested? Is that a position swap?

Bring your own hashbrowns

March 22nd, 2012
8:55 am

Missouri 37, UGA 17

It’ll be a fun game to watch!

D Fence

March 22nd, 2012
9:15 am

13-1 SEC East: you have all valid points unfortunately. Mitchell to CB is BS. Murray, well the verdict is still out I agree. Either this team and coach takes another significant leap forward this year or we’ve bought ourselves a heck of a buyout when its over.

Losing to MSU in the fashion we did is still maddening.

13-1 SEC East Champions 2012

March 22nd, 2012
9:16 am

Further embarrassment for our Starting QB on Spring Breaks. This is his 2nd Spring Break pic. And, besides the beer can, and now the bed, there is also his filing for NFL review after such a poor season again vs top teams and # 72 pass completion ranking -with now Malcolm Mitchell, his only real target besides in a cast Chris Conley with 403 attempts.

I will not protect him the way he has allowed his friends to take these on-going pics.

And, then there is his Twitter : heading to dome to kick some Boise State backsides, which again is nothing but embarrassment – along with his statements that he and we have arrived now so there is no pressure to go do a thing. You know DawginLex, sir ? Like beat a team who season end is in any published poll – this his 4th year on our campus for all this ongoing bad press our Starting QB heaped upon us – by himself.

Were I she, I would never see the guy again; because my daddy and mommy wouldn’t be putting up with the pics he allows sent of his exploits every Spring Break.


March 22nd, 2012
9:17 am

Dawg Fans beleive it or not you have a better WR coming in as a freshmen in June. You will see this fall, the offense will be okay.


March 22nd, 2012
9:19 am

Chip. What is your thresh hold on stupid comments allowed and when will you delete the really moronic ones like RTR’s March 21st, 2012 9:35 pm post? Now not to diss any of the other moronic comments here by not pointing them out, but of 46 posts as of this writing there are to many to point out. I know comments equal money on blogs, but dang, if some of these people were to be heard by their mothers, regardless of their age or IQ, they would have their mouths washed out. Unbelievable that all these people are actually adults.