Malcolm Mitchell all defense for now but double-duty starts soon

With Branden Smith (L) and Malcolm Mitchell holding down the cornerback positions, Georgia feels like its secondary can overcome early-season depth issues due to suspensions. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

With Branden Smith (L) and Malcolm Mitchell holding down the cornerback positions, Georgia feels like its secondary can overcome early-season depth issues due to suspensions. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS – Saturday represented Day 18 of The Great Experiment for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Malcolm Mitchell, arguably the Bulldogs’ most explosive, big-play wide receiver, was moved to cornerback for the 15 days of spring practice back in April. He remained on defense as Georgia completed its third day of preseason camp on Saturday and he’ll stay there at least through the first couple of games of the 2012 season.

What happens after that is anybody’s guess. Ideally the Bulldogs will win those early games, suspended players will move back into their respective defensive positions and Mitchell will go back to hauling in passes from quarterback Aaron Murray. But ultimately how things are going on the football field will dictate how much Mitchell plays and on which side of the ball.

“I’m just there to help,” said Mitchell, who has practiced exclusively on defense since moving there last spring. “If they want me to stay there, I’ll stay there. But right now I’m just going there to help.”

Georgia felt the necessity to move Mitchell after disciplinary issues hit the secondary. Starting cornerback Sanders Commings is suspended for the first two games of the season after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery charges in February. And the high school coach of free safety Bacarri Rambo has told reporters the All-American will be out the first four games due to a second violation of UGA’s marijuana use policy. Georgia has yet to confirm or deny that information

Meanwhile, the availability of Georgia’s other starting cornerback, Branden Smith, had been unclear until Saturday. Smith, a senior, was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession during spring break in March. However, coach Mark Richt announced on Saturday that Smith will not miss any playing time. Smith, who was granted pretrial intervention status in the case, said he passed drug tests administered by UGA and the court shortly after the incident.

Nevertheless, depth in the defensive backfield remains a concern. And in Mitchell the Bulldogs believe they have an all-star corner, whether he is on short-term or long-term lease from the offense.

“He’s a great competitor,” Richt said. “He loves practice, he loves preparation, he loves to win the drill no matter what it is. He loves the challenge of learning a defense, so he won’t have any trouble there. He has great change of direction, he has good ball skills, he’s muscled up since he’s been here. He has a lot of great tools to be a great cornerback.”

Of course, he is an exceptional wide receiver as well. Mitchell managed 665 yards receiving and four touchdowns despite missing three games in the middle of the season due to a hamstring injury. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has playfully complained that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has stolen away prized possession.”

“Coach Bobo has been tongue-in-cheek with some of his comments. He knows that we need Malcolm to play corner,” Richt said. “He understands that, but he also understands he’s a heck of a wide receiver, and he wants to make sure he sees him play a little bit of offense still, even early on.”

Richt said Saturday that he expects to bring over Mitchell to get work with the offense “about seven to 10 days” before the Bulldogs’ season opener against Buffalo. The plan is for Mitchell’s offensive work to increase gradually as Georgia’s defense returns to full strength and the fall air cools the temperatures.

In the meantime it will be all defense all the time for Mitchell.

“Sanders will be back in a couple of games and be back there like he has the last couple of years and everything will return to normal,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do both [offense and defense]. If I don’t, that’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as we’re out there having fun and winning games.”

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35 comments Add your comment

MaconBulldog

August 4th, 2012
3:04 pm

First . Gata

MaconBulldog

August 4th, 2012
3:06 pm

I think Mitchell and Smith will do pretty well in the secondary togeather give them Mizzou Wr some trouble

Bama in Atlanta

August 4th, 2012
3:32 pm

Is it just coincidence that the weather outside today feels like football weather!?!

juvenal

August 4th, 2012
3:56 pm

way to go Mr. Hoffa! a bronze.. & once again, to Ms. Schmitt….very little love here from the booldauug eructation for these fine Americans, & fellow Georgians, if you are checking in from across the pond this Yellow Jacket says, DGD! i know y’all r redneks, crap, i’m a readneck too, but you don’t have to be so provincial about it..go, Taylor!

Destin Dawg

August 4th, 2012
4:00 pm

Malcolm is just a great DGD.. ready to play either side of the ball.. beating Missouri in Columbia at night will be tough.. win and we can go all the way.. SEC champs THIS year.. GOOOO DAWGS !!

Destin Dawg

August 4th, 2012
4:13 pm

little know big improvement for all due to improved S & C and nutrionist Jen Ketterly has now been here 1 year… all the jocks can eat lunch buffet at Butts Mehre.. watch ‘em own the 4 th qtr.. you are what you eat !!

zoli

August 4th, 2012
4:17 pm

Bama in Atlanta: I was thing the same thing…season can’t get here soon enough. The first sign for me is practice updates. The Braves can only hold me over so long. Can’t wait to see MM on D!

Grantham's The Man!

August 4th, 2012
5:47 pm

Mizzou just took a hit!

Branden Smith and Malcolm Mitchell will get the job done with a little help from their friends up front and in the middle. Smith’s return must be worth 10 points alone.

GtDawg

August 4th, 2012
5:52 pm

How is DEPTH still a concern???? Who many players on the roster will see pt during any given game. From what im seeing the 2 deep is very talented at every position except kicker. With that said please explain where the concern is.

Pj

August 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

Jarvis, Mitchell and r Samuel are the 3 best dawgs we have

kerryb

August 4th, 2012
9:22 pm

I believe he’ll be playing a lot of CB. Lakatos and Grantham are already saying he is our best corner and that’s including Commings. It’s hard to believe they will send a player that will be as good as he is at corner back to WR with the talent we still have there. Coming out of high school he was the best corner in the country.

SCDAWG94

August 4th, 2012
9:44 pm

imgaine what if hepicks a ball against BU, MIZZU, FAU, and VANDY. I see pick 6 and a bucket of a mama’s fried chicken.

Lizard-King Dawg

August 4th, 2012
10:13 pm

Let’s go Dawg’s. ………………… whose that comin down the track ???

William

August 5th, 2012
3:36 am

Too bad there aren’t two of him. One for offense and one for defense. I hope he can go both ways, cause we need him on offense. Go Dawgs, GATA.

Orlando Dawg.

August 5th, 2012
8:09 am

Mary,Queen of Scots,
Since 10% of 12 games is 1.2 games the player is only suspended 1 game because they round the .2 down.If UGA played a bowl game and had 13 games it would equal 1.3 games and they would still round the .3 down to 1 game.A player is never going to miss 2 games if 10% equals 1.2 or1.3.And the lowlife sleazebag is YOU.By the way your a dumb A$$ too.

Nub

August 5th, 2012
9:18 am

MM is a DFD…..!!! As far as Mary —- you need to go find a girl friend that loves the lord —- spend some time reading your bible …..!

Joey

August 5th, 2012
9:29 am

If Mitchell is a shut-down corner like everybody is saying, I hope he stays at defense from now on.

WRs are a dime-a-dozen (unless they have freakish abilities like Calvin Johnson and AJ), but there aren’t many shut-down corners at any level.

The ones that are are coveted and well paid – ask Champ Bailey and Darrell Revis.

Homepage | MrSEC

August 5th, 2012
11:36 am

[...] 12. Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell has already watched film of the Tigers. His double-duty starts soon. [...]

Dawg Haus

August 5th, 2012
11:59 am

Loving Mitchell’s attitude! DGD!

Dosta Cat

August 5th, 2012
1:07 pm

Malcolm “Tampa” Mitchell – a Valdosta Wildcat!! Great job young man!! We ae very proud of you in Valdosta. Great young man on and off the field.

bitter Hill-folk

August 5th, 2012
4:19 pm

I stated way back when the dream team was being put together that M/M was the #1 baller in all the nation. and low and behold———–I was dead on

———–Learn to lessin to the # authority on Georgia high school seniors

This 2013 class offers No new M/M———none

——-M/M maybe our closest player to SIR Hershal W.

[...] Georgia Bulldogs: Malcolm Mitchell all defense for now but double-duty starts soon [...]

dswann5

August 5th, 2012
7:34 pm

dgd great athlete just glad he is on my team hats off to strength and conditioning coaches and the nutritionist can not believe some of the weights on these guys is marshall really at 216 already quayvon hicks a 270lbs fb oh my god unreal

Mobile Dawg

August 5th, 2012
10:21 pm

Funny thing, the more like MM you recruit, the more that will come. Seeya IC, I’m one who believes you won’t be missed.

ARdawg

August 6th, 2012
12:14 pm

Mitchell is an athlete and a DGD. His attitude is one that permeates. GATA

Old Dawg

August 6th, 2012
12:21 pm

Mary, Queen of Scots: You kilt has a rip in it that runs to your brain. You’re obviously a troll from another school, so why even bother to post on the UGA blog?

Go back and enjoy the evening with your sheep.

Eric C.

August 6th, 2012
9:08 pm

Mary, Queen of Scots: I don’t like you

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]

Truth Be Told

August 7th, 2012
3:36 am

MM closest thing to Champ Bailey point blank. Expect greatness from G3 & JHC also.

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]

Mandrell Dawg

August 8th, 2012
2:10 pm

If the quarterback truly trusts the other receivers (including running backs) by spreading the ball,and if Mitchell shows special ability on defense, I would have no problems with him playing mostly on defense and only at times on offense, much the way B. Boykin was used last season.

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]

[...] Malcolm Mitchell all-defense for now, but double-duty starts soon [...]