Notebook: Still no offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell, but coming soon

ATHENS – The Bulldogs have completed 18 preseason practices as of Saturday morning and Malcolm Mitchell has yet to take an offensive snap in any of them. And that, the sophomore cornerback/wide receiver said, is fine with him.

“I’m just going with it,” said Mitchell, who gained 665 yards and scored four touchdowns as a freshman receiver last season. “Coach [Mark] Richt and the coaching staff are good at preparing and planning things, so I’m just letting them figure it out and I’ll do what they say.”

For now, Mitchell said he runs routes and catches balls with the quarterbacks only after practices have concluded. Richt said they will start bringing Mitchell over to work with the offense on a limited number of plays during practice about eight to 10 days before the opening game against Buffalo.

In the meantime, Mitchell has concentrated full time on mastering cornerback and nickelback in the Bulldogs’ defense.

“This is a chance to show another side of what I can do,” said Mitchell, who was rated a four-star prospect at cornerback at Valdosta High. “If you get a chance to do something like that you want to take advantage of it. I feel like I’ve done my best to show them what I can do. I’ll know if I’m ready when they let me know.”

By all accounts, Mitchell is sharing time in the No. 1 defensive backfield with fellow corners Branden Smith and Damian Swann. Swann is the primary option for filling the role left open with the graduation of Brandon Boykin. That is, he’s playing the boundary corner in the base defense and then jumping in to cover the slot in a five-DB set. But Mitchell has worked at that as well.

With only 10 practice opportunities remaining, Mitchell said he feels confident now he can do the job on defense.

“I can play faster now because I know what I need to do and I know how I need to do it,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure everybody knows what they’re doing right now.”

Competition in return game

There’s another way Mitchell could get his hands on the football early in the season. He’s one of the main options in the competition to become the Bulldogs’s kickoff return specialist. That job was done last year primarily by Boykin, who had 38 of Georgia’s 48 returns. Mitchell is competing with Branden Smith, freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and redshirt freshman wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, among others.

“There’s a lot of great runners back there; we’re going to see who wins the job,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got a lot of people back there who can take it to the house. It’s going to be exciting to see who gets it.”

Smith has the most experience with 23 returns over the last two seasons. Smith and Mitchell are both getting looks at punt return as well, along with freshman Sheldon Dawson.

Mitchell joked that he should have negotiated in kick-return duties when he accepted the move to defense.

“I’m gonna bring that up tomorrow,” he said. “I’m kidding; I’m kidding. If another guy gets it, he was better and that’s better for the team.”

More movement on O-line

Whether it lasts for more than one day remains to be seen, but the Bulldogs on Saturday experimented with moving Mark Beard to left tackle from left guard with the No. 2 unit. Austin Long had been working at left tackle but he was working a right guard with the second unit on Saturday while Watts Dantzler moved from right guard to left guard.

“We just wanted to see Beard on the edge a little big,” Richt said. “We know he’s athletic and we thought going inside might help Long. So we thought we’d just take a peek.”

The move is also a sign that Long is not getting the job done at left tackle.

“He hasn’t played well enough to compete for that starting position at this point,” Richt said. “He’s just got to keep fighting to get into position where if we need to count on him in a ballgame he’s ready to do it. . . . I’ll be interested to see what [line coach Will] Friend’s initial reaction is to that move.”

Say cheese

Saturday was, of course, Georgia’s annual Fans Picture Day over at Sanford Stadium. Georgia players and Richt signed autographs and posed for pictures in the Reed Plaza area of the stadium for two hours in the afternoon. All of Georgia’s other sports teams were also represented.

“Today’s a great day for the Bulldog Nation,” Richt said. “It’s not just a Georgia football thing. All the other sports are involved in this. It’s a great day.”

More poll trivia

Georgia’s No. 6 ranking in The Associated poll released Saturday represents its third-highest preseason ranking in the Richt era. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 3 in 2004 and No. 1 in 2008. They finished 7th and 13th, respectively.

“The year we started No. 1 we won the first three or four games and we dropped every week in the polls,” Richt said with a laugh. “So just because you win doesn’t mean you’ll stay up there. We know we’ve got a long way to go and a lot to prove.”

5 Dogs chosen to LEAD

The Bulldogs had five players named to the Georgia Athletic Association’s Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program on Friday. The designees were wide receiver Chris Conley, linebacker Reuben Faloughi, deep snapper Ty Frix, defensive lineman Garrison Smith and linebacker Kosta Vavlas. Student-athletes from 12 other sports also were selected.

According to UGA, the program gives the most promising student-athletes a chance to interact with local, state and industry leaders, who provide them access to their companies and facilities and provide them with resources to allow them to compete for national leadership awards and postgraduate scholarships.

This & that . . .

The Bulldogs practiced for nearly two hours Saturday morning in full pads before breaking up for team pictures, family pictures then, finally, Picture Day. Richt has been notably more positive about how the team has looked since his critical comments following Wednesday’s competition scrimmage. “Three practices ago I was concerned about them being a little dead-legged and just struggling to get through with the type of tempo that we want,” he said. “I shortened these last two practices just a little bit and livened it up a bit with some live tackling. We made it shorter and sweeter and the guys responded well.” . . .

Defensive end Cornelius Washington was getting a lot of work at outside linebacker on Saturday. The senior played outside linebacker the last two seasons but is expected to play primarily at defensive end this season. . . . Wide receivers Tavarres King (lower leg) and Rantavious Wooten (hip) remained sidelined Saturday. Tight end Ty Smith (hamstring) remains in non-contact status.

MORE GEORGIA FOOTBALL

30 comments Add your comment

Dawgvol fan

August 18th, 2012
1:56 pm

OtherTampaDawg

August 18th, 2012
2:24 pm

Russell Hall

August 18th, 2012
2:55 pm

BigDawg

August 18th, 2012
3:06 pm

I dropped my fried twinkie

August 18th, 2012
3:37 pm

twist a fatty….LOL
needs to be ready and everybody hats to sit.

tdawg

August 18th, 2012
4:23 pm

Mitchell’s unselfish attitude is refreshing in this era of “look at me players” ! DGD!

Skint

August 18th, 2012
5:17 pm

It appears that neither Long or Dantzler are athletic enough to play tackle. Hopefully, X Ward will be ready to go. He is going to be a factor if healthy.

uga student

August 18th, 2012
6:40 pm

It would be nice to see Mitchell returning kicks. Get him on the field as much as possible!

kingdaddy

August 18th, 2012
8:02 pm

Good read Chip,. Gotta love M.M., what a great attitude. Seems like Coaach Richt is holding his cards pretty close, not spilling his hand. Hope he saves some supprises for lil stevie, like maybe turning M.M.loose on offense…

Frank Lane

August 18th, 2012
8:04 pm

If the honey badger sits out this year and does not play anywhere, is he immediately eligible next year if he enrolls in a new school. Is it time or does he have to be enrolled somewhere?

Pj

August 18th, 2012
11:41 pm

While I’m worried about the kicking aspect of our special teams, the return game should be breathtaking. Malcolm showed how explosive he is last year, branden smith is one of the quickest guys on the team and has experience. Throw in Marshall and Justin-scott, two 4.3 sprinters – id bet money we will have at least five returns for touchdowns this fall.

bucket

August 19th, 2012
8:16 am

@ Frank Lane – I’m pretty sure that LSU would still have to approve where the Badger goes if he doesn’t play this year. I could be wrong, but I think I heard that on the radio last week.

mark

August 19th, 2012
11:01 am

Exactly who is the fastest guy on the team?

Tampa Gator

August 19th, 2012
11:40 am

Malcolm……hint…….fastest way to the NFL at your size and ability……CORNERBACK. I think you are going to be a very good one.

The Factor

August 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

@Tampa Gator

You see to be a reasonable guy. Too bad that knucklehead imposter shows up sometimes. I think UF will be better than advertised (unfortunately). Big mistake for fans to write them off.

Terry

August 19th, 2012
1:45 pm

Sounds like Malcolm Mitchell could be another Champ Bailey, wouldn’t that be great, can’t wait to see our Dawg’s on the field, all this waiting, I’m ready for some FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!! O YEAH!!!!!!!!

7576DAWG

August 19th, 2012
1:46 pm

The Factor
Everybody knows that Florida has some of the best recruits to come out of the state of Florida. Muschamp will eventually get the team where it needs to be but the huge change in philosophy from a no discipline mind set to Muschamps strong arm tactic are extremely disruptive and will take a few years to take hold. If the Florida fan base will give him the needed time, in the long run it will prove to be the right thing to do.
A few years ago, about the time his wife got cancer, Mark Richt decided that football was way down the priority list and we saw how fast the thugs took over. Richt’s career was saved when McGarity was hired and Richt was reminded that his top priority was his football coaching because with it he made enough to afford the best medical care, Richt could give to his personal loves , like church as much as he wanted, give all his kids everything they need to succeed and it reminded Richt that he did love to coach football.
It has taken a few years but I think the Georgia WAY is back on track and we will see it with results this year. Florida is one or two years behind us but Muschamp is working in the right direction.

G-Dawg

August 20th, 2012
10:44 am

Agree with TG…Mitchell at corner is his best bet for big NFL money!! Very athletic secondary this year.

Dave

August 20th, 2012
12:26 pm

Marshall outran Mitchell and B Smith ran a dead heat against Marshall. But them Mtchell outran B Smith. I hear they do those races a lot just for kicks and it keeps the competition going. I hear Gurley ain’t exactly slow….and he’s 217 lbs.

G-Dawg

August 20th, 2012
12:42 pm

Like to see Marshall and/or JWS returning kickoffs.

UGA Insider

August 20th, 2012
2:18 pm

All this movement around for everyone is making me nervous. Kind of the way I do when thinking about Obama getting re-elected.

WDE

August 20th, 2012
3:24 pm

Can we PLEASE just tee it up and GATA!

Spike 80DF

August 20th, 2012
7:27 pm

hope Mitchell stays at CB because we look pretty set at WR with young guys and 4 committments for 2013.

Real Dawg: keep your dumb politics out of the sport.

August 20th, 2012
10:45 pm

@ UGA Outsider: Yeah, all the hocus-pocus moving players around on the O-line is making everybody nervous. The same way it did us when Bush was re-elected in 2004.

Real Dawg: keeping it real.

August 20th, 2012
11:00 pm

Georgia’s No. 6 ranking in The Associated poll released Saturday represents its third-highest preseason ranking in the Richt era. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 3 in 2004 and No. 1 in 2008. They finished 7th and 13th, respectively.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
With those historic preseason rankings and final rankings in mind it means this 2012 UGA team, lead by Richt with a lofty preseason rank of 6th, should finish with a disappointing final ranking of 14th if history repeats itself. The mediocrity and under-achieving only continues.

By the #'s???

August 21st, 2012
8:14 am

Yes, bc everyone knows Richt is a lowlife, scumbag, etc etc etc….where’s my smartalec smiley face to put right here. Gimme a break! UGA has the strictess drug policy around…enough said! Feel free to share your favorite teams drug policy and corresponding suspensions. Would love to hear it so we can compare. Come on, bring it on!

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[...] Offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell coming soon [...]

[...] Offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell coming soon [...]

[...] Offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell coming soon [...]