Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell eager to learn what role he’ll play

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Malcolm Mitchell said he has no idea what he’s going to do on Saturday or how much of it.

“Maybe they’ll let me know at 3:29 on Saturday,” joked Mitchell, referring to No. 5 Georgia’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Tennessee at Sanford Stadium.

As of Wednesday, Mitchell was listed as the starter at boundary cornerback, where he has played the last three games and practiced on Wednesday. But Mitchell spent the whole day Tuesday — meetings and practice time — with Georgia’s wide receiver corps.

“I don’t know. I don’t have a clue, honestly,” said Mitchell, who has played a handful of snaps at wide receiver the past two games. “It was defense [Wednesday]. But you just never know what the game plan is or what they’re scheming up until game day or the day before. So right now I’m just playing it out to see what happens.”

Adding to the mystery is the return of Georgia’s last two suspended starters on defense. Linebacker Alec Ogletree and free safety Bacarri Rambo are both expected back from four-game suspensions. That means Sanders Commings, who has filled in at free safety the past two weeks, is clear to return to boundary corner, where he started 13 of the Bulldogs’ 14 games last season.

But Georgia coach Mark Richt, as he has been from the beginning, remained vague about whom might play what.

“I don’t want to tell everybody what we’re going to do,” Richt said Wednesday. “But both those guys will play.”

Mitchell was one of Georgia’s most explosive receivers as a freshman last season with 665 yards and 4 touchdowns in just 11 games. In fact, he had a game-high 126 yards on three catches against the Vols last year. But rolling him back into the wideout rotation is a delicate matter as the Bulldogs have played well there and have demonstrated a strong rapport with quarterback Aaron Murray.

“We have to be sure we stay in synch,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.

Meanwhile, the Vols are bringing to Sanford Stadium the SEC’s most prolific passing game. Led by 6-foot-6 quarterback Tyler Bray and tall and speedy wide receivers Justin Hunter and Codarrelle Patterson, Tennessee is averaging 38.2 points a game and has passed for more than 1,300 yards passing with 12 touchdowns.

“We’re going to have to disrupt routes, play man coverage some, do some different things to mix it up because we don’t want to be predictable,” Richt said. “You have to decide how to play it because certain teams may play super deep and allow underneath stuff and go tackle while others may pressure more up front.”

Bobo has said the amount of offense Mitchell plays will be determined by how well he picks up the offense again. Mitchell insists that won’t be a problem.

“It’s a lot but it hasn’t gone anywhere,” Mitchell said of his knowledge of the offensive playbook. “I was doing it every day for a year, so it’s still in my head. I was surprised myself by how much I could contain in my head.”

Abry Jones looks like a go

Defensive end Abry Jones, who missed the first two practices this week with a sprained ankle, returned Wednesday and appeared to work out without limitations. The senior from Warner Robins has started 18 games in a row and 24 overall.

Jones had to be helped off the field against Vanderbilt with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“It’s good,” Richt said of Jones’ quick turnaround. “Abry has been a very steady, reliable, consistent performer and he’s gotten consistently better as well. He’s a leader for us and has been named a captain on more than one occasion. He certainly helped us in the offseason as much as anybody.”

Tightening up special teams

Georgia is looking to tighten up its play on special teams.

  • The Bulldogs have failed on two extra points — on miss and one botched snap — and place-kicker Marshall Morgan has had three others deflect through off the uprights.
  • Georgia is last in the SEC in net punting at 33.3 yards.
  • And the Dogs have struggled to field punt returns, though they’ve been relatively good at returning them once they catch them.

Richt is looking for improvement in all areas, particularly with point-after kicks.

“You would think we could get it a little closer to the center post,” Richt said. “I’m smiling now but it could cost us. I’m trying to be patient. It’s not a good thing to have that much drama on extra points.”

Morgan said he’s been working hard to correct it this week and believes he has.

“I need to fix it,” said Morgan, who has had three makes off the left upright.We’ve worked on it a lot this week and I’ve had two perfect days. We’ve looked solid.”

As for punt returns, Mitchell remains the Bulldogs’ primary returner, but Richt said considering giving the job to Rhett McGowan if fielding issues don’t improve.

“Overall we’ve had too many bad decisions and bad communication,” he said. “It may end up being Rhett if he communicates the best and secures the ball the best and fields the ball the best. We’re trying to find an answer there.”

131 comments Add your comment

Jay

September 26th, 2012
9:35 pm

jrmdvm1

September 26th, 2012
9:36 pm

Nice to see the “little things” being addressed so we can get better.

[...] the original: Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell eager to learn what role he’ll play ← Back to Home Tags: alec ogletree, clue, game, georgia, ogletree, played, rhett [...]

SM9

September 26th, 2012
10:06 pm

Thanks Chip! You the man

Hank Hill

September 26th, 2012
10:21 pm

Thanks for the updates.

Go Dawgs!

Chipperdawg

September 26th, 2012
10:22 pm

There’s a surprise… our weakness is special teams! I love Coach Richt and what he’s brought back to our football team, but, man, it just seems like every year we’re lacking in this area. At least the coverage teams have looked a little better. I’m “old school” though and was always tought there are THREE phases to the game that determine the outcome. Offense, defense AND special teams- they’re ALL important!!
Team overall is certainly looking good, though. I’ve just today gotten my voice back fully from hollering at the Vandy game Sat. Closest thing to a complete game since last year’s Auburn butt kicking. Keep it up boys!! Goooooo Dawgs!! GATA!!!!

Frank Lane

September 26th, 2012
10:29 pm

Very interesting span of talent. We should be fine Saturday, particularly if the defense give Bray no time. Jarvis Time.

Huh?

September 26th, 2012
10:42 pm

Frank…TN is not great at run-blocking, but they are quite good at pass protection. Trust me, I’m sure that UGA will be able to get some pressure on Bray. I’m also equally sure that Bray is still going to get his yards, and that Hunter and Patterson will get their catches. I wouldn’t expect Jones to be in the backfield all game long…TN is no Missouri or Vandy.

flo-ri-duh

September 26th, 2012
11:19 pm

Run the ball and control the clock …… patience is key.

Lonnie

September 26th, 2012
11:28 pm

Huh according to you we should be 2-2 with! Jarvis will be a beast in this game whether making the sack or causing the very good and disciplined Vols to double and allow Jordan or Alec to make the sack!!!!!!! The lack of running game allows either Alec or Christian to rush more !

Ogeechee Dawg

September 27th, 2012
12:16 am

Defense is key Saturday. We need a better rush up the middle. Jenkins and Kwame bottle up the middle but I rarely see them in the backfield. Vanderbilt was an exception a couple of times.

Outer Banks Dawg

September 27th, 2012
12:40 am

By my count, that makes six very dangerous wide receivers on the UGA squad with big play capabilities. I hope we spread it out and slip a tight end right down the middle just once this game… I just love to see a big Georgia TE get 20 yds over the middle. This is a special team! So many weapons it’s hard to find space to play them all. That’s what the coaches are saying. Finally we are getting deep like bama and LSU and how Florida always was.

Go Dawgs! GATA

ZinoDawg

September 27th, 2012
6:25 am

Glad to have Tree and Rambo back! It’s hammer time!

GATA!

CHDawg

September 27th, 2012
6:47 am

Our position players are very strong, as strong as I can remember. The key is the line. If they protect Murray, and we don’t have turnovers, UGA is probably going to score a whole lot of points. Our D will be interesting to watch. Will they pick up where they left off, or will they need some tuning? I suspect they will be strong. TN has a very explosive team, and pass D is the one question mark for our D, so this could be a very tough game. My keys are turnovers, our O line, and whether we can pressure Bray. Go Dawgs!

Joe

September 27th, 2012
7:01 am

It’s big to have Abry Jones ready to play. He’s a solid contributor and we need all hands on deck against the Tenn. offense.

bubba4dawgs

September 27th, 2012
7:50 am

Bartleby, you’re smokin again! You need to get you some better weed making statements like that! Don’t go inciting them DAWGS! They’ll bit you fo sho! Remember what Mizzou said about Old Man football! The DAWGS are hongry and they’re gonna get their due! They’re tired of all the negative comments and it’s way past feedin time! They all have hobnail boots for this game, so get ready for some plastic surgery after they finish. It’s celebration homecoming for Tree and Rambo! So, get ready to watch the party! GO DAWGS!!

Yellow Cock

September 27th, 2012
7:59 am

SC 42
Dogs 9

MA English 75

September 27th, 2012
8:23 am

Law and Order, why are you so negative about our players? Why don’t you look at the majority rather than the small minority of the players who get into trouble? Did you get through YOUR college years without doing anything stupid? You may not have ever been arrested, but have you ever “gotten away” with anything for which you could have gotten into trouble?

Neutral

September 27th, 2012
8:28 am

@law and order
The answer is “no”, but I’m certain representatives from Allstate will be there since UGa players are number ONE in the nation in recipients of the Allstate Community Service Awards. Also, CMR has coached more winners of this prestigious award than any other coach in history. How about your coach and team?

Neutral

September 27th, 2012
8:30 am

@MA English 75
I don’t think that dude went to college!!!!

@Yellow Cock

September 27th, 2012
8:30 am

Dawgmess

September 27th, 2012
8:31 am

Pretty intelligent comments until Bartleby and Law & Order woke up.

SEC Football

September 27th, 2012
8:35 am

Chip, thanks for giving us fresh articles on a daily basis. Some articles in other areas stay up for a week.

dawgfan

September 27th, 2012
9:01 am

This Malcom Mitchell business sounds like complete hogwash to me. Good grief just figure it out already. You can’t tell me that this guy going the entire week without knowing how and where he’s going to play won’t effect his performance. The coaches are mishandling this situation. He is an uber-talented player and he’s going to go to waste if they don’t get their damn act together and figure out how to use him quick.

Thanks.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
9:03 am

Bazooka Joe

September 27th, 2012
9:10 am

dawgfan, trust me he already knows, but is not saying…

dawgfan

September 27th, 2012
9:17 am

Fair point. I hope you’re right.

Great story on Jarvis. I’m not sure I knew that about him. Now I know why he calmy trots back to the huddle or sideline after making a great play. He is truly on another level in more ways than just his playing ability.

AltamahaDawg

September 27th, 2012
9:20 am

Seriously dawgfan, you think he doesn’t know where he was lining up in practice all week?

I know you scour the blogs looking for a way to turn something into a “dumb coaches” opportunity, but come on man. Taking this one a tad ridiculous aren’t you?

Joey

September 27th, 2012
9:20 am

I love Grantham, but I hope he has paid a little attention to the Falcon’s Nolan. He is confusing the hell out of opposing QBs.

I mean, if you can make Manning and Rivers look that bad, you are doing something right.

AltamahaDawg

September 27th, 2012
9:24 am

I don’t think if a panel of all star coaches from all over the nation spend 3 yrs to figure it out, They could have used Malcome Mitchell any better than he had been so far, to benefit this football team.

Hows that for hyperbole?

Blue Ridge Dawg

September 27th, 2012
9:29 am

@ dawgfan- – Joe is correct. Malcom knows EXACTLY what is going on. Relax… Media and fans dont need to know. GO DAWGS!!

UGA Insider

September 27th, 2012
9:29 am

Tried telling you guys this summer ST was a MAJOR issue. I hope it doesn’t cost us. At this point what you see is the best we have there.

UGA 34
Tenn 14

ARdawg

September 27th, 2012
9:33 am

I see it as Mitchell is a playmaker, get the ball in his hands. That generally means offense and ST

CHDawg

September 27th, 2012
9:57 am

That was a great story on Jones. Sounds like a fine young man who has already overcome a lot of adversity! One interesting thing about team sports–great players lift the performance of others in addition to making their own contributions. Jones is that kind of leader to the D, but I would say Tree is also that kind of leader, and maybe more. He has done well on the field, but he has yet to really command a lot of media coverage. I notice how many comments he gets from his fellow players. I think our whole D played much stronger after he returned in ‘11, and Jones got most of his sacks last year after Ogeltree returned. It could have been that he was just getting better, but I think Ogeltree presents problems for opposing OCs, that help JJ make more great plays. It will be interesting to see how they both do now that JJ is commanding so much attention.

shankit

September 27th, 2012
10:00 am

The East has risen again.

Show Me Your TDs

September 27th, 2012
10:06 am

Insider…dont go spewing off how you’re always telling us everything beforehand. Sometimes you have good points..and sometimes you miss wide right!! Keep it between the poles.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
10:17 am

And the award for the best posting name goes to . . . .

“Show Me Your TDs”

It’s the best one on here. I get a laugh everytime I see it.

RxDawg

September 27th, 2012
10:19 am

“I was surprised myself by how much I could contain in my head.”

That’s what she said. Oh!

ugab

September 27th, 2012
10:24 am

The offense is doing great right now. I do not want to see Bobo tryn to get Mitchell in the mix and srew up our offensive rhythm. I did like the trick play with Mitchell against Vandy. Tennesse is going to be a test. Our d is good but not great. Alabama’s is great. Bray is going to throw the ball all game.

RiffRaff

September 27th, 2012
10:27 am

Mitchell, with all his talent, should maybe not take a punt inside his five yard line. He’s doing alot on offense and defense. Give the job to Rhett McGowan, he looked out there.

And @Yellow Cock – see a doctor about that, will ya??

JB

September 27th, 2012
10:30 am

Call me crazy but I think the success you are seeing with the offense this year is that Murray has been green lighted to check out of a Bobo called play based on what he see’s with HIS experience at the moment vs some dumb chart Bobo uses based on Down and distance and field position vs what the opposing D is actually showing BEFORE the snap. Yep, call me crazy.

UGA Insider

September 27th, 2012
10:30 am

Show me your TD’s

Sorry but I called the ST issues in July.

Ask any regulars on here.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
10:33 am

UGA Insider, didn’t you predict a close game somewhere on here yesterday?

JB

September 27th, 2012
10:37 am

Oh, having an OL actually open some holes and a stud back or two plowing for big yards helps also. We have to be a nightmare to defend. You can’t load up and stop one thing….or double one wideout. Lot’s of weapons on this team

MarineDevilDawg!

September 27th, 2012
10:41 am

Do you guys really think Mitchell is really confused??????? He knows were he will play, this is all just a move to throw off Tenn. Rambo and Tree will be back thus freeing up Commings to play were he belongs and move Mitchell back to were he belongs. I mean come on its common sense if you follow this CTG defense. I like what there doing, it may not make since to some of you but it is really making this team competitive. In todays ball you need any advantage you can get.

Joey

September 27th, 2012
10:42 am

Weapons galore, JB.

I think the big difference this year is Murray protecting the ball – and I think Richt/Bobo are attacking, at least so far this season.

Murray is showing off that arm when he has the time to get it off.

If he finishes the season in the form he is in so far, I don’t think he will be back next season.

JB

September 27th, 2012
10:45 am

I hope Murray comes back. The D next year will be a mystery and a work in progress….and if Murray returns, Dawgs will have one of best offenses in D1 ball, bar none

JB

September 27th, 2012
10:46 am

Joey, that may be Murray attacking. He’s allowed to check out of the called in play, and the calls just don’t look like a Bobo called game to me.

kingdaddy

September 27th, 2012
10:50 am

Special Teams will be fine…

JB

September 27th, 2012
10:56 am

Tenn DC, formally LB coach at Bama, say’s Gurley reminds him of Trent Richardson. And Gurley is a true freshman who hasn’t even found the UGA weight room yet.