Mark Richt puts end to debate; Malcolm Mitchell to play offense only

ATHENS – The Malcolm Mitchell debate is a debate no more.

Mark Richt put an abrupt end to the speculation over what the sophomore’s role on the team will be going forward.

“What do I think (his role) is going to be? Wide receiver,” Richt said matter-of-factly after Tuesday’s practice. “I doubt he plays any more corner.”

Mitchell, a sophomore who played both cornerback and split end this season, expressed mixed emotions recently about continuing his career as a two-way player. Meanwhile, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham each said this week they’d like to have him full-time on their respective sides of the ball, but ultimately deferred to Richt.

Richt was able to weigh in on it publically for the first time on Tuesday, and he didn’t pussyfoot around the issue.

“I just think he needs to play one position,” he said. “. . . If he’s going to be the best he can be at either position, I think he needs to concentrate on just one of them, and receiver’s where he’s going to be.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray was especially happy with that decision.

“I saw a tweet on that and I’m happy for Malcolm,” Murray said. “I talked to him about it and I think he feels great about just being able to focus on one position. I know he wants to think big and play offense and defense and special teams. I mean, it’s tough playing all those positions. I’m definitely happy he’s back on offense, that’s for sure.”

Mitchell came to Richt last spring and volunteered to play both ways. The Bulldogs entered the season without cornerback Sanders Commings (2 games) and safety Bacarri Rambo (4 games) due to disciplinary suspensions and the status of cornerback Branden Smith was unclear until preseason camp. Mitchell, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound sophomore, was an all-star cornerback at Valdosta High and was originally recruited to play the defensive side of the ball.

Mitchell played this first third of this season as a cornerback, starting three games and accounting for 12 tackles and 3 pass break-ups in that time. After Rambo returned in Game 5, Mitchell returned to playing offense full time. He finished the season with 572 yards and four touchdowns.

Mitchell made his mark at Georgia as a freshman wide receiver. He piled up 665 yards receiving and four touchdowns despite missing three games with injuries his first season.

Mitchell said this past Friday he’d pick offense if he had to choose one or the other. But Georgia is losing its entire starting secondary after this season and Mitchell said he would consider playing defense again if “the team needs me.”

An online poll of AJC readers agrees with Richt’s decision. Sixty-six percent of nearly 3,000 voters said they’d rather see Mitchell play receiver full time than play both ways or defense only.

94 comments Add your comment

Charlie Mack

December 18th, 2012
6:17 pm

MM = DGD Go Dawgs!

Browndog

December 18th, 2012
6:18 pm

Rick James

December 18th, 2012
6:22 pm

JB

December 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

That is good news. Murray, come back please

mike on lake hartwell

December 18th, 2012
6:28 pm

wise decision. til the summer suspensions arrive, then he’ll be back on D.

1eyedJack

December 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

I will enjoy watching him catch passes on New Year’s day.

Left Coast Dawg

December 18th, 2012
6:40 pm

Again with the “losing the entire starting secondary thing”! For the record Damian Swann was the starter in Georgia’s base defense for the better part of this season. Plus other underclassmen gained valuable playing experience in the secondary, so we’ll be fine.

Left Coast Dawg

December 18th, 2012
6:41 pm

Hey Mike, why don’t you go jump in Lake Hartwell!

redandblackdog

December 18th, 2012
6:43 pm

Right decision! Great receiver and will one of best ever at UGA.

45 ACP

December 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Malcolm Mitchell is a very good athlete. I’m glad the Dawgs want him as a pass receiver only. And I hope Aaron Murray chooses to return for his senior year.

jack bull

December 18th, 2012
7:54 pm

that’s pretty good news for Hudson Mason next season. He’ll have Mitchell, Bennett and Conley to throw the ball to..

Red Stick

December 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

Mitchell is a solid player. I think his strength is on offense as he could be one of the top receivers in the SEC next season.

The Dogs will have alot of holes to fill on the other side of the ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team lose nearly the entire starting defense like Georgia will after this season.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Tambo

December 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

Good news for Hutson Mason, don’t think 2012 UGA Qb Eric Murrey will be back this season. Hutson will have Rome in the middle, and Mitchell and Conley on the wings, Bennett there to add even more pressure on defenses. And then you have to ALSO try and stop Gurley & Marshall.

Mason & Lemay gonna have fun with that talent base.

BigDawg

December 18th, 2012
8:13 pm

Happy for Mitchell! He will be a star!!

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:16 pm

Jack Bull,

The kid’s name is Hutson, not Hudson… And unfortunately for him, I believe the Dawgs will have Aaron Murray back under center again next year.. We could be scary on offense… If we get a young D to gel, we could be back in the dome.

I feel bad for Hutson Mason, bc he is probably a hell of a QB. But I want Murray’s experience. Next year with a veteran o line with a touch more depth, Gurley and Marshall a year older and stronger, I like our chances despite a tough schedule. Murray is so pissed about the SEC championship game, no way he goes pro. That’s just the type of guy he is…. He wants to win the SEC. No records will suffice without the SEC championship/BCS title

Just my opinion

Go Dawgs!

Moist Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:21 pm

This decision makes me want to vomit. Mitchell will be a good receiver as a Dawg but an all pro defensive back in the pros when professional coaches get a hold of him.
Red Stick, nobody cares about your lsu, opinion. Since when does Louisiana have the internet anyway?

icedawg

December 18th, 2012
8:27 pm

Bunn

December 18th, 2012
8:32 pm

Had enough too of Alex Murray. Georgia QB Murray is 1-10 vs. ranked teams, only people who want him back are guys who like to lose big games or South Carolina fans or Alabama fans.

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:32 pm

Also, I think it would be phenomenal if Kwame Geathers comes back too! He seemed to indicate it ws not a foregone conclusion last week.. Having that big boy anchoring the nose next year would be sweet. I think Georgia will surprise people on defense next year. We have some JUCO transfers coming and some players in the pipeline… If they can play good team defense we will be fine. Teams will have fits with our offense.

Red Stick

December 18th, 2012
8:33 pm

Moist Dawg: nice, classless response but of course we all have fans like you. Did you ask every other person on here is they care about my “LSU opinion”? Yeah right.

BTW, I have been a regular blogger here for many years. I lived in Georgia for 27 years and have many friends who are Dawg fans.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Bunn

December 18th, 2012
8:34 pm

If Alex Murray stys, phenom Hutson Mason goes. No way a phenom like Mason sits ANOTHER year behind a Qb who can’t play well against top 10 teams. Mason is the man, Murray just cracks vs. top 10 teams.

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:34 pm

Bunn… It’s Aaron Murray dipshi*….

And you are an idiot.

Dawglasville

December 18th, 2012
8:35 pm

Makes the most sense. He and Bennett gives us some real threats.

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:36 pm

When has mason played? Did he light up Alabama’s D? Does he have any SEC passing records? Can he beat Murray out? If he was better he would be the starter.

Get real

Bunn

December 18th, 2012
8:36 pm

Mitchell had the 1 big play against Florida, and that was it, the rest of the season he was just ‘blah’.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 18th, 2012
8:36 pm

WHY did he have to play D this year?
It will be the same reason he needs to play D next year.
Glad he is making it on one side of the ball. Still think he is better on D.

Bunn

December 18th, 2012
8:37 pm

Murray Aron and Hank Aron, two Georgia athletes as different as great and bad.

Bunn

December 18th, 2012
8:38 pm

Yeah, who could have abetter record than 1-10 vs. top 10 teams than Alex Murray? Outstanding. Got some clowns here huh.

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:39 pm

And who cares if Hutson transfers. It sucks for him, but Brice Ramsey is probably the next Georgia QB. Mason may start his senior year, but Ramsey is the future. LeMay is destined to become A clipboard holder/scout team QB.

Outer Banks Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:40 pm

I prefer to think about all the games he’s won the last 2 years.

Moist Dawg

December 18th, 2012
8:41 pm

red stick, you can have as many favorite teams in the sec as you want. I have one and don’t rely on rooting for the rest of the conference to make me happy. It’s sickening.
You can have all the UGA friends you want too. It’ll probably do you good. I chose not to make friends with lsu people because I prefer staying out of jail.

YonderDawg

December 18th, 2012
8:44 pm

Who cares if Alan Murey goes pro when we got Lemay and Mason who are both bette. then again, NO QB ON EARTH can be WORSE than Alan Murey in big games. What do you expect form a QB from Plant High in FLORIDA.

ktOWN

December 18th, 2012
8:46 pm

MuhRah had some huge games where he played so good against power teams like Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. Some QB georgia has there is ARod Muhrah.

Chiefdawg

December 18th, 2012
8:46 pm

If I am Murray, I’m gone.

JumboDawg

December 18th, 2012
8:48 pm

ARod Muhrah, yep, ARod is kind of like the Univ of Ga QB #11. Both put up big numbers, and dissapear when you need em most in the big games.

JumboDawg

December 18th, 2012
8:50 pm

The #1 reason to start Hutson Mason? No QB at Univ of Ga has EVER WON THE SEC that ain’t from the STATE OF GEORGIA.

Murray is from Florida, Lemay is from NC. They didn’t grow up dreaming about being a Bulldawg like Huston and Ramsey did.

SouthWeck

December 18th, 2012
8:54 pm

If you’re murray, get $2,000,000 for signing an NFL contract and being a guaranteed MULTI-MILLIONAIRE in a few weeks while he’s still healthy, or risk getting hurt and make $40,000-$50,000 a year for the next 40 years working some 9-5 job.

SouthWeck

December 18th, 2012
9:00 pm

Russell Wilson got a 3 year deal with Seattle, making $400k then $500k, then $600k, bout $1.5 mill for 3 stinkin years. UNREAL. Would take Murray 30 YEARS to earn that at $50k a year. 3 years or 30 years, tough choice?

leisurelee

December 18th, 2012
9:09 pm

Mike can’t jump in Lake Hartwell……. there’s no water, the lake is 16 feet down from full pool.

run the damn ball

December 18th, 2012
9:10 pm

It would be refreshing if some of these players pledged loyalty to the G, instead of all the g’s they will make in the NFL. Our fan base deserves some committment for all of our heartbreak.

Red Stick

December 18th, 2012
9:19 pm

Moist Dawg,

Please show me where I said I have other “favorite SEC teams”. I am a LSU season ticket holder and have been for 31 years. I support the SEC and if LSU was in another conference I’m sure I would support that one as well.

I will say I laughed when you said “I chose not to make friends with lsu people because I prefer staying out of jail”.

Is that the best you can do? :D

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Murray the millionaire

December 18th, 2012
10:35 pm

I think y’all can beat Nevada in the bowl.

Fair n Balanced

December 18th, 2012
11:00 pm

Simple and correct. Done.

dawglova

December 18th, 2012
11:18 pm

First of all its not Alex Alan or I think I even saw an Andy. It is Aaron. I love how some of you fools no everything about this team; what coaches should do, what’s best for the players, who should start ahead of who, and what position kids should play over the coaches and kids themselves….but don’t know the starting qbs name. Mitchell is twice the player on offense he is on D. Kid is just a difference maker.

dawglova

December 18th, 2012
11:20 pm

If Mason was better he would have started. Not many UGA fans truly appreciate what Murray has been able to do. Yes in the end its about wins and losses but after his freshman year Murray has not cost UGA one single loss.

dawglova

December 18th, 2012
11:26 pm

And by the way, Lemay is not even an option and according to the fox recruiting show his lil bro is backing way off his commitment. Both the Lemays will be playing at North Carolina next yr. Or more likely riding the bench in North Carolina. For those of you thinking he is ever gonna see the field at UGA again you must not have watched this year.

Gator Boy

December 19th, 2012
1:30 am

I think he should only return punts so my Gators can win next year. I would write more but I have to go cut my jeans off into shorts so I can get ready for my BCS game in Orleans. Go Gators #4 in the SEC.

GTDog

December 19th, 2012
1:48 am

Mason won’t transfer now, it’s too late. If he goes now, he sits out a year as a transfer…a worse scenario for him than backing up Murray next year should both return.

Meatlake

December 19th, 2012
4:31 am

@ Red Stick…
The Dogs will have alot of holes to fill on the other side of the ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team lose nearly the entire starting defense like Georgia will after this season.

You don’t have to look too hard to remember back to last year when Alabama lost 9 starters on defense to the NFL. Yes, the same Alabama who is back in the National Championship game…

gomdawg

December 19th, 2012
5:54 am

I think we need to put Lemay at WR and use him ,he is so talented if not he will never play QB.
GO DAWGS