Georgia football notebook: Offense bracing for life without Mitchell

HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia’s offense already was braced to start the season with explosive receiver Malcolm Mitchell focused on playing cornerback.

Add on top of that leading rusher Isaiah Crowell dismissed and that’s one less playmaker on offense.

Senior receiver Tavarres King isn’t sweating what that could mean for him.

“No added pressure,” said King, who led Georgia with 47 catches for 705 yards and eight touchdowns last season after “I don’t feel that pressure is added to me. I’m just going to continue to do what I do and that’s try to be consistent for this team. I feel like we’ve got enough people in the backfield that can get the job done, guys that have played significant snaps. I think we’re going to be fine.”

Senior Richard Samuel is the most experienced in a group that includes redshirt sophomore Ken Malcome and freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley.

“We’ve got some really good backs on this football team,” coach Mark Richt said. “It certainly will change Richard Samuel’s role, I would think. He was transitioning to at least the hybrid tailback/fullback for us, but I don’t think he’ll be getting an awful lot of time at fullback now.”

Malcome is the No. 1 tailback for now, but Richt didn’t discount Samuel making a run at the job.

“I have no idea what camp is going to look like,” Richt said. “It is wide open for those guys.”

Richt still developing full plan for Mitchell

Richt detailed how he envisions using Mitchell this season on both defense and offense as the fall progresses.

Mitchell worked virtually all spring at cornerback in preparation to help a depleted secondary to start the season.

“As the season rolls along, you’ll see more of a fix, closer to 50-50 offense and defense,” Richt said.

King is convinced that Mitchell can be a playmaker on either side of the ball.

“I think Malcolm is in a league of his own,” King said. “He’s phenomenal player. Hats off to him for embracing that when coaches asked him to do something for his team by playing DB.”

Jones: Finger injury no cause for concern

No need to cringe, Bulldog Nation, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said the wrap on the index finger on his right hand was just a minor mishap that happened at home on Thursday before flying from Athens to Alabama for Southeastern Conference Media Days.

“I cut it trying to cut an orange,” he said. “I washed my hand and it started off bleeding.”

Jones was downing a bag of Golden Flake dill pickle potato chips when he was the last of 42 players this week to enter the main media room. The wait didn’t bother him.

“As long as I get something to eat, something to drink every now and then, I’m fine,” Jones said.

Teammates King and Abry Jones were nearly finished with their sessions when Jones arrived.

“I met a lot of great people today,” Jarvis Jones said. “It’s been fun.”

Hicks, Gurley among freshmen to watch

Freshman fullback Quayvon Hicks is impressing his older teammates.

First, linebacker Christian Robinson tweeted this week, “Expecting Quayvon Hicks to have a big season. Works his tail off and leads his freshman group. #HardWorkPaysOff”

Then Abry Jones brought up Hicks’ name when asked about freshmen who have stood out.

“He’s really stepped up to be a leader of that freshmen class,” Abry Jones said. “When we have our team runs on Thursday, he’s always leading the pack.”

Jarvis Jones mentioned the athleticism of Gurley, cornerback Sheldon Dawson and outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Josh Dawson and James DeLoach.

“What I try to do with them is try to break the high school habits,” Jarvis Jones said of the linebackers. “They have that bad, bad, bad technique from high school where they will just bull over a lineman. I try to tell them, ‘Look, man, you’re not going to be able to do that in college.”

Quick hits

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, a second-team All-SEC pick, didn’t make his second straight appearance here because he was working at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in California. Richt was asked how former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenbger, now starting for LSU, would fit in if he were still at Georgia. “Oh, I don’t know,” Richt said. “He’d be competing to be the starter, if not being the starter.” …Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was asked about South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier saying he wished he would have Georgia’s schedule and play Ole Miss instead of LSU. “I heard he said something in that regard,” Freeze said. “I guess my thought would be 2013, they’re on our schedule. We will circle that date and maybe change his perspective about what he thinks about Ole Miss football.” The SEC has actually yet to release the 2013 SEC schedule.

…Richt on why he wouldn’t favor expanding a four-team playoff to 16 one day. “I just hate to see a day where we might play Florida, and whether you win or lose, you still go to the playoffs, no one thinks it’s that big of a deal.”

Georgia football quick hitters: Swann misses practice, Langley back...

by Marc Weiszer

Georgia coach Mark Richt is among 20 semifinalists named Wednesday to the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year. Alabama’s Nick Saban, Ole Miss’ Hugh... Full Story

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