On the eve of spring practices, Mike Bobo offered some insight.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre in need of skill on this football team, really, at receiver and defensive back,‚Äù the Georgia offensive coordinator said.
Coaches decided to move J.J. Green, a tailback last season, to the secondary after considering him as a slot receiver.
Then receiver Malcolm Mitchell‚Äôs spring work ended quickly with a left leg injury in the first practice.
Justin Scott-Wesley was already limited to running this spring as he returns from a torn ACL, leaving Georgia receivers coach Tony Ball with Reggie Davis and Jonathon Rumph as the top players behind Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. Walk-on Kenneth Towns fills out the fifth spot.
Ball and Bobo mentioned last week that Davis ‚Äî a sophomore from Tallahassee, Fla., who had 11 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown last season ‚Äî has caught their eye this spring.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs utilizing his biggest asset, which is his speed,‚Äù Ball said, ‚Äúbut also learning how to use other little things, to create space and get himself open. He‚Äôs made some big strides and his attitude‚Äôs been great. He wants to work and he has been working.‚Äù
Davis has led all players with 123 receiving yards on six catches with a touchdown in two spring scrimmages. The 6-foot-5, 208-pound Rumph has caught the most passes, 10 for 90 yards and a touchdown while staying healthy after dealing with a hamstring injury last season.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs made some acrobatic catches,‚Äù Ball said. ‚ÄúThat would lead one to believe he‚Äôs having a great spring. He‚Äôs making some tough catches, some off-balance catches, and those are impressive. But he‚Äôs also working extremely hard at getting better and improving his game.‚Äù
Rumph had seven catches for 121 yards in five games last season after arriving from Holmes (Miss.) Community College.
His route-running and ability to play fast still need work, but he‚Äôs making the play when the ball is in the air, Bobo said.
‚ÄúWhen he came in, he kind of had a JUCO mentality that he could kind of outmuscle guys and outjump guys but you can‚Äôt do that in the SEC,‚Äù said Bennett, who returned to practice Tuesday after an ankle injury kept him out of Saturday‚Äôs scrimmage. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs just done a much better job of listening to Coach Ball and taking to coaching and making it happen.‚Äù
Blake Tibbs, a scholarship player from Lithonia entering his redshirt sophomore season, still hasn‚Äôt made much of a move this spring while dealing with what Ball called nagging injuries.
Other players‚Äô numbers were called over Tibbs last season when injuries plagued Georgia‚Äôs offense.
‚ÄúI guess the coaches didn‚Äôt feel like I was ready,‚Äù Tibbs said. ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt question them or anything, I just let the chips fall where they may and took what they gave me.‚Äù
Tibbs hopes to make an impact in any way he can, even if that starts with special teams.
‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got to grow with the game and you‚Äôve got to know what you‚Äôre doing, that‚Äôs the first thing,‚Äù Ball said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got to do that every day and you‚Äôve got to earn that trust of the staff. That‚Äôs the one area where he struggled. This spring he‚Äôs matured. He wants to play other positions. That‚Äôs a sign of maturity. He gets it. He just has to keep getting better and earn our trust.‚Äù
Tibbs said redshirting and then playing in only two games last year has him ‚Äúhungry‚Äù to get snaps now.
He carried an iPad after a recent practice to watch film and critique how he did.
‚ÄúIn the offseason, I‚Äôve grinded harder than I did the past two seasons,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúNow I‚Äôm out there more confident and am trying to make more plays to show coaches I belong out there on the field.‚Äù
Georgia also has redshirt freshman Uriah LeMay at receiver.
Moving safety Tramel Terry back to receiver or somebody else on defense could be discussed.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs something,‚Äù Bobo said, ‚Äúwe‚Äôll evaluate probably after spring and let everybody get a fair shot.‚Äù
Follow Marc online at twitter.com/marcweiszer.