Arthur Lynch wasn’t excited about taking a redshirt and running scout team last season after he had played the year before.
But he found a way to use the situation to his advantage and at the same time take out some frustration on the first-team defense and their coordinator Todd Grantham.
“When you’re going against the first-team defense on the scout team, you want to make them look bad,” Lynch said. “If I saw coach Grantham mad at them, it would put a smile on my face”
Lynch was responsible for the first-team defense’s taking some extra conditioning at least once when he was on the scout team.
“We were working them on wheel routes and you could hear the whole defense, coaches and everything yelling, ‘Watch the wheel route, watch the wheel route,’ ” Lynch said. “But I went out, ran a wheel route and caught a touchdown and it was just chaos over there. I’d heard them yelling to watch the wheel route, so I figured I wasn’t going to get the ball, but I ended up going for a touchdown.
“When I was running back to the huddle, I just looked at Shawn (Williams) and said, ‘They said watch the wheel route.’ Shawn just shook his head and said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ It was funny.”
Lynch, a 6-foot-5, 272-pound tight end from Dartmouth, Mass., returned to front-line work this preseason and has established a spot in the rotation alongside Aron White and Orson Charles. He caught two passes for 35 yards in Wednesday’s scrimmage.
“Arthur looks great,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said after Wednesday’s scrimmage. “He had a couple of catches today and one of them he broke for about 20-plus (yards). I think he broke two tackles and turned up the sideline. He’s about 270 pounds and I don’t think any one person can tackle him, you’ve got to get two or three guys on him. But he looked great today in practice — really, really great.”
Lynch played 11 games and started one as a freshman in 2009, which was also the same season that Bruce Figgins redshirted.
In 2010, Georgia faced a logjam of four junior and sophomore tight ends and settled on a rotation of White, Charles and Figgins. The coaching staff sat down Lynch for the season and created a little more balance between classes.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since I’ve been here,” Lynch said. “It was tough and I’m not going to say I was the best sport about it. I felt some sort of animosity — not toward any of the coaches or any of the players, but toward myself. I wondered what I did to get into that situation. But it wasn’t bad. I think the coaches put my best interests in their mindset and I’m glad it happened and I think I’m better for it.”
Although White, Figgins and Charles returned this season, the departures of senior fullbacks Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmeier created room for Lynch to move into the rotation.
Figgins was the blocking and short-yardage specialist last season, but slid into the starting fullback’s role. That leaves Lynch as the favorite to step in for Figgins in the power formations to complement the downfield pass-catching ability of White and Charles.
“My objective as a football player is obviously different from Orson’s and Aron’s,” Lynch said. “I can’t do the same things they can do. I think my main attribute is my ability to block. In short-yardage and goal-line situations, hopefully they’ll have the confidence to run behind me.”
Blocking has always been one of Lynch’s strengths. So when he played on the scout team, he tried to hone his pass-catching skills, which could come in handy on the goal line. Figgins only caught four passes last season, but two of them were for touchdowns.
“My ability to run routes and the techniques that go along with running routes have improved,” Lynch said. “I’m better at creating space in traffic and becoming more of a technician in that. There’s really kind of a science to it. A 12-yard dig is not just running a straight 12 (yards) and square in. There’s so much more to it, like creating space and reading the defense.”
Murray has seen Lynch’s improved route-running first-hand and likes the results.
“He’s definitely a big target,” Murray said. “He does with that, creating space and he really uses his body well out there.”
NOTES: Television personality and former Georgia volleyball and basketball player Maria Taylor got a look at Georgia’s new uniforms for the season opener against Boise State. She tweeted that the uniform includes red jersey and pants, black belt, silver helmet with a red stripe and black and silver shoes. Richt listed Branden Smith as the No. 1 punt returner and Brandon Boykin as No. 2 punt returner after Thursday’s special teams practice. He also said that freshmen Malcolm Mitchell and Damian Swann are in competition for No. 3. Richt said Isaiah Crowell returned to practice for a couple of 11-on-11 snaps while wearing a green jersey. Crowell has been nursing a groin injury since last week. Offensive lineman Chris Burnette and defensive end Derrick Lott also returned to practice.
No outside items at Picture Day
Fan picture day will be held Saturday for all Georgia sports teams in Reed Plaza on the north side of Sanford Stadium.
Because of recent public issues regarding student-athlete autographs across the country, no outside items may be brought to picture day. The Georgia Athletic Association will provide each fan two free schedule posters to be signed by the players and coaches. No other items will be permitted.
Georgia interim mascot Russ and members of Georgia teams other than football will be available from 1-3 p.m. Georgia football players and coaches will be available from 3-5 p.m.