Georgia’s passing game hasn’t exactly been hurting while playmaking receiver Malcolm Mitchell was sidelined the past three games with a pulled left hamstring.
Quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 733 yards while Mitchell missed games against Vanderbilt, Florida and New Mexico State.
Now the No. 14 Bulldogs look like they will get Mitchell back for Saturday’s key game against No. 24 Auburn.
“I’m convinced he’ll be ready to play,” coach Mark Richt said after Wednesday’s practice, Mitchell’s most extensive work since his injury. “I think it’s great. It’s just more guys that can make plays for us and more guys that will be able to share the load.”
Mitchell has 25 catches and still leads the team with 438 receiving yards to go along with three touchdowns.
“I’m just a little help,” the freshman said with a smile after Wednesday’s practice. “I ain’t too much. … They’ve been doing really good. I wouldn’t expect no less from them.”
Richt said that Mitchell “practiced a lot. He ran full speed in my mind. He might not have been full speed, but he looked pretty close to running full speed, changing direction, jumping, catching balls.”
Mitchell said he sat out one or two drills.
“I’m feeling good,” Mitchell said.. “I’m encouraged. Today was a good day.”
Mitchell pulled the hamstring on a 71-yard catch against Tennessee on Oct. 8., but tried to return on Oct. 24 prior to the Florida game, but left practice early.
“I think I took it a little bit too fast last time,” Mitchell said. “I came out trying to sprint the first day. I reaggravated it pretty bad.”
Mitchell said he ran full-speed about 30 yards downfield and hopes to do more in this afternoon’s practice.
“I’ll probably open it up,” he said. “I’m testing it. If there’s a time to test it, it’s now so I’ll know I’m ready before Saturday.”
Richt’s brush with Missouri
Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference next season.
It’s a program that Richt got to know when he interviewed to be head coach there in November 2000 while still the Florida State offensive coordinator.
“My wife and I thought a lot about going to Columbia,” Richt said, “and what the city was like and what it might be like for our young family and we had a lot of positive thoughts and feelings about the possibility of going to Missouri. We thought it might be a really good fit for us.”
Gary Pinkel became the Missouri coach. Richt was hired at Georgia a month later.
“I did not go to the University of Missouri to interviews,” said Richt, who interviewed with athletic director Mike Alden in Tallahasssee, according to a report then.
Missouri’s addition to the SEC East comes a year too late for tight end AronWhite, who calls Columbia home.
“So bummed,” White said. “I would have loved to play Missouri, especially my senior year. It would have been a great experience. Those coaches are guys who recruited me a lot and I got to see because I was that hometown kid.”
Missouri was the first school to offer White and he said Pinkel and staff stayed on him even after he committed to Georgia.
“It was really hard to turn them down just because I did grow up a Tiger fan,” said White, who wanted to get away from home and play in the SEC.
Eye on Bulldogs
Junior linebacker Christian Robinson said he’s never played a game in Sanford Stadium with as much on the line as there will be Saturday when Georgia plays Auburn hoping to win the SEC East.
“I’m really excited,” Robinson said. “It’s been a while since CBS has been here for a game.”
The last game was Georgia’s 20-13 loss to LSU on Oct. 3, 2009, when A.J. Green was called for excessive celebration after a 16-yard touchdown catch. The SEC determined the penalty should not have been called.
This and that
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (MCL sprain) was limited to scout work in practice on Wednesday, but Richt expects him to play. … Freshman offensive lineman Xzavier Ward, who is redshirting this season, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, according to Georgia. Ward, from Colquitt County, suffered a torn ACL in February.