UGA football notebook: Teammates express confidence in Mitchell’s defensive abilities

Malcolm Mitchell’s teammates like what they’ve seen from the sophomore after two days of playing defense in spring practice.

His biggest critic so far might be Georgia’s top receiver from last season — that would be Mitchell himself.

“It’s been rough having to learn everything on the run,” Mitchell said. “Of course, I just got the material maybe two weeks before we started. It’s been fun, though.”

Mitchell, a highly rated cornerback recruit out of Valdosta, has no doubt he’ll be good to go in time for the season opener Sept. 1 against Buffalo.

“I’d say he can do it,” inside linebacker Christian Robinson said. “He’s breaking on balls quicker. Even in warmups, he’s out there barking at people saying, ‘Look at me, look at me.’ He’s not cocky. He works hard and is trying to be the best.”

Said cornerback Damian Swann: “He’s going to be tremendous. He’s going to help us a lot whenever he needs to play DB.”

The plan is for the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Mitchell to work almost exclusively at cornerback this spring at a position thinned by dismissals and suspensions.

“In order for Malcolm Mitchell to really be able to function back there, I felt like he needed really the entire spring to really know what to do and be able to get his technique to the point where he could really play SEC football when the season begins,” coach Mark Richt said. “If we tried to split practice and split meetings in spring, he would just get lost.”

Mitchell will be limited to “spot play” on offense in the first two weeks of the season, Richt said, while he helps out at cornerback.

“It may be a blessing,” Richt said. “The guy’s a player.”

The ring’s the thing

Georgia players received their Southeastern Conference Eastern Division championship rings on Wednesday.

“We got a little bling bling, you know,” senior safety Bacarri Rambo said. “I’m going to wear mine around campus tomorrow. We know we’ve got to show them off. I’m not going to have my hands in my pocket at all. I’m going to walk with my hands by my side the whole time and let it shine in the sun.”

The rings have a big red Georgia “G” in the middle.

“These rings are nice,” receiver Chris Conley posted on his Twitter account, one of several players to tweet out photos. “But I’m ready to earn a bigger one. #miami 2012.” The BCS title game at the end of the 2012 season is in Miami.

Rambo said he figures his mother will soon have possession of his ring.

“I’m going to enjoy it while I have it,” Rambo said.

Drew adjusting to work on D-line

Ray Drew is preparing his body to handle life on the defensive line.

“Since I’m going to be playing there no matter what, I would like to put on the weight so that I can hold my own whenever I’m down there,” said Drew, a sophomore who played outside linebacker last season but has practiced as a defensive end the first two practices.

The 6-foot-5, 269-pound Drew still wouldn’t mind getting up in the 275-pound range this fall..

He expects by the time his Georgia career is over he’ll be in the 285- to 290-pound range.

Drew was a five-start recruit out of Thomasville who had eight tackles last season in limited playing time.

Asked if he’s more comfortable with his hand in the dirt, Drew said the positions are somewhat similar “just one is more wider than the other and then the occasional drop. I just like to be in a position where I can put pressure on the quarterback, stop the run and make plays. I’m a player. That’s what I like to do.”

Commings sentenced to probation, counseling

Cornerback Sanders Commings pleaded guilty Tuesday in State Court in Athens to misdemeanor charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct stemming from a January arrest.

He received 12 months probation and was fined $200 plus surcharges, according to a court clerk. His case was heard by Judge Charles Auslander. Commings had an arraignment scheduled for today. He pleaded as a first-time offender.

Commings, represented by Athens attorney Ed Tolley, also must serve 40 hours of community service, undergo substance abuse and anger management counseling.

Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General C.R. Chisholm said last week that the maximum jail time for simple battery is 12 months, but that most simple battery cases do not result in jail time.

The senior was suspended last month by Richt for two games. He started every game last season and was tied for fourth on the team with 55 tackles.

He was arrested on the morning of Jan. 21 on a charge of domestic violence/simple battery after police said Commings hit a woman in downtown Athens who had lived with him.

This and that

Linebacker Ramik Wilson from Tampa was absent for the second straight day. He is expected to return today after the death of his father last week, according to Georgia. … Conley continues to practice in a non-contact jersey with a a cast on his left wrist. … Sophomore Corey Moore said he’s been working strictly at safety and hasn’t gotten reps at cornerback this spring. … Georgia will put on pads for the first time this spring today.

Blog: And away they go! Georgia hits the practice field

by Marc Weiszer

  There is football again on the Georgia practice fields. The Bulldogs first preseason practice meant a lot of teaching, correcting and getting on players by... Full Story

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