Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Aaron Murray has options at wide receiver
By Edward Aschoff
Aaron Murray would prefer to throw the ball to Malcolm Mitchell rather than by him. But he doesn’t have much of a choice this spring.
Mitchell, who shined during his freshman season at wide receiver with Georgia last year, was moved to cornerback this spring in order to help out with the lack of depth at the position.
“Obviously, it’d be great to have Malcolm play offense and defense, but I don’t think that’s humanly possible to be in that great of shape,” Murray said. “His main goal is to do what’s best for the team, and everyone supports him.”
The move certainly helps the defense, but it takes one of the SEC’s best receiving weapons from one of the SEC’s best passers. Losing Mitchell stings, but Murray thinks the Bulldogs are equipped with the talent to replace Mitchell if he stays on defense this fall.
For starters, Murray will have senior-to-be Tavarres King back on the field. King was expected to be the go-to guy in Georgia’s passing game last season, until Mitchell burst onto the scene. King caught 47 passes for 705 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and had a monster game in Georgia’s bowl loss to Michigan State. King grabbed six catches for 205 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown reception.
Murray said King’s confidence level has soared since the bowl game, and that King has looked “awesome” in preseason workouts and during spring practice. Murray said he thinks he and King are clicking better than ever right now.
“I don’t think he’s dropped a ball at all in the past two months that I’ve been throwing with him,” Murray said.
But King isn’t the only player standing out to Murray. Rising redshirt sophomore Michael Bennett has picked up where he left off in 2011. After catching 32 passes last season, Bennett has only gotten better, Murray said, with his rout running and field awareness. Chris Conley is dealing with a wrist injury this spring, but Murray said he thinks he’ll improve on his 16-catch, 288-yard performance last season.
Youngster Justin Scott-Wesley also took time between track practice to work with Murray and other receivers before spring practice. He obviously brings more speed to the receiver position, but is starting to get more comfortable with the mental side of things.
Then there are the old guys, who Murray thinks can make one last impact on this team in 2012.
Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten have been in Athens a while, but have yet to really show their full potential in their three years. Murray said Brown is almost a different player with the way he prepares and the way he’s looked during workouts. Wooten is someone who has always had the physical tools to succeed, and Murray can sense that he’s putting everything together.
This spring is big for Murray and his receiving corps when it comes to bonding and creating better chemistry, but Murray doesn’t seem too worried about the crop of players he’s working with.
“We have plenty of weapons that are ready to go,” he said.