December 27, 2010

King has room to improve

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tavarres King swears he has no idea if A.J. Green is going to forgo his senior year at Georgia and apply for the NFL Draft.

Conventional wisdom suggests he probably will. But whatever his decision, as King prepares for Friday's AutoZone Liberty Bowl game against UCF, he says it won't affect the way he plans on preparing for the upcoming fall.

"I don't know what his plans are, but regardless of what he does I'm going to try and prepare myself to be a marquee guy for this offense," said King. "After the season is over, I'm going to sit down with the coaches and try to figure out how I can help this team a little more, to hopefully put us back on the map."

In his first two years, King has slowly been making steady strides.

After catching 18 balls for 377 yards as a redshirt freshman, King made 23 grabs for 471 yards and three touchdowns heading into Saturday's contest.
Green believes King has the ability to play a bigger role.

"T.K. can step up, no question," said Green, who roomed with King this year for road games. "He can definitely be one of our leaders and I know he will step up if I decide to leave."

King said he would love to use Friday's game against UCF as a positive next step.

"I'm still growing," King said. "Last year was my first full season and even though I made a couple of plays, I also left a lot of plays on the field. This year, I've tried to eliminate the bad plays and dropped passes, things like that. I've felt I've done a decent job but it's still a learning process. I'm looking forward to seeing how I can continue to grow next year."

If Green does as many expect and leaves for the greener pastures of the NFL, the Bulldogs will certainly be depending on King more than ever before.

With second-leading receiver Kris Durham graduating, King, Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten, Israel Troupe and Logan Gray will be the only receivers back with any experience, although freshman Michael Bennett has been wowing teammates with his scout-team work for most of the year.

"He's been making plays since he got here," King said. "He's an athlete, a very, very good athlete. He kind of reminds me of Kris (Durham), another White Lightning because of the way he goes to get the ball. He's definitely a guy I can see making plays next year."

The Bulldogs currently have commitments from three receivers - Christian Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley and Devin Bowman.

However, depending on true freshmen to make an immediate impact can be a ticklish situation for sure.

Just ask King, who conceded confidence remained somewhat of a problem until this year.

"In college, confidence is everything. In high school, you have that swagger from Day One," he said. "But in college, you have to get that back and the only way to make that happen is to go out and make plays."

King said his confidence actually began to grow during practice and not in an actual game.

"It was all about going out and making plays on the ball and in scrimmages, taking hits and just being tough about it," King said. "Once you start doing it in practice, you can just carry it over to the field which was fun."

Now, it's a matter of perfecting the lessons he's learned.

"You've got to be real consistent in this offense," King said. "At this position, it's all about being precise and that's what I've got to do to try and become a more consistent player."

NOTES: Georgia participated in its first of three practices at the Memphis University School on Monday morning as the Bulldogs prepare for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl versus No. 24 UCF on Friday, Dec. 31. "This school is a nice place," said head coach Mark Richt. "We were looking for a practice facility and a school that also had a place for us to eat and this has been great. We knew it could rain or snow so we looked for a facility with a quality turf field. It's nice here and I think the best option for us." ... Richt discussed the Bulldogs' running game. "Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas will carry the load for us and could get up to a combined 25 or 30 carries," said Richt. "This is a great opportunity for them since Caleb (King) and Shaun (Chapas) will be out." ... Sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch, a native of Dartmouth, Mass., is still trying to get to Memphis after being delayed because of inclement weather. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Love, a native of Glen Allen, Va., arrived during the first period of Monday's practice after also experiencing weather delays.

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