August 12, 2012

Tibbs knows expectations

After an undefeated season at Martin Luther King high school in 2011, freshman wide receiver Blake Tibbs can already tell that Georgia has high expectations in 2012.

Despite being new to SEC football, the UGA veteran receivers have held him accountable since day one.

"We are looking for a big season. All of us are really focused. The team is really focused, and trying to get to Miami," said Tibbs. "Everyone is working hard in practice every day, and no let offs. The older guys, they don't let you take breaks. They get on to you. If they see you slacking in a route or a drill, they are going to let you know. It's tough out there, but you have to push through it."

Tibbs has been pushed and encouraged so much, that he knows exactly who has been most vocal thus far.

"T.K. (Tavarres King), I mess with him a lot telling him that he is my twin, but he is definitely making sure that I'm running my routes right," he said. "(Rantavious) Wooten, Marlon (Brown), and just the older receivers out there. Its mental out there and not just physical. They make sure I'm keeping my head in the game out there and when I make a mistake they tell me 'its alright, come out and make the next play.'"

As the only receiver that Georgia signed in the 2012 class, Tibbs is grateful to have all of the veteran pass catchers to himself when it comes to learning to play the position at a higher level.

"It's real good. The experience of knowing you're not just out there by yourself," said Tibbs. "I play the same position as T.K. so in practice I'm following behind him every where he goes just to see what he's going, what he's not doing, and what he needs to work on. So when I get in, I can do it a little better or probably do it the same as he is doing it."

So far, Tibbs has opened a few eyes in fall camp and mainly those of Head Coach Mark Richt who has singled the MLK product out as a "smooth athlete and smooth route runner."

Richt also stated that it would be up to Tibbs how much he would play or not depending on how much of the offense he is able to pick up.

According to the former three-star receiver, growth is something he is experience on a day-to-day basis.

"It's a day-by-day thing. The playbook is way bigger than my high school play book," Tibbs said with a smile. "You've got to study a little more, but it's a day-by-day thing. We go through walkthroughs, and you have to take it all in. It is just a lot right now. I have trouble every now and then but nothing to major, and if I have questions, I ask. I don't hesitate to ask questions to make sure I'm getting something right."

While fall practice has been hot, humid, and full of hard work, one thing you won't hear the 6-foot-1, 180-pound receiver complain about is the opportunity he has received to show what he can do.

He believes that chance comes every day.

"The coaches, they definitely give you a chance to shine and show what you have," said Tibbs. "Every time I get my chance, I try to do my best to shine and show them what I can do, even if I'm not scout team. They had me on scout team kick return, and I tried to break it against the starting kick return so that I could show them what I can do on special teams. Any opportunity they give me, I try to make the best out of it."

Wearing the number eight jersey, especially for a wide receiver, is a big responsibility now that A.J. Green has moved on to the NFL and was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Tibbs admits that he has heard a little chatter about him wearing the jersey, but while he is honored to be wearing the number of a Georgia great, he hopes to attach his name to the number as well.

"I've heard a couple of comments, but I'm going to try and get my own legacy behind it," said Tibbs. "I know that A.J. Green was a great receiver here and is a great receiver in the league, but I'm going to try and make my own legacy behind the number and see what happens."

Although Tibbs has put in the hard work and feels he has taken the correct approach to his first fall camp, he, like most freshmen, has not been immune to at least one "welcome to the next level" moment.

"The first day we were in shells, I came for a crack block. Not even a crack, just a block on (Bacarri) Rambo," said Tibbs. "He just lowered his shoulder and put me on my butt. That was my first SEC big hit. That woke me up. I needed that. It just showed me that I'm at a whole other level."

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