September 12, 2012

Is Brown's time now?

It's not like Marlon Brown's name hasn't been mentioned before.

Ever since he signed with Georgia four years ago out of Harding (Tenn.) Academy, great things have been predicted for the 6-foot-5 receiver, who at the time was regarded by most as the top prospect from the state of Tennessee.

While his progress has been slower than some might have predicted, this spring Brown was the first one teammates mentioned when asked what receiver had stood out the most.

Brown followed up his strong spring with a solid preseason, cementing his role as one of the Bulldogs' starters at wide receiver, until a hamstring injury forced him from the lineup for Georgia's season-opener against Buffalo.

Saturday, he showed what the fuss had been all about, catching a career-high eight passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns to help spearhead the Bulldogs' 41-20 win.

"That gave me some confidence; that was a pretty big game for me," Brown said. "I feel I will build on that game."

Head coach Mark Richt would love nothing more.

"Marlon was always a very good player and had very good potential I guess you'd say, but he has worked hard," Richt said. "He's made himself to be an outstanding player in my opinion. I think this last ballgame was an indication of some of the things he can do."

His emergence has also helped to soften the blow of Malcolm Mitchell's move to defense, and provided enough depth to allow Georgia to start employing some four receiver sets, like they did late in the second quarter of the Missouri game trailing 10-3.

The new philosophy worked.

Georgia roared back with less than two minutes left to cut the halftime margin to 10-9, before quarterback Aaron Murray continued the assault, eventually completing 22 of 35 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns, including the two to Brown.

"We just started clicking. We started balling," Brown said. "It was me, Rantavious Wooten, Tavarres (King) and Mike Bennett all out there on the field at the same time. It was like pick your poison, and that's what Murray did."

Could Mitchell get some offensive reps?

Ever since he moved over to cornerback back in the spring, one of the most-asked questions of Richt was when Mitchell might once again see some reps at wide receiver.

That day might come very soon.

"He may play some offense this game," Richt said after practice Wednesday. "I'd like to see a couple of snaps anyway."

Had it not been for his sprained ankle, Richt suggested that the Valdosta native may have already seen his opportunity.

"If he had been healthy from the very beginning he'd probably be getting a few more reps offensively," Richt said. "I'm not saying he won't get any this week on offense but it's a little difficult to do in that yesterday he pretty much did scout team only. It's tough to do and I don't want to use him on offense until I know he's feeling great."

Richt expects injured Dawgs to play

Although Wednesday's post-practice injury report featured some of the defense's more prominent names, Richt said he doesn't expect any of the current ailments from keeping them off the field.

"In the NFL you get paid, in college you get to play. I think they all want to play," Richt said. "We want to be careful no matter whom we play, but I think they all want to play."

That list includes Mitchell (left ankle sprain/left shoulder contusion), linebacker Jarvis Jones (right groin strain/right shoulder contusion), linebacker Cornelius Washington (left hamstring strain), nose John Jenkins (right shoulder contusion) and cornerback Damian Swann (right knee contusion).

Backup offensive lineman Watts Dantzler remains out with a sprained ankle.

Dawgs getting close to redshirt decisions

It appears Bulldog coaches are getting close to determining what freshmen wind up redshirting this fall.

"We're getting there. We talked about that a little today," Richt said. "There's one guy who hasn't played a snap yet, but he might."

Richt was speaking of freshman wide receiver Blake Tibbs, who along with quarterback Faton Bauta, offensive lineman Greg Pyke and defensive line Jonathan Taylor are the lone freshmen still waiting to take their first collegiate snap.

"Tibbs is of a little bit similar to Chris Conley to last year. The first game or two he doesn't get in and we think he's not going to play but a couple of things happened with hamstrings. Marlon had something going on, Wooten was already out, and we were like we're not going to make it through the season without playing this kid,' Richt said. "We did play him and we're glad he did, so he's an example of someone who could."

Richt discounts idea of "kicking coach"

The following question was posed to Richt during his post-practice press conference: Would he ever consider bringing in a kicking coach to work with freshman Marshall Morgan?

Absolutely not:

"Some guys as they're growing up, they've got a golf coach, the same guy who's been teaching them to swing that club his whole life and that's the guy he leans on," Richt said. "I think the same is true in kicking."

It certainly is for Morgan, who has worked with renowned kicking coach Tim Conrad throughout his high school career.

"You've got the same guy who has been coaching you and teaching you, and if you got Georgia or somewhere else and somebody tries to change your fundamentals, it might blow them up," Richt said. "So, in some ways I think it's a little more of a blessing that we're not trying to mess them up or coach them up. I try to leave them alone, because they know a lot more about it than I do for sure."

Richt said he's not concerned about Morgan, who boomed field goals of 52 and 41 yards, but missed an extra point and hit the left upright with the other in Saturday's 41-20 win at Missouri.

"I might say something here or there to let them know I have confidence, that I've got faith in him," Richt said. "That's the best thing I can do to contribute."

This and that

Freshman outside linebacker Josh Dawson said he is working at both Will and Sam linebacker. … Prior to kickoff Saturday, interim mascot "Russ" will assume the title as "Uga IX" during a special ceremony with approximately 11 minutes remaining on the pre-game clock. Kickoff will be 7:35 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised live regionally on CSS and also available via ESPN GamePlan and watchespn.com.





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