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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Notes: Consistency Eludes Dawgs' Receivers

One of the biggest questions on Georgia’s offense entering the season surrounded the group of wide receivers hoping to establish themselves as a consistent second option after A.J. Green. While several players have shown flashes of potential, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said none have truly emerged.

While Green has missed nearly all of the final four games of the season, his 47 receptions still more than double anyone else on the roster. The No. 2 receiver in terms of catches is senior Michael Moore, who will play his final game next week.

That leaves a group of younger players still searching for consistency, Bobo said. Tight end Orson Charles’ 21 catches were the high-water mark among returning players other than Green, while Tavarres King finished second on the team in receiving yards with 377 on 18 receptions. The rest of the returning wide receivers – Rantavious Wooten, Israel Troupe and Marlon Brown – combined for just 16 receptions and 302 yards this year.

“I think all guys showed flashes of ability to make plays, but we didn’t have a consistent guy at those spots,” Bobo said. “But they showed flashes and a lot to build on going into the offseason. We have talent there, but it’s just a matter of them doing it on a consistent basis.”


Texas A&M is far from a familiar opponent for Georgia – the two teams haven’t played since 1980, when the Bulldogs won 42-0 – but they do have a bit of common ground. The Aggies and Bulldogs played two common opponents this season, and neither met with much success.

Georgia dropped its season opener against Oklahoma State 24-10 on Sept. 5. The Cowboys provided a similar fate to Texas A&M, dropping the Aggiest 36-31 on Oct. 10.

Both team have also played against Arkansas, with A&M falling 47-19 on Oct. 3 and Georgia pulling out a victory on Sept. 19, but still allowing 41 points.

So, what can Mark Richt and the Bulldogs take from those early season matchups? Not much, according to Georgia’s head coach.

“People want to compare like opponents, but I think football is a game where some teams match up better against a team, and they might have matched up better against Okie State than we did,” Richt said. “I’m not sure if you can look at those common games and figure out what’s going to happen. All I can tell you is they’re very talented and well coached and they’ll take everything we’ve got.”


December has been a hectic month for defensive line coach Rodney Garner – and not because of any last-minute Christmas shopping.

As the lone holdover from Georgia’s defensive staff after coordinator Willie Martinez and two other coaches were dismissed earlier this month, Garner has worked as the de facto defensive leader, taken on the responsibility of coaching the full defensive line as opposed to his previous role as tackles coach, worked on the film preparation and game-plan implementation as the Bulldogs prepare for Texas A&M and has spent much of the month out on the road recruiting.

“We spent a lot of time, and it was hard,” Garner said. “There were a lot of days I worked in the a.m. and then went out recruiting. Some days I didn’t go out recruiting at all, just so I could get a good feel for their offense. We’re just trying to get these kids the best game plan so they can go out and compete.”

While it has been a bit of a Herculean effort for Garner, he has had some help. Graduate assistants Mitch Doolittle and Todd Hartley are also helping to coach the defense, while injured senior Rod Battle has overseen much of the practice time for the defensive ends when Garner has been working on drills with the tackles.

It has been an adjustment, Garner said, but he doesn’t mind the challenge. And should Richt decide to keep him on as the coach of the full defensive line – something Richt speculated about when considering bringing on a full-time special teams coach – Garner said he’d be fine with the added responsibilities.

“I think Coach Richt has to decide what he feels is best for the staff,” Garner said. “Once he makes those decisions and fills out those assignments, you’re going to do what you’re asked to do. I don’t know which way he’s going to go, and he has not discussed anything with us other than that he’s looking.”

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