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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Catching On

For the past month or so, there has been plenty of talk about how deep Georgia wide receiving corps was this year. It's hard to argue with that -- eight receivers have catches already. The beauty of the group, according to many of the receivers, is how each seems to excel in one or two areas that compliment the rest well. So I decided to do some research to find out who was the best at each of the necessary skills a wide receiver must employ.

The results are hardly scientific, but the responses really didn't have much variety. I spoke with 10 different Bulldogs, from coaches to quarterbacks to DBs to many of the wide receivers. Some voters abstained from voting in some categories, and I let others submit multiple votes in the same category, so the numbers may not add up completely. The story appears in Thursday's Telegraph and Ledger-Enquirer, but here's a more detailed analysis of the results.

FASTEST: Tavarres King (six votes), Demiko Goodman (three votes), Tony Wilson and A.J. Green (one vote each).

What they had to say:

"If all of us lined up, I think I'd get every one of them," Wilson said.

"We have a lot of fast guys," King said. "Demiko's a track star, A.J. can get out of the blocks real good, Mo can move when he's not feeling like an old man, but I have to go with myself."

"He's a guy that can change the game whenever he's got the ball in his hands because he's able to pull away from people," Massaquoi said of Goodman.

Kenneth Harris on Goodman: "Once he gets going, he's hard to stop."

Kris Durham on transferring speed into performance: "You have to cut a lot. Some people can go straight ahead and they're just blazing fast, but once they have to turn their hips or cut on a dime, they're not quite able to do that."

MOST ATHLETIC: A.J. Green (seven votes), Kris Durham (two votes), Mohamed Massaquoi (two votes), Kenneth Harris (two votes), Walter Hill (one vote).

What they had to say:

Tony Wilson on Massaquoi's athleticism: "He's going to give it every inch of effort he's got in his body, and he competes like that day in and day out."

Wilson on Green: "Every time the ball is in the air, you just say, Oh, man, there he goes. He's going to get it.' "

Joe Cox on Harris: "He can jump out the gym."

Durham on Green: "He's a freak of nature"

Harris on Green: "He can just go up, twist his body around and go get it, he can run."

CJ Byrd on Green: "He's got pretty much everything in him. He's the total package."

Mark Richt on Green: "He just has a gift to really extend himself and snatch the ball."

Tony Wilson (nine votes), Demiko Goodman (one vote), Mohamed Massaquoi (one vote).

What they had to say:

Wilson on his blocking: "That's my nature. I like to try to get Knowshon an extra yard or two."

"You can go watch as much film as you want to," Harris said. "Tony's a physical blocker and everybody knows that."

Durham on Wilson's leadership in preaching blocking: "Tony's kind of led the way with his technique."

"Tony's not afraid to throw his body in there and get scrappy," King said.

"Usually you have the clich of the receiver who just wants to catch balls, but we have a good mix of receivers here who like to block and get physical," Asher Allen said of the Bulldogs' receivers.

BEST ROUTE RUNNER: Mohamed Massaquoi and Kenneth Harris (six votes each), Tavarres King (two votes), Israel Troupe and A.J. Green (one vote each).

What they had to say:

Wilson on Tavarres King: "He's amazing at running routes, being patient through the routes. Right now, I'd say Kenny Harris, but if you ask me about this a year or two down the road, it'd be TK."

Allen on King and Green: "I think him and A.J., you wouldn't think they were true freshman, just because of the confidence and attitude they have."

King on his own route running: "In high school, my coach was awesome, and he taught me a lot about how to run routes, so I credit him for that."

Prince Miller on Massaquoi: "He's a veteran, he's been here four years, so he runs good routes. These guys come in, they're very athletic, and they use that, but as you get older, you learn how to run the routes so much better."

Harris on Massaquoi: "Mohamed is one of the best route runners we have around here."

Durham on route running: "Kenneth on a little curl route runs amazingly, Troupe has a great takeoff, Mike runs a good slant, Tavarres has great moves off the line, it just depends on what route it is."

MOST PHYSICAL: Tony Wilson (nine votes), Mohamed Massaquoi (two votes), A.J. Green (one vote).

What they had to say:

Joe Cox on the importance of Georgia's physical wide receivers: "You watch film of a lot of other teams and when they're running the ball, their receivers are just chillin, not getting their hands on anybody. It always helps the offense a lot when you have a receiver that will go in and put his nose on somebody."

Harris on Wilson's play: "He's the most physical receiver we have. He loves contact."

Miller on why Wilson is so physical: "I guess that's how he grew up playing."

King on Wilson teaching the young receivers to play physical: "We laugh about it all the time. It's fun to watch, and I think we pride ourselves on being tough receivers. If you ask our DBs, they'll tell you we're different. We get after it more than anybody else in the SEC."

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE: Tony Wilson and Mohamed Massaquoi (five votes each), Kenneth Harris (two votes), Kris Durham (one vote).

What they had to say:

Wilson on teaching the young receivers: "When TK and AJ got here, I asked coaches to make a coverage tape for them, I gave it to them and helped them understand the coverage because I believe that if you understand the coverage, once the play starts and they jump into a different coverage, you know what to do. Football is just like school, trying to get a degree. You've got to study."

Allen on Durham, Harris and Massaquoi: "They always seem to be open on plays."

King on Wilson and Massaquoi: "They can read defenses like that (snaps fingers), which is kind of hard to do."

Massaquoi on Harris: "He's a guy that's seen it all, he's been around through the (David) Greene era, the (Fred) Gibson era, the Reggie Brown era. He's seen a lot, and he knows what it takes to win, what it takes to be in the right position."

Harris on what makes Wilson so good: "Just knowing everything, knowing every position. We know a lot about the receiving corps, but Tony knows a lot more about defenses."

Durham on Massaquoi: "Mohamed has great knowledge, studies the game real well."

Durham on Wilson: "In high school, he was a running back and receiver, so he kind of knows how everything works."

BEST HANDS: Kris Durham (six votes), Mohamed Massaquoi (three votes), A.J. Green (two votes), Kenneth Harris (one vote).

What they had to say:

Allen on Durham: "Kris catches colds. He catches everything. He'd catch a fly in the air."

King on the receivers' overall ability to make catches: "If you go in there and look at the film, you see all of the guys snagging balls."

Durham on how much it hurts to drop a pass: "You try to forget it. I remember in the game last week, I dropped one going across the middle, and that's the only thing that stuck in my head. People were saying Good game, good game,' and all I could think of was three plays two where I missed a block and the one where I dropped the past. That's all I could remember."

MOST UNDERRATED: Michael Moore (six votes), Demiko Goodman (three votes), Kenneth Harris (two votes), Kris Durham (one vote).

What they had to say:

Joe Cox on Moore: "He had a couple good games last year, but he had a really good spring this year and a good camp and I expect big things from him this year."

Allen on Harris: "He had a great camp. He just had an injury, but he works really hard, plays through injuries. He's a hard worker on and off the field."

Massaquoi on Goodman: "He's better than people give him credit for."

Harris on Moore: "You've started to see a little bit more of it with Mike Moore. He's been out there in the first two games making plays."

Durham on Goodman: "He shows up at the right time. Last year at Tennesee, when we needed a spark, he got a touchdown for us. People don't see how good he actually is."

Durham on Moore: "People are going to start seeing flashes of how good Mike could be. He runs great routes, catches the ball really well, and he's probably one of our best once he's got the ball in his hands making people miss."

Richt on Moore: "He's a great kid. He's been working his tail off. If you just look at his body type up close, you can tell he works out in the weight room, he runs smooth routes, he's got good hands. For whatever reason it's taken him a while to really get on track, but I think our coaches, our quarterbacks really have confidence in him now, and I'm sure he's gained confidence in himself."

King, after being reminded that Moore was a popular choice for this award: "I forgot about Mike. He even slipped my mind."

BEST TRASH TALKER: Tony Wilson (10 votes).

What they had to say about Wilson:

"He just talks. He talks during a route. He'll talk trash to you while he's running. He'll just keep going," Allen said.

"He doesn't shut up. He'll say something random and it will be funny. He was pointing at a linebacker and he said I got fruity pebbles' or something like that," King said. "Just random."

Massaquoi on why Wilson's such a big talker: "That Florida swagger, I guess."

Durham on Wilson: "He usually has some good points in there. If somebody has a good play, he's like Wait til next time." He just never shuts up. I guess that's the Florida mentality. Kelin (Johnson) talked a lot, too. It's the Daytona thing."

CJ Byrd on keeping things civil with Wilson: "We're pretty cool, so he doesn't say much to me."


chefboyardee said...

Great article, David. Really interesting. From media day, to your articles, to his performance on the field, I've been blown away by MoMass so far this year. I'd love to see him put it all together.

But the biggest surprise to me is ALL the receivers are in on the act this year. Michael Moore has particularly impressed, but Stafford's been getting the ball to everybody. It's too early to say wide receiver is a strength for us, but it's definitely not the weakness a lot of folks predicted it would be.

NYCDawg said...

Great stuff David - good insight into all these guys & really shows how they work and function as a group and not individuals. This blog has become my first go to in the mornings...and on gameday for the immediate analysis. Keep up the great work.

Steve said...

This blog is right up there with Get the Picture as my favorite Georgia blog. Thanks for all the insight.

I'm more and more intrigued by Tony Wilson. He hasn't made a huge impact on game day yet, but it sounds like he's almost a second wide receivers coach, even though he's still young. He sounds like he's earned a lot of respect in that locker room.