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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get to Know: Michael Bennett

We've still got a few more days off from spring practice, so let's take a look ahead at another of the new faces who won't be in Athens until June with our latest installment of Getting to Know… wide receiver Michael Bennett.

David Hale: All freshmen want to play early in their careers, but with the numbers UGA has at receiver, it certainly seems like Mike Bobo and company will be counting on you to do that in 2010. Was that a big factor in you wanting to come to Georgia?

Michael Bennett:
Coming in, I wanted to play as a true freshman wherever I went, and when I found out that Georgia was kind of low on scholarship receivers, they were looking to take about three this year, and I'm the only one that signed. So the possibility of coming in and playing right away as a freshman is definitely a plus, and I can't wait to get in there and show the coaches what I can do and get some playing time right away.

DH: Well one of the reasons for the low numbers at receiver is the de-commitment from Da'Rick Rogers before signing day. Were you surprised at what a big story that became?

I met him a few times, and he's a great athlete, he's a pretty good kid from what I can see, and I just wish the best for him. But in the end, I believe Georgia wants players who really want to be Bulldogs, who honestly want to be Georgia all the way, and if there's any doubt in your mind, it'd be better if you don't go to Georgia. I feel that's what Da'Rick was thinking. Seeing him go, it's a hurt for our team and our recruiting class, but in the end I think it's going to be the best for us because it might have been hard getting him on track and stuff at UGA. But he's a great athlete, and it's a big blow, but hey, it's better for me, right?

DH: Well, rather than talk about the guy who didn't come, let me ask you about the big-time receiver who is at Georgia. How excited are you to be playing alongside A.J. Green this fall?

I can't wait. He's a great guy. I've met him a couple times. He's a great player, but he's a better person. He's real personable. He's not one of those big-headed receivers you see. He makes plays every week, and it just showed when he got hurt, Georgia just wasn't as good without him on the field, and it shows that a receiver can do that much in a game. I just hope to learn a lot from him, because we're probably going to have him here for one more year. So I want to learn as much from him, and when he passes the reins over to the rest of us receivers, we can pick up where he left off.

DH: You talked about the numbers at receiver, but it's also an interesting time at quarterback. Odds are, the Bulldogs will have a freshman starting at the position this year. Is that something that you're excited about -- getting to see your career develop over the course of the next three or four years with the same QB?

That's a big thing, too. I've been spending a lot of time with Zach Mettenberger. I actually went up and stayed with him a little while ago. He's a great guy, just like Aaron Murray. They're both students of the game. Zach, he's real big, real big arm. Aaron's not as big, but he really understands the offense. And it'll be good having those two duel it out for the position, so I can't wait.

DH: Is there a receiver in the pros that you've modeled your game after or that you think you're similar to in your style of play?

I always get this question, and I really don't know. One of my favorite receivers is Randy Moss. I know he's a freakish athlete, but he seems like he really works hard and he just makes plays. I like A.J. Green. He's a guy I look up to. He's just a beast. And now that I think of it, Andre Johnson is a guy I really like. He's about my height and he's really underrated and doesn't have a big head -- just like A.J. Green. So I like him, too.

DH: What do you like to do when you're away from the football field?

I love hanging out with my friends. That's No. 1. I go to church. I'm trying to get more involved in my church. I love playing video games. That's a big thing. Call of Duty, Madden, NCAA, all that stuff. I like just playing pick-up basketball, anything like that. That's pretty much me in my off time.

DH: So do you always have to be Georgia when you play NCAA now?

Oh yeah. All Georgia. I've already made the player Michael Bennett, receiver. He's already won the Heisman.

DH: So video Michael Bennett is putting up bigger numbers than video A.J. Green?

Oh yeah.

DH: Well, what's the real Michael Bennett doing to get ready for what's in store for you once you arrive in Athens in a few months?

I'm just really trying to get mentally prepared right now. I'm obviously working out as hard as I can right now, and I'm trying to get mentored by some guys who have been around this kind of stuff before and just guys who have much more experience with life that can really give me some great advice on how to handle all this stuff. You know, I really think I'm going to be ready for it. I wish I was there right now. I think I've got the senioritis thing going. But I just can't wait to get up there and start working and I'm just relishing every moment I have.

DH: You mentioned talking with Zach a lot, but what have the guys on the team been telling you about getting ready for summer workouts and the 2010 season?

They've just been telling me to really be ready when you get here because you're going to hit it like a brick wall. When they got there and started up with mat drills, they were just like, 'I was not ready for this.' So I want to be at least a little bit prepared for stuff like that, and just be ready to work. Don't come in here and say I have to wait my turn to get some playing time. Come in to Georgia and be ready to play right away. That's been a goal of mine all along is that not just saying I'm going to wait my turn but I'm going to have to take some steps to get on the field if at all possible. That's what I really want to do.

DH: The last thing I wanted to ask you was about your new coach, Tony Ball. He's got a reputation for being pretty demanding of his young players. What's your take on Coach Ball and how do you think you'll get along once you get to Athens?

He likes to really get the young guys in there and teach them the fundamentals of the game. He's all about fundamentals. So I feel like if I go in there and really play smart and basically be a very coachable player -- that's one thing he's always harping about is just being coachable and really putting the extra work in -- I feel like if I do that, I'll be acclimated to the offense and his coaching style a lot easier. So that's really what I'm gonna hope to do, and just really listen to him, do what he says, and show him I can be the receiver he wants me to be.


Ubiquitous GA Alum said...

"Seeing him (Da'Rick) go, it's a hurt for our team and our recruiting class, but in the end I think it's going to be the best for us because it might have been hard getting him on track and stuff at UGA.

Wonder if this comes from reading message boards or personal observation ... hmmm

Universal Remonster said...

MB might be my my favorite player player in this years recuiting class, next to Garrison Smith. He really seems to be a hard worker, and I have a funny feeling that he might come in and put in a lot of work for a couple of years with some limited playing time, and then blow up kind of like a Jeff Samardzija.

David Hale said...

As long as he doesn't become the new Kyle Farnsworth for the Cubs the way Samardzija did, I'd be happy with that!