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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The word from veterans: Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Sanders are standing out

Georgia football fans have been hungering for any information about their team’s incoming freshman, who have enrolled and been working out on campus. But with practice not beginning yet, the best source of insight have been Georgia veterans.

Defensive co-captain Christian Robinson has already pinpointed four players who have made the best impression on him so far during summer workouts: receiver Malcolm Mitchell and defensive backs Damian Swann, Chris Sanders and Corey Moore.

“Those four guys already have picked up more on defense and offense than most freshman I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Robinson said. “Damian, Corey and Chris on defense already know what we’re expecting and it’ll just come down to making plays in practice and showing they can contribute.”

Then Mitchell got a heaping of praise:

“I’ve never seen anybody that could stop on a dime like he can,” Robinson said. “I mean, I love A.J. (Green), but A.J. never stopped like he can. He gets separation. A.J.’s got that speed and quickness, but I’ve never seen someone with the feet that (Mitchell) has, and just the separation he can achieve with his routes.”

Well, I guess we know why Mitchell’s not playing defense.

Junior tight end Orson Charles also singled out Mitchell and Sanders. He called Mitchell "explosive" and willing to work. As for what stood out about Sanders: "He looks good. Physically he looks good. And covering TK (Tavarres King), even though he gets beat he'll get back up and do it again."

The aforementioned Tavarres King, a junior like Robinson, also heaped praise on Mitchell.

“He’s just a tremendous athlete,” King said. “He can do a lot of different things. One day he was just torching all the DBs when we were doing pass (drills). … You know, he’s gonna help this football team a lot.”

In general, King's summation of the young receivers - including Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Sanford Seay - is "speed."

"Flat-out fast. If their knowledge can be as quick as their feet, they're gonna be tremendous," King said.

Robinson was also asked about the most hyped freshman, tailback Isaiah Crowell.

“You know, I’ve been kinda separate from him, when we do our drills I really don’t work with him,” Robinson said. “But I know one day we were out there and he’s been able to burn some people with his ability. He has all the physical tools that are necessary to be a great back here. I’m excited to see him in camp.”

King was also asked for his initial impression of Crowell.

“He’s gonna be a guy that you just hand him the ball and watch him work," King said. "They’re all just ballplayers, and they’re all just tremendous athletes. I’m extremely excited to see how he does when the pads are on.”

A few other here-and-there notes:

- Crowell, of course, was expected to be a huge factor even before the departures of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King. But those two are gone, along with five other players who have transferred or been academically ineligible.

“Some of the guys that are not here, they made their decisions, whether they were right or wrong," Robinson said. "I think the guys that are here, that are left, are the ones that one to be at Georgia the most. Some guys didn’t always fit in and didn’t always do what they were supposed to do, and didn’t behave. Nothing against them, but they just didn’t fit into what we needed right now.”

The exception was King, whom Robinson played with for one year in high school.

“That’s probably the one that I don’t think fits in with the rest. Caleb wanted to be here and went through some tough things," Robinson said. "But the guys we have here on this team, the guys we have left, we have everything we need to have a great season.”

- Robinson also offered his reaction to the Samuel move back to tailback, and away from inside linebacker:

“When he moved I told him, ‘I’m just upset I have to hit you in practice.’ People think we have depth issues. I think we just need guys to step up. At any position we have enough guys here at Georgia to get things done. Richard’s gonna step up and help the running back position. And we’re gonna have linebackers step up and make those plays, even if they don’t have that many reps.”

So what now at inside linebacker? The team has already lost Nick Williams and Marcus Dowtin to transfer, Robinson didn’t confirm whether Brandon Burrows is out. He just said he expected Burrows to contribute “in the long haul,” then mentioned Jeremy Sulek and “the young guys” that would have to step up.

“Me and Mike (Gilliard) are the only two that have really taken reps (at inside linebacker),” Robinson said. “Alec’s gonna have a great season. He’s prepared and knows the defense at linebacker now. He knows how to play linebacker. I’m just excited to see him contribute.”

- Jarvis Jones has continued to work hard during the investigation, according to Robinson. I asked if, based on what he’s seen the past year, Jones is worth the consternation that fans and coaches are having over his eligibility. Robinson said he is.

“He is everything people expect of him, what he could be,” Robinson said. “He’s played. He’s played at the college level already. He’s got the tools that could take him beyond college and have a great career there. So I think the things he contributes to this team are very important to us. We need a guy like him with his speed.”

- Charles, fielding what may have been his first "are you going pro" question, successfully ducked it.

"How I handle that is I'm not talking about it right now. I'm not worried about it right now," he said. "I'm gonna leave it up to God. Whatever God has for me, I'll be blessed either way. But right now I'm focused on this season and winning."

- Quarterback Aaron Murray is taking on a more vocal leadership role, according to Charles.

"He snapped the other day, and we were all like, 'Whoa!'" Charles said. "We definitely respected that, because a lot of people were playing around. And he was like, 'Y'all gotta quit playing around, we came out to work.' He's starting to be more of a vocal leader, so that's good. ... He earned that right."

- Charles said he now weighs 245 pounds, a decrease of about five pounds since the beginning of the summer. And he took the high road when asked if he was under-utilized last year.

"I don't think so," he said. "I think Bobo did a fairly good job of calling the plays. I felt like as a whole we could have played a little harder, played a little faster, and had fun playing the game. But I think this spring it changed a lot. We were having fun, we were competing. In the locker room we were just embracing. So I'm just looking forward to this season."


Ant123 said...

I'm afraid that the fact they are not mentioning Crowell is revealing that he isn't what we had hoped. Can you shed any light on that?

Kyle said...

I'm honestly tired of all the Crowell talk. Let's see what the kid can do against a top 5 team and the returning SEC East champs before we get too excited. If he's all he should be, we have three more years to sing his praises. Right now he's any other 18 year old athlete to me.

I'm glad there are some reports on Robinson in there; I like his style on the field. I would like to hear more about how the LBs are coming together--I think they are the key to this year's defense. Too much talk about the petty stuff going on lately.

Moonlight said...

Not Seth but I wouldn't read too much into lack of mentions for Crowell one way or the other. Remember fall practice hasn't officially started yet. All this talk is coming from is informal workouts among the players.

Thus its no surprise that receivers and DB's are getting all the attention. You can actually tell something about their skill and ability from a pass skeleton workout. You can only truly get a feel for backs, lineman, and linebackers when they put on the pads and hit due to the amount of physicality their positions require. Once we start truly scrimmaging I imagine we'll get a lot of feedback on Crowell one way or the other. Here's hoping its just as glowing as Mitchell's.