March 21, 2012

Accident remembered

Rantavious Wooten thought he was fine when he stepped out of his car late last September, moments after an automobile accident that cost him virtually all of the 2011 campaign.

The crack in his windshield soon revealed otherwise.

"I didn't even know. When the police came to the window and asked if I was all right, I didn't even know that I hit the windshield," Wooten said. "I said I'm good, so I got out the car. They (police) were doing stuff and (former Bulldog) Jordan Love came up and asked is that a crack in your windshield? I looked and my head was bleeding with cuts and stuff. At the time I felt fine, but when I woke up the next morning - it was over. It was terrible. I couldn't do anything."

Little did Wooten know he wouldn't play for the rest of the year.

Initially, it was thought he would only miss a couple of games, beginning with the Week 4 contest at Ole Miss.

But as the weeks went by, Wooten's concussion symptoms remained.

"They had started letting me ride the bike and stuff after I felt better but when I started riding the bike, that's when things came back," Wooten said. "They told me to get off that and I started seeing a lot of doctors and they told me week after week to still sit out. I'd go back and they still said I wasn't ready."

At least there was a silver lining for Wooten, who is excited about getting back into the flow with the rest of Georgia's receivers.

Because he played in just three games prior to his accident, Wooten qualified for a medical redshirt, meaning he still has two more years of eligibility.

"I'm kind of upset with the opportunity I lost, but I know you can't look at it like that," he said. "I've got another year under my belt, I can look at things more, and I know the system. It's going to benefit me very well so I'm being very optimistic about that."

But having to miss so much time didn't come without consequences.

"The only thing is you've got to get into that shape again - football shape. That's the tough thing right now, but otherwise everything is going OK," said Wooten, who did take part in Georgia's preparations for the Outback Bowl. "I'm out there making plays. Nothing is out of the ordinary; it's just about me getting back into football shape."

Malcome relishes new beginning

Ken Malcome says he feels like a different player after last season's tumultuous 2011 campaign.

Talk about a crazy year.

What began with Malcome leaving the program, returning, get suspended for the game against New Mexico State, to eventually earn the starting tailback job - the former Southwest DeKalb star said it was definitely surreal.

But as the Bulldogs get spring practice underway, Malcome is feeling much more confident and at ease.

"I feel acclimated, I feel comfortable as a player," he said. "It's starting to feel like high school again now that I've got all the jitters out. Coaches depend on me now; players expect it so I feel good about myself now."

He credits his recent success during mat drills for that, although it didn't start out that way.

"Man … honestly, I didn't want to come back. I was getting F's, I was getting C's but the last mat drills I manned up and got two A's," Malcome said with a smile. That right there helped me get in a groove. I feel like I can do it; I've just got to go do it."

King believes Dawgs have enough receivers

Although Malcolm Mitchell is now taking his reps at cornerback, senior Tavarres King said the Bulldog still have plenty of talent at wide receiver to be successful.

"Absolutely. You've got Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten is back … Chris Conley will be back soon … Michael Bennett," he said. "We've got guys who are extremely talented receivers working through camp. There's more than enough talent."

King can be included in that group as well.

The senior set a Georgia record in the Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State, catching six passes for 205 yards. It's a performance he hopes to build off of this fall.

"You analyze that game, see how you played there and just try to bring that to this season. That's what I'm doing," he said. "Coaches are harping on me being the leader, being a senior and to use the success I had in that game. That's what you do, try to work hard and stay focused."

King - a fifth-year senior - admits it feels a bit funny to be the "old man" of the Bulldog receiving corps.

"I remember calling (Muhammad Massaquoi) old man Mo; it's crazy," he said. "Now it's me, 'old TK.'"

But it's a responsibility he embraces.

"Anytime anything goes wrong I kind of take the blame," King said. "If somebody doesn't know something, I'll take the blame. It's something I should have told them or something like that. It will be corrected. This game is about learning and growing and continuing to improve. Hopefully, I can continue to grow and become more of an all-around receiver."

THIS AND THAT: The Bulldogs practiced for two hours Wednesday, working out in helmets and shoulder pads. "I thought it was a good practice," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to (Thursday) and putting some pads on for the first time, which will be good so these guys can actually run into each other and block somebody. They won't be able to tackle to the ground until Saturday, but we'll have a little more contact (Thursday)" … Nose tackle John Jenkins said he hopes to play next fall at 330 pounds. He currently weighs 345. … With Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington currently practicing at defensive end, Chase Vasser is currently working with the first group at outside linebacker along with Jarvis Jones.