September 9, 2009

All agree: freshmen receivers must play

Was it by design or a simple lack of communication?

Whatever the answer, Georgia coaches and players agree that when it comes to the Bulldogs' receivers, everyone needs to get into the game.

That includes freshmen Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten who were conspicuous by their absence in Saturday's loss to Oklahoma State.

Exactly what happened is apparently a point of conjecture.

During Tuesday's press conference, head coach Mark Richt said that "we decided not to play those guys," which seems to be quite the opposite of the way senior wideout Mike Moore understands what occurred.

"That wasn't by choice, just miscommunication, a mix-up," Moore said. "They (Brown and Wooten) were wondering why, but Coach (Tony) Ball immediately told us that he didn't realize that was happening because he was in the box. He immediately quashed it and gave them a heads up that they would get their chances this week."

Moore said neither of the freshmen was upset with what happened.

"There were good with it, they were just eager to be there," he said. "They were just happy to be at the game, so to speak. But they're definitely ready for their opportunity right now."

Richt guaranteed they'll get the chance.

"We cannot go the season with just four receivers, there is just no way, so we have to play those guys," Richt said. "I told the freshman that you have to make sure in practice that you are sharp. The sharper you are in practice that breeds confidence in your coach to give you opportunities. We know we need to play them, but they also need to continue to get to the point where they are studying and practicing to where it gives them confidence and the staff confidence."

But even if they aren't quite up to speed with some of the plays, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he'll have little choice than to see what they can do.

"We're very thin at receiver," Bobo said. "We've got some other guys like Carlton (Thomas) who have got to play, ready or not, because it's a long season. We'll see more of those guys this week. They're liable to make mistakes, but we've got to get them ready and see what they can do."

Against Oklahoma State, quarterback Joe Cox distributed the football to nine different players, but only three went to receivers with A.J. Green leading the way with four catches for 52 yards. Moore and King both played extensively, but combined to catch just three passes for 10 yards.

Why that happened, Moore wasn't exactly sure.

"That's just up to the coaches who were calling the plays. Actually, we had a couple of plays come our way and A.J's ways but we just didn't capitalize on them," he said. "We didn't execute in the way we were supposed to but hopefully we get more opportunities and when we do we can make some plays when we get the ball in our hands."

It wasn't like Moore wasn't on the field to have an opportunity or two.

The Florida native said he was on the field for '55 or 56' of Georgia's 60 total plays.

"I'm not sure if I've ever played 55 plays in three games," Moore said. "Usually, I get 20-25 here and there so that was definitely a big change."

What was also a change is how OSU was able to so drastically stymie Georgia's offense after the Bulldogs drove 80 yards on 10 plays in the opening drive to take a quick 7-0 lead, culminating with a 4-yard pass from Cox to Moore.

"It was like night and day. After that first drive I was like talking to (Shaun) Chapas and said 'Man, it's going to be a long day for them,'" he said. "The crowd was quiet and we had all the confidence in the world. It shows what we can do when we execute. We showed a lot of confidence on that drive, everybody was out there having fun. We just need to do that consistently on an every down basis."

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