Georgia Bulldogs: Tony Ball

Players to watch: Jonathon Rumph

February, 24, 2014
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With spring practice still a few weeks away, this week we'll discuss five players to watch when the Bulldogs open workouts on March 18.

Today we begin with a junior college transfer who arrived to great acclaim last year, only to struggle to make much of an impact in the fall.

[+] EnlargeJonathon Rumph
Jeffrey Vest/Icon SMIJonathon Rumph caught just seven passes for Georgia in 2013. Will he play a bigger role next season?
Jonathon Rumph (Wide receiver, Sr.)

2013 review: When he transferred from Holmes (Miss.) Community College last January, he looked like a weapon that Aaron Murray would instantly utilize. He's 6-foot-5 and was the No. 1 receiver in ESPN's Junior College 100 last year. He added to the hype by catching four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the G-Day game -- and then we didn't see him again until midway through the fall. A lingering hamstring ailment kept him off the field until the Florida game. He played in five of the last six games, including a 98-yard outing against Appalachian State, and finished the season with seven receptions for 121 yards.

Why spring is important: Despite his outstanding performance in the G-Day game, it was apparent that Rumph didn't impress his coaches last spring. Then the injury prevented him from ever truly settling into the receiver rotation. This season is his last shot to accomplish something that might help him land on an NFL roster -- but he has to get on the field at Georgia first. At this point, it's tough to predict whether he'll become a reliable performer, although proving to position coach Tony Ball that he is consistent and coachable during spring ball would be an enormous step in the right direction.

Best case/worst case: Georgia already has some impressive options at receiver. Seniors Chris Conley and Michael Bennett have proven themselves, as have juniors Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley -- both of whom will be returning from season-ending knee injuries. Rumph looks like someone who could join that group of regulars and add both a huge target and vertical threat to the passing game. We'd be a lot more comfortable predicting that he'll actually do that if word begins to spread this spring that he's making good things happen, not more of the mixed reviews that came out around this time last year. If he doesn't get on Ball's good side this spring and preseason, Rumph might have another season like 2013 where he occasionally gets on the field, but fails to make much of a dent on the stat sheet.

Turnover common for Ball, McClendon

December, 26, 2013
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Pardon Bryan McClendon if he took a pessimistic approach before the fall even arrived, but his five seasons as Georgia's running backs coach have permanently ingrained that attitude into his coaching outlook.

McClendon, who each season has juggled his lineups because of an assortment of injuries and off-the-field issues, predicted to All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley before the season that his sophomore year would not be all breakaway touchdown runs and soaring dives into the end zone. Those moments came, too, but McClendon's prediction proved to be correct when Gurley injured himself in the opener against Clemson and later missed three-and-a-half games with an ankle injury sustained against LSU.

[+] EnlargeTodd Gurley, Ahmad Christian
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsTodd Gurley, who has rushed for 903 yards this season, has been hobbled by an ankle injury this season.
“That's something that we've known and we talked about before the year: it's going to be something,” McClendon said. “We didn't know what it was going to be, but it's going to be something -- just by the position and the style of play that he plays. But I do know that he probably won't be 100 percent [again] until after the year.”

It's always been something for McClendon's players -- and for fellow UGA assistant Tony Ball's receivers, as well -- but the coaches and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have proven over time that they are capable of adjusting to the personnel available on a given week.

They've certainly had more than enough practice in that capacity this season.

Gurley and Keith Marshall both missed multiple games at tailback, while freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas also struggled with minor ailments at points. And Ball's wideout group lost Malcolm Mitchell to a torn ACL on the second possession of the season, Justin Scott-Wesley to an ACL at midseason and Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Jonathon Rumph for multiple games at points.

The results with a decimated lineup weren't always pretty -- the Bulldogs committed four turnovers in a midseason loss to Missouri and generated just 221 yards of offense in the following week's loss to Vanderbilt -- but Bobo and company found a way to keep Georgia on pace to break the school's scoring record. The Bulldogs are averaging 38.2 ppg this season, just ahead of their record-setting 37.8-ppg average from 2012.

“There was an adjustment period there that we had to go through,” Bobo said. “That Missouri game, we pretty much stayed aggressive, but we kind of turned the ball over a little bit [and had] some timing issues. We tried to slow it a little bit down in the Vanderbilt game and didn't have the results that way, either, and had to go back to the drawing board and the guys responded and answered and came back and played well the rest of the year.”

That they did. Georgia averaged 45.8 ppg over the final four games, even without key players like Marshall, Mitchell, Scott-Wesley and senior quarterback Aaron Murray, who tore his ACL in the home finale against Kentucky. Even with Rantavious Wooten and Rhett McGowan playing bigger roles at receiver and with the freshmen filling in for Gurley and Marshall in the backfield at midseason, the Bulldogs regularly got production out of less heralded players.

“A lot of people went down and kids had to step up and prove they can play. Even a lot of freshmen had to step up and play,” Douglas said. “I just give credit to the coaches for having them ready to go and Coach B-Mac having me and J.J. ready to roll in whenever we needed to.”

McClendon turned 30 earlier this month, but since Mark Richt promoted him from his post as a graduate assistant in 2009, he has dealt with as much roster turnover as a considerably older coach.

It was stressful, McClendon admitted, but it also expedited his development within the profession.

“You learn by hard times,” McClendon said. “You learn by adversity, you learn by when things are not going just peachy. And obviously that's been the case, and I think I've grown tremendously from it.”

His boss agrees.

Richt saw Green rush for 129 yards in an overtime win against Tennessee and witnessed Douglas post 113 yards of offense against Missouri even when they weren't ready to play leading roles just yet. He saw 10 different wideouts make catches over the course of the season, with seven of them finishing with at least 89 yards in a game this fall.

Injuries are of course part of the game, but Georgia's receivers and running backs have dealt with more than their share over the last couple of seasons – and Richt is proud of the way his assistants have coped with those situations.

“[Ball] coaches them all the same and he does a great job of trying to crosstrain players when they're ready for it to make sure if you do have an injury … you've got guys that have got to be moving around. He did a great job,” Richt said. “And McClendon did, too. Bryan, I think he's blossomed into one heck of a coach.

“I just don't like bragging too much about these guys because everybody wants to try to snag them,” Richt chuckled. “So we don't want that to happen.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- The offseason is important for every college player, but it is particularly valuable for those hoping to make the transition from off-the-radar prospect to essential contributor.

With that in mind, let's look at five Georgia players (or groups) who need to have strong springs and summers -- once the Bulldogs move past their upcoming bowl matchup, of course -- to become useful players next season.

[+] EnlargeJonathon Rumph
Jeffrey Vest/Icon SMIReceiver Jonathon Rumph needs to prove he deserves playing time in 2014.
Jonathon Rumph: One of the more high-profile recruits in Georgia's 2013 signing class, the junior college transfer didn't play until midseason and didn't make his first catch until Game 9. Rumph's six catches for 112 yards thus far fall well short of the preseason expectations for a player who signed as the No. 7 overall prospect on ESPN's Junior College 100. Even after making a small impact after his debut, Rumph barely saw the field in Georgia's last two games of the regular season. He needs to prove that he belongs in the rotation next season because he clearly has not convinced receivers coach Tony Ball thus far that he deserves regular playing time.

Brandon Kublanow: With three offensive line positions open after the season ends, we could go several directions here. But let's stick to guard, where starters Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee will both be gone after this season. Kublanow was impressive enough after arriving on campus this summer that he won some playing time as a true freshman. It would not be at all surprising to see him grab a starting job next season if he has a strong spring and summer. He's a grinder, and he's going to become a solid offensive lineman at the college level.

The ILBs: Most likely, Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson will be back for their senior seasons in 2014. But it's not a particularly good thing that they essentially played every meaningful down this fall. The Bulldogs need the freshmen who played sparingly -- Reggie Carter, Tim Kimbrough, Johnny O'Neal and Ryne Rankin -- to make a bigger impact next season. Carter is the most obvious choice for more playing time, but Georgia needs to develop more of the talent on the roster in order to be prepared for Wilson and Herrera's departure after next season. To this point, he's the only non-starter at ILB who has played an important down.

A.J. Turman: After redshirting as a freshman, Turman is in an awkward position as 2014 approaches. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are established stars. Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green were productive this fall while playing as true freshmen. Now verbal commits Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are on board to join the team before next season. Turman has some running skills, but he'd better do something to make himself stand out -- soon … like this winter and spring -- or he'll place himself in jeopardy of getting lost in the shuffle.

Jordan Davis: Another 2013 redshirt, Davis has the opportunity to garner major playing time next fall. Arthur Lynch and Hugh Williams will be gone and only Jay Rome will remain among the Bulldogs' 2013 regulars at tight end. Davis should be able to carve out a role -- and he could do himself a favor if he does so before highly-touted verbal commit Jeb Blazevich can establish himself. Davis is a diligent worker and should eventually become a serviceable traditional tight end, whereas Blazevich looks more like a player whose greatest strength will be his receiving skills. The Bulldogs need both skill sets to be present among players at the position.

Rumph ready to make impact at WR

November, 12, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- While discussing Jonathon Rumph's long-awaited debut after Saturday's win against Appalachian State, quarterback Hutson Mason immediately flashed forward to next season, when Mason should become Georgia's starter and have the 6-foot-5 receiver as one of his top weapons.

“You imagine we've got Rumph coming on and what we could have next year -- just another big tool in the toolbox, another big weapon,” said Mason, who completed four passes to Rumph for 98 yards in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs' 45-6 win. “So it's going to be something special.”

[+] EnlargeJonathon Rumph
Jeffrey Vest/Icon SMIJonathon Rumph flashed his potential late in the Appalachian State game and showed why he could be a big weapon in the future -- or even sooner -- for the Dawgs.
At this point, many Georgia fans are probably asking, “Why wait until next season?” And Mason would agree with their point.

“I hope [that] boosts him and I hope the coaches see something in him and I hope he gets some more playing time because we can definitely use him,” Mason said.

Injuries have ravaged Georgia's receiving corps, knocking Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley out for the season and Michael Bennett and Chris Conley out for several games at a time. Rumph -- the nation's No. 1 receiver in ESPN's 2013 Junior College 100 -- has not been immune to injury issues, either, missing the first six games of the season with recurring hamstring problems before finally playing approximately 10 downs in Georgia's Nov. 2 win against Florida.

Rumph broke through with his first career catch against Appalachian State, taking a tunnel screen for a 24-yard gain early in the fourth quarter, and then breaking free for a 37-yard catch on the Bulldogs' final drive.

Bennett is back in the lineup, and coach Mark Richt said Monday that Conley might return for Saturday's visit to No. 7 Auburn, as well. But Rumph hopes that his impact this season won't be limited to four garbage-time receptions in a blowout win over an FCS opponent.

“I learned from going to juco you've always got to be patient, and when your opportunity comes and you see your crack, you've got to hit it,” he said.

Rumph knows this might be his crack.

“Everybody gets their opportunity and you've got to take advantage. That's what I'm trying to do,” Rumph said. “This probably is my situation for me to take advantage of my opportunity, so yeah, I'm looking at it as a chance that I can come every day to get better, better my position playing receiver and show the world my talent.”

The opportunity likely would have arrived earlier in the season, but the hamstring issue that first cropped up during preseason practice -- the first time he'd ever dealt with a hamstring ailment -- knocked him out for the first two games. Then just as Rumph was preparing to return for the North Texas game, he tweaked the hamstring again.

“That's one thing I had to realize because the first time I hurt it and I came back, it was feeling real good. But it's just like a car, you've got to keep your maintenance up,” Rumph said. “That's really what it was, you've got to keep getting treatment. I'm still getting treatment twice a day.”

Although Rumph was a January enrollee who participated in spring practice, the lingering injury prevented him from gaining valuable practice experience in the first half of the season. He returned to practice the week of the Vanderbilt game, but didn't take the field. Then he played sparingly against Florida before finally getting some balls thrown his way against Appalachian State.

As Mason said, perhaps that performance proved to receivers coach Tony Ball that Rumph can be an asset in the passing game over the final few games. Injuries robbed Rumph -- and Georgia -- of what might have been an impressive full season, but he still has time to make a bigger impression down the stretch.

“That guy is very talented,” Richt said. “The more he learns and the more reps he gets, the more chances he'll get and the better off he's going to be. It's like any other position, you've got to show coaches what you can do in practice to give them confidence to give you more opportunities and you've got to be fortunate enough to be healthy.

“I think if Jonathon was healthy since the beginning of camp, he'd be very heavy in our rotation and who knows how many catches he might have had to this point.”

What to watch from regrouping offense

October, 8, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt delivered the bad news on Sunday when he confirmed that tailback Keith Marshall and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley would join wideout Malcolm Mitchell on the season-ending injury list.

With receiver Michael Bennett (knee) out and All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley (ankle) questionable for Saturday's game against No. 25 Missouri (5-0, 1-0 SEC), No. 7 Georgia (4-1, 3-0) has little time to identify the personnel who must play larger roles in order to hang with a Tigers offense that ranks among the nation's most productive units.

Here are four groups/trends to watch as the Bulldogs move forward:

Freshman tailbacks: With Georgia's two star backs both possibly out Saturday, it's certainly possible we will see another heavy dose of true freshmen J.J. Green -- who rushed for 129 yards last Saturday against Tennessee -- and Brendan Douglas at tailback.

[+] EnlargeBrendan Douglas
Jim Brown/USA TODAY SportsBrendan Douglas and fellow freshman J.J. Green likely will be asked to shoulder more of the load.
That isn't necessarily a scary proposition for the Bulldogs, who have seen the young duo perform well in practice and in spot duty up until last Saturday's overtime win.

“We see those guys in practice, and they do a great job of breaking tackles or shaking guys or breaking loose for touchdowns against a great defense,” offensive guard Chris Burnette said. “Seeing them do that in practice, we know they're capable of doing that in a game.”

The larger question is what happens if Gurley is unable to play Saturday. If one of the top running backs in the nation remains unable to go as the week progresses -- and he once again did not practice on Monday -- Georgia's coaches might have to take a longer look this week at freshman A.J. Turman.

He seemed like a certain redshirt candidate a week ago, but Richt's staff must determine whether the two freshmen who already have played and walk-ons Kyle Karempelis and Brandon Harton would be enough to carry the load without Gurley and Marshall.

“A lot may depend on how Gurley's doing,” Richt said. “If Gurley comes back and you've got the other two, you don't normally have to go three backs. But if Gurley can't go, then we've got to try to figure out what we're going to do. We've got Harton and Karempelis that have played for us before, so those are possibilities. We've just got to kind of try to figure that out.

Wild cards: Speaking of Turman, he's not the only newcomer who has not played yet and still might or might not make an impact this fall.

Receivers Tramel Terry and Jonathon Rumph -- Georgia's second- and sixth-highest-rated 2013 signees in ESPN's player rankings -- have not played to date but still could factor into offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's plans ... eventually.

Richt said "it's very doubtful that [Rumph would] be ready" for the Missouri game while still dealing with a left hamstring strain, but "after that, we're going to definitely try to get him ready."

Meanwhile, Terry struggled during preseason practice while still recovering from offseason ACL surgery and seemed set to redshirt this season. But because of the receiver attrition, the freshman might be someone the coaches eventually consider.

“I just think the longer he practices coming back from his injury, the better he'll be,” Richt said. “Is he really ready for this type of competition? I don't know.

“And the fact that he hasn't had a lot of reps with our offensive unit, he's been working mainly scout team reps, and he's a freshman, so it's hard to really be ready in all the ways that you have to be ready -- not only physically, but knowing the game plan and just having experience running the routes and playing in games like that. So I'm not counting him out, but I really don't know the answer right now.”

More tight ends: Considering the level of in-game attrition that occurred at Tennessee, perhaps the most surprising statistic from that game was that neither Arthur Lynch nor Jay Rome made a reception.

Expect that to rank as a statistical anomaly moving forward.

When Georgia's receivers encountered a number of injury issues last season, Lynch and Rome were two of the top pass-catching beneficiaries. The two tight ends combined for 25 catches for 367 yards -- 251 by Lynch and 116 by Rome – over the final six games last season. In the first eight games of 2012, they combined for 10 catches and 216 yards.

Lynch and Rome have 212 yards -- 169 by Lynch and 43 by Rome -- this season.

[+] EnlargeRantavious Wooten
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesWith injuries mounting, senior Rantavious Wooten might be counted on to play a much larger role.
Replacement receivers: Junior Chris Conley -- who led Georgia with 64 receiving yards and made a tremendous one-handed touchdown catch against Tennessee -- is nearly the only known quantity in the Bulldogs' receiving corps for the time being.

Yes, they have fifth-year seniors Rhett McGowan and Rantavious Wooten available, but both players have been role players throughout their careers. Beyond that, Georgia might need reserves like Reggie Davis, Blake Tibbs, Michael Erdman, Kenny Townes to pick up their production.

“We're deep in the receiver room,” McGowan said. “A lot of people don't know that, because they haven't played, but they're at Georgia for a reason.”

Bennett will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to determine the extent of his knee injury. Even if he receives positive news, the junior will certainly miss the Missouri game and possibly more time after that.

Since they have dealt with regular injuries over the last two seasons, the receivers believe they are well-prepared for their current situation and now must take advantage of this opportunity.

“[Receivers coach Tony] Ball always tells me, 'Prepare like you are the starter, and you never know, because you're one play away from [being] a starter,' ” said Wooten, who caught two touchdowns against Tennessee. “So all the guys know that in the room, and I know that myself, and I always had that in the back of my head. Any guy could be the next man up. The coaches have the final decision on that, but at the end of the day, that's what we do, we practice, and we get ready for those types of situations.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- As one of the most veteran members of Georgia’s football team, Rantavious Wooten has seen the dynamic shift wildly in five seasons as a member of the Bulldogs’ receiving corps.

The fifth-year senior has seen a single superstar strike fear into opposing defenses, as future first-round NFL pick A.J. Green did in Wooten’s first two seasons. He’s also seen quarterback Aaron Murray spread the passing production between a larger group of players than any quarterback has in Georgia’s 12-year history under Coach Mark Richt.

However, thanks to the wide array of receiving skillsets available and a change in position coach Tony Ball’s philosophy, where several players are learning more than just one of Georgia’s three receiving positions, Wooten believes this could become the most versatile and productive group of Bulldogs receivers in Richt’s tenure.

“It’s real good that we can sub at any position instead of being like when I first came in and it was kind of like, ‘You play this position. That’s the only position you play. So you don’t go in that spot,’ ” Wooten recalled.

“Now we have all the pieces to have a great receiving corps -- we have speed, we’ve got big guys, we’ve got quick guys, we’ve got guys that can catch over the middle, we’ve got guys that can take the short route long. So we have every part to be that versatile, plus more. And then add the fact that we can play different positions and just utilize what we have.”

Seven Georgia wide receivers -- and 11 players total, adding in tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome and running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall -- made at least 10 catches last season. Both were single-season highs for Georgia pass-catchers under Richt, and everyone except 2012 seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown returns from that group.

Among the returners: potential breakout star Malcolm Mitchell, who is now focusing solely on playing receiver after splitting time between cornerback and wideout last season, and Michael Bennett, who was leading the team with 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns through five games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Then throw in the shifty Wooten, 6-foot-3 Chris Conley -- the Bulldogs’ offensive MVP of spring practice -- sure-handed Rhett McGowan and UGA track sprinter Justin Scott-Wesley, who enjoyed his first taste of collegiate football success in the Capital One Bowl win against Nebraska. And finally add 6-foot-5 junior college transfer Jonathon Rumph, redshirt freshman Blake Tibbs and talented true freshmen Tramel Terry, Reggie Davis and Uriah LeMay.

“We all can play. I don’t think we have any real superstars,” Bennett said. “Obviously Malcolm’s kind of our breakout guy, but we don’t have like an A.J. like we used to or anything like that, or like a [King]. We all know we can play, we’re all, I think, really good, so it’s kind of like when one guy subs in and one guy goes out, there’s not going to be any hiccup.”

Collectively, every role Ball could possibly want individual players to fill in his position group is covered by the talents and body types within that group.

“It’s crazy, it really is, because we’ve got completely different playing styles,” said Mitchell, Georgia’s top returning receiver after posting 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns last season. “You just name myself, Michael, Conley, Wooten -- those are four different types of playing styles.”

While they are best suited for specific roles, perhaps what makes the group especially unique is that some many players will be able to handle multiple jobs, which is a departure even from last season.

For instance, Mitchell once knew how to play only one receiver position. No longer. And nearly all of his fellow wideouts know at least two of the three responsibilities between the split end, flanker and slot positions.

“I think that everyone has the confidence to run every single type of play,” Conley said. “There’s not one guy who we use deep routes, there’s not one guy who we use for short underneath routes, there’s not one guy that we use for screens. I think the fact that everyone has the confidence that ‘I can make this play and I can do something big for Georgia,’ I think that’s the most unique part about this receiver corps because anyone can be at any point on the field and everyone’s ready to run.”

With Murray back for his fourth season under center and Gurley and Marshall softening defenses for Georgia to attack with the pass, it stands to reason that Bobo will once again make use of his receiving weapons. Perhaps even more than the Bulldogs ever have under this coaching staff.

Asked whether this group’s versatility surpasses that of other receiving corps in his UGA career, Bobo recalled previous explosive groups like the one that featured Terrence Edwards, Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown in 2002. And he’s had others -- like the 2007 and 2008 offenses -- that made use of a wide array of receiving talents at wideout, tight end and out of the backfield.

This group might outrank any of them, however.

“They’re not lacking confidence. They feel they’re one of the best receiving corps in the country. Are we that? I don’t know,” Bobo said. “We don’t have the A.J. Green explosive-type player out there. I think we’ve got a bunch of very good, hard-working kids that catch the ball and are fearless and really do a good job of taking coaching from Coach Ball and have gotten better in their career.

“None of them were this guy or that guy coming out of high school. They’re guys that work and made themselves into players. … But these guys, I wouldn’t trade this group for any group that I’ve had since I’ve been here just because you’ve got so many guys that can do so much.”

Bobo: Keep an eye on Scott-Wesley

May, 10, 2013
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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Justin Scott-Wesley enjoyed his first taste of success in Georgia’s last game. But asked Thursday evening to name a potential breakout performer, Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo selected the sophomore receiver as a player to watch this fall.

“He had a great spring,” Bobo said at the UGA Days event in Augusta, “one of our most improved receivers.”

Scott-Wesley entered the lineup in the Bulldogs’ Capital One Bowl win against Nebraska only after Malcolm Mitchell left the game with a concussion sustained while returning a kick.

To that point in his first season as an active college player, Scott-Wesley had caught passes only in mop-up duty against Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern. But he hauled in three balls against the Cornhuskers -- including two long passes that pushed the ball into Nebraska territory, one of which was a 31-yard gain on Georgia’s go-ahead touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter -- and concluded a career-best performance with 67 yards.

[+] EnlargeJustin Scott-Wesley
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comSpeedy receiver Justin Scott-Wesley had six catches for 135 yards and a TD as a redshirt freshman.
That performance propelled the young receiver into spring practice, Bobo said.

“I think the confidence level he gained from playing in the bowl game when Malcolm Mitchell went down with a concussion, he caught three passes -- two big third-down conversions -- and him making those plays in a game gave him confidence to carry over into spring ball and get better and make that next step,” Bobo said.

Blessed with sprinter’s speed -- in fact, the former Georgia high school record-setter will compete in the 100-meter dash for Georgia’s track team on Saturday evening at the SEC championships -- Scott-Wesley was a project for the Bulldogs’ coaching staff when he arrived on campus in 2011. Bobo credited receivers coach Tony Ball for molding an SEC-ready receiver out of a player who initially had much to learn about the finer points of his position.

“He can absolutely fly, but he was not a football player,” Bobo said. “He was very raw, and coach Tony Ball does an outstanding job with our receivers and coaching the little things and the details and has really refined this guy’s game to where I think he’s going to have a breakout year.”

Scott-Wesley made some noise last spring, as well, but barely dented the receiver rotation until the very end of the season. He concluded his redshirt freshman campaign with six catches for 135 yards and one touchdown, so it’s far too early to say that another strong spring means he has arrived.

However, Bobo points out that it was a sign of progress -- which is exactly what he wanted to see from a developing player in the spring.

“That’s what you’re looking for and really looking for in the whole offense is taking that next step,” Bobo said.

Georgia offers Watch List wide receiver 

April, 12, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Despite missing half of his junior season, ESPN Watch List wide receiver Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) is close to having 20 offers. Earlier this week he picked up No. 16 from UCF and then on Wednesday, the University of Georgia offered.

What are the coaches at all these schools seeing in his injury-shortened highlight reel? The answer is production. After missing five games with a strained ACL and PCL, McCrary scored seven touchdowns on just 13 catches. He also had 311 receiving yards, an average of 24 yards per catch. To top it off, McCrary returned four punts for touchdowns and three interceptions on defense.

“I talked to Tony Ball today and he let me know that Georgia was going to offer me and that he would love for me to come up and get to see the facilities,” McCrary said. “That was very exciting for me because Georgia is a great team that throws the ball a lot to be in the SEC. That is a great thing.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- The big news out of Athens this week concerned raises for each of Mark Richt’s football assistants -- including a big raise and new three-year contract for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Bobo received a $240,000 pay bump to $575,000 per year and assistants Will Friend and Tony Ball also got sizable raises, but all nine Richt assistants received a pay increase of some sort.

(Read full post)

ATHENS, Ga. -- After his 2012 offense set several school records, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo received a three-year contract that includes a $240,000 raise, pushing his guaranteed salary to $575,000 annually.

“I think he deserved a three-year deal because that’s really what’s happening out there in this league,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said before Thursday’s practice. “And his salary’s very competitive with his peers and I think he’s earned that.”

Mike Bobo
Jeff Vest/Icon SMIGeorgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo received a three-year contract that included a $240,000 raise.
Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham now both are operating on three-year deals. Bobo had been coaching on renewable one-year contracts since joining Richt’s first UGA staff in 2001.

According to salary figures that UGA released to ESPN.com on Thursday, Bobo and each of Richt’s nine assistant coaches received salary increases following a 2012 campaign when the Bulldogs fell just short of an appearance in the BCS championship game.

“I think we’ve got a great staff and I want to keep them,” Richt said. “But it’s a very competitive league in a lot of areas. There’s the competition on the field, there’s the competition in recruiting and then sometimes there’s a competition to hang on to your assistant coaches.”

Offensive line coach Will Friend received a $90,000 raise, pushing his annual salary to $300,000 per year. Friend also added the title of running game coordinator to his resume.

Meanwhile, wide receivers coach Tony Ball received a $50,000 increase to $260,000.

Each of Georgia’s remaining assistants received $25,000 raises: Grantham (to $850,000), inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti (to $285,000), defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos (to $235,000), tight ends coach John Lilly (to $235,000) and running backs coach Bryan McClendon (to $235,000).

New defensive line coach Chris Wilson is scheduled to make $250,000 in 2013.

“It was good for them, but it was good for me as well because I really think these guys are tremendous,” Richt said of the staff raises. “I think every one of them are and over time, I want to continue to try to bless them the best we can financially and stay as competitive as we can in that area.”

2014 DE Harris draws interest from SEC 

February, 27, 2013
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Class of 2014 defensive end Trent Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) is legitimately on the radar, if he wasn't before, that is.


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Georgia offers physical Watch List WR 

February, 17, 2013
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The Georgia coaching staff spent this past week sending out offers to some of the top players in the country. From running backs to defensive ends, the coaches dove into the Class of 2014 with vigor, just days after the ink was dry on the Class of 2013. Before hosting a junior day on Saturday, they sent out a new offer to one of the premier wideouts in Louisiana on Friday.


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Georgia safety commit clears hurdles 

January, 31, 2013
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Safety Kennar Johnson (Clermont, Fla./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) was supposed to enroll at Georgia this month.

He had been committed to the Bulldogs for more than three weeks when the junior college signing period began Dec. 18, and was expected to sign then. By Dec. 19 it was obvious something was wrong. Johnson could not be reached for comment. His coach stopped returning phone calls. Georgia put out a press release with the names of two junior colleges players that had signed with the Bulldogs. Johnson was not on the list.

Recently, a couple of Georgia coaches went to visit Johnson.


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Coaches' take: Tramel Terry 

January, 28, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Watch highlight footage of Tramel Terry excelling at both receiver and running back in high school and you’ll see where the conundrum lies for Georgia’s coaches, who must determine the best way to use the speedster in college.

His coach at Goose Creek (S.C) High School, Chuck Reedy -- a former college coach himself -- even wrestled with where to play Terry before Georgia decided to deploy him at wideout when he enrolled earlier this month. And Reedy amusedly recalled a conversation concerning that very subject with Terry’s lead UGA recruiter, tight ends coach John Lilly, from last fall.

“I said, ‘I really think he’s a running back. Even though that’s not where he played when he was younger, we played him there the last two years about half the time,’” Reedy said. “But he just made a lot of plays, was really instinctive and had good vision and all those things. I said, ‘I’m just not sure that’s not where he needs to play.’

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Position scouting report: WRs 

January, 15, 2013
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Editor’s note: In the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart and project how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s wide receivers:

" 2012 two-deep depth chart:
Tavarres King (Sr.), Chris Conley (So.)
Malcolm Mitchell (So.), Rhett McGowan (Jr.)

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