Georgia Bulldogs: Ty Smith

ATHENS, Ga. -- Life is significantly less stressful for John Lilly these days in Georgia’s tight ends meeting room.

This time a year ago, Lilly was coaching two talented -- and yet vastly inexperienced -- tight ends in Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome, plus true freshman Ty Smith, after Orson Charles jumped to the NFL and Aron White graduated. Today the Bulldogs seem to be on solid footing at the position after Lynch and Rome emerged as productive receivers and reliable blockers.

“It’s a fun room to be in right now,” said Lilly, Georgia’s tight ends coach. “They’ve had a little experience, they’ve had a little taste of it and now it’s, ‘Let’s get better. Let’s see how good we can be,’ rather than, ‘Let’s just figure out where to line up and what to do and how to do it.’ So that is exciting. Every guy that’s in that room kind of has the same attitude.”

Thanks in part to injuries that robbed the Bulldogs’ receiving corps of its depth, Lynch and Rome accepted larger roles in Georgia’s passing game in the second half of last season. Lynch made 18 of his 24 catches for 283 of his 431 yards after the midway point of the regular season -- a stretch in which Rome also made nine of his 11 catches and hauled in both of his touchdowns.

[+] EnlargeJohn Lilly
Radi Nabulsi/ESPNGeorgia assistant John Lilly is excited about his group of tight ends this season.
Such production breeds confidence, Lynch said.

“You don’t really worry about that last play. If you made a mistake, you made a mistake,” Lynch said. “You’re numb to certain scenarios, but you also realize there’s more expectations. You’re not working to get around using the tight ends. I think the coaches are very much into involving the tight end.”

Although inexperience was the group’s biggest concern last season, depth was also a factor with just the three scholarship players on the Bulldogs’ roster. Depth remains an issue today after off-the-field issues led to Smith’s departure from the program, with freshman Jordan Davis replacing him as the third scholarship tight end alongside walk-on veterans Hugh Williams and Greg Mulkey.

Davis isn’t especially similar to Smith -- who appeared in eight games last fall -- but he is in a similar position as a likely freshman contributor simply because of the Bulldogs’ positional depth.

“Jordan knows the position he’s in,” Lilly said. “I think he’s got a lot of tools to work with. He’s a guy that is very, very conscientious, almost to the point of being overly serious. He needs to relax sometimes. But I do think he’s a guy that’s trying to be on an accelerated program to learn what to do and how to do it.”

At 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds -- up 20 since competing in the Georgia state track meet as a hurdler during the spring -- Davis already looks the part. He benefited recently from extra practice opportunities while an ankle sprain sidelined Rome, but admitted that Lilly does occasionally scold him for pressing during those practice reps.

“He gets on me sometimes about that because I really want to be able to contribute this year,” Davis said. “Sometimes he’ll correct me on a mistake that I make -- and it’ll be just a regular correction, not anything loud or anything. But I take everything pretty serious.”

As long as Lynch and Rome remain healthy, however, Davis’ time to become a heavy contributor will be next season at the earliest. He knows this season will be useful from a learning perspective -- and he has two solid leaders to follow.

Lynch, a preseason All-SEC pick, is typically listed among the top senior tight end prospects for next year’s NFL draft after a more-than-serviceable first season as a starter. He’s trying to ignore the preseason acclaim for now, however, and his reasoning is sure to please Georgia fans who believe the many NFL prospects on last year’s team grew distracted by their pro possibilities.

“It’s cool for that recognition and for those lists to be out there in the eyes and minds of scouts. It’s good for immediate exposure. But if I don’t match what I did last year and try to expand upon it, then it doesn’t really mean much,” Lynch said.

“I don’t really put too much stock in it. Maybe I would’ve if we won the national championship last year and I wouldn’t have been so intense to win every game. But I think that’s my most important thing.”

About Them Dawgs: Jay Rome

December, 29, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at tight end Jay Rome.

No. 87 Jay Rome
Freshman/Tight end
11 catches, 152 yards, 2 TDs

Role in 2012: After redshirting behind Orson Charles and Aron White in 2011, Rome formed an effective tight end tandem with Arthur Lynch this fall.

The good: Rome played in every game and started once, against Georgia Tech, as a redshirt freshman. Rome caught at least one pass in each of the last five games and caught touchdown passes -- the first two of his career -- in the last two games. His 19-yard grab in the second quarter against Alabama helped Georgia take a 7-0 lead in the SEC championship game.

(Read full post)

2014 prospects to watch: TEs 

December, 14, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- As Georgia closes out its 2013 recruiting class, the Bulldogs’ coaching staff is hitting the road and the film room to evaluate the next crop of talented recruits. A few offers have already gone out to some members of the Class of 2014, but each week new names emerge.

We are going to take a position-by-position look at a number of the 2014 prospects whose profile pages you may want to add to your favorites. Here is a look at the tight ends Georgia has offered or has on its radar.

Needs: 2, Committed: none
Fourteen days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.

14. Ty Flournoy-Smith
Freshman, Tight end
6-foot-3, 237 pounds



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Arthur Lynch interview

August, 17, 2012
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Richt Monday post-practice updates 

August, 13, 2012
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Georgia coach Mark Richt discussed a variety of subjects in an interview period with reporters after Monday's practice, including how the Bulldogs' tailback situation is shaping up and how the team is still waiting for left tackle Austin Long to become a more reliable backup to Kenarious Gates.

Here are some of the highlights from Richt's Q&A period:

On tailback Ken Malcome’s progress this preseason:

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Notebook: Redshirt likely for Bauta 

August, 10, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt confirmed after Friday’s practice that true freshman quarterback Faton Bauta is likely in line for a redshirt season this fall.

Bauta is the newcomer in a deep group of quarterbacks that includes All-SEC starter Aaron Murray, junior Hutson Mason, redshirt freshman Christian LeMay and walk-on Parker Welch, so the incoming freshman has not been getting many practice reps this preseason.

“It’s just a matter of learning, and sometimes it is harder to learn when you’re trying to learn with a [small] amount of opportunities,” Richt said. “But we’re not expecting him to have to play for us this year. More than likely he’ll redshirt.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Hutson Mason knows he is in a unique position.

Georgia’s backup quarterback hopes to redshirt this season but knows if starter Aaron Murray gets hurt, it would become a judgment call between himself and coaches Mark Richt and Mike Bobo as to whether he should play -- particularly if an injury to Murray came midway through the fall or later.

In the meantime, he continues to share time with redshirt freshman Christian LeMay during preseason practice.

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Tight end Jordan Davis (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) committed to the University of Georgia on Sunday after spending Friday with the Bulldogs coaches. Davis made the trip with his mother, the day after the two took a visit to Florida. In the end, it came down to another classic border battle for the talented tight end.

"I just felt like I was at home, so I called John Lilly and Mark Richt and committed to Georgia," Davis said. “I told them I was already a Bulldog at Thomson, but I wanted to stay one in college.”

Davis picked up his scholarship offer from Georgia at the Mark Richt Camp on June 17. Richt told Davis that the staff had wanted to offer earlier but decided to wait until they could do so face to face. Georgia immediately went into his top three schools, alongside Florida and South Carolina. After visiting each, Davis says he is happy to play close to home.

And the visit this weekend apparently made quite an impression.

(Read full post)

Sixty-three days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.


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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s football players are just getting started with their summer conditioning and informal passing sessions, but the buzz surrounding those workouts is a bit different this year.

As members of a team that is sure to enter the season with a top-10 ranking and as a favorite to win the SEC East, the Bulldogs can pave the way for a successful season by beginning to build a strong knowledge and conditioning base now.

“Right now it’s early in the summer, but I think that everybody’s really excited about not only the season, but preparing for the season and I hope that they follow through with what I think they want to get accomplished,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “Because if they’re in great condition and they’re stronger and they’re quicker as a team, it’s going to be a great way to start our camp. Then it’s going to be our job as coaches to try to have the right amount of contact, the right amount of conditioning and those types of things.”

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Unsung Lynch figures to be TE weapon 

March, 15, 2012
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To get ready for the March 20 start of Georgia’s spring football practice, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day and feature one player to watch at that position. Today we look at tight ends and Arthur Lynch.

ATHENS, Ga. -- The risk for a tight end committing to a program like Georgia, with such a strong history at the position, is that it becomes easy to slip through the cracks.

Arthur Lynch struggled with that reality early in his Georgia career with other highly touted players ahead of him on the depth chart. This fall the fourth-year junior will finally get his chance to become a key contributor.

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Spring look: Tight end

March, 15, 2012
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To get ready for the March 20 start of Georgia’s spring football practice, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day. Today we analyze the tight ends. On Friday we will look at the offensive line.

2011 starters (stats): Orson Charles, Jr. (45 catches, 574 yards, 5 TD)

Key losses: Charles; Aron White, 2011 senior (9-101, 4 TD)

Reserves (stats): Arthur Lynch, Jr. (0 catches); Jay Rome, RFr. (Redshirted)

New faces: Rome -- the nation’s No. 18 overall prospect and top tight end on the ESPNU 150 in 2011 -- redshirted last season because of the Bulldogs’ depth at his position. He figures to contribute immediately, as could Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt County), who signed in February and should arrive in the summer.

Spring goal: Charles and White were just about the only Georgia tight ends to catch a pass through the last three seasons. Lynch caught the only two passes of his career as a freshman in 2009, totaling 17 yards, before redshirting in 2010 to gain extra class separation between himself and Charles.

(Read full post)

DawgNation signing day primer

January, 30, 2012
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The Georgia Bulldogs are hoping to add another top-10 class with head coach Mark Richt, and the 2012 class is ranked No. 5 in the ESPNU rankings.

Running back Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook), quarterback Faton Bauta (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer) and offensive lineman Mark Beard (Coffeyville, Kan./Coffeyville CC) have already enrolled and are on campus. Sixteen prospects are committed to Georgia, with nine others still being actively recruited by the Bulldogs.

DawgNation has you covered on when to expect each prospect to sign his letter of intent and add his name to the Bulldogs' 2012 recruiting class.

Commits

DT John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) 8 a.m.

(Read full post)

UGA TE commit has Heisman aspirations 

January, 18, 2012
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Four-star Georgia commitment Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt County) chose the Bulldogs over the Florida Gators last March, giving head coach Mark Richt and assistant coach John Lilly one of the most productive tight ends in the Southeast. Through the last two years, Smith has reeled in 88 catches for 1,268 yards under Packers head coach Rush Probst, and he hopes to raise the bar even higher during his career in Athens.

“I know this might make some people laugh, but my goal at Georgia is to be the first tight end to win the Heisman Trophy,” Smith said. “I think I can do that in Georgia’s offense.”

Smith took his official visit to Georgia this past weekend, and though he enjoyed learning about his potential on the gridiron, it was his academic future that had him most excited on this visit to Athens.

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