No go-to receiver? No problem, so far

semerson@macon.comSeptember 19, 2012 

ATHENS - Even without Malcolm Mitchell - for now - Georgia is starting to feel like it has a wealth of riches at the receiver spot.

Three games in, six different players have caught a touchdown. The only one by a non-receiver was tight end Arthur Lynch. Receivers Michael Bennett, Marlon Brown and Tavarres King have two each, and Rantavious Wooten has one.

This stat may be even more impressive: Seven different Bulldogs have catches of 36 yards or longer: All of the above plus Mitchell and freshman receiver Justin Scott-Wesley. And we haven't even mentioned sophomore Chris Conley, who has had a bit of a slow start (three catches for 31 yards), but big things are still expected of him.

"We don't really have one guy that's a standout guy at receiver, so (opponents are) not like: Hey we can just double this guy," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "They're gonna have to disguise coverage and try to confuse the quarterback a little bit," Bobo said.

Bobo was asked what was preferable: Having an A.J. Green, as they did from 2008-10, or a deep group of options.

"I think most definitely we like to have as many weapons as we can have. That's why I keep (being) ready to have 26 back. That's another weapon," Bobo said of Mitchell, with a grin.

But then Bobo explained the downside of only having one go-to receiver.

"One guy, we had A.J. Green, who was an outstanding player, in 2009 and 2010. Every week we'd get a different type coverage than what we'd see on film. They'd do something completely different to try to take him away," he said. "The year before, in '08, when you had (Green) and Mohammed (Massaqoui), and Knowshon (Moreno), teams had to play more what they do, and you had different ways you could attack them. So more weapons is always better."

To be fair, it's not like Green was the only option those two years: Kris Durham went on to be a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, and Orson Charles was a fourth-round pick this year by Cincinnati.

But this year's group clearly seems deeper, and quarterback Aaron Murray said it has helped open up the passing game.

"We even saw this last year. Last year we started opening it up late in the season," Murray said, saying it helps him use the whole field. "Instead of just saying: This is your progression, it's just the right side of the field, it's the left side of the field. We have route concepts for both sides of the field."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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