That will not be true after today. The Bulldogs will hold their first full scrimmage of the season this afternoon, and it will be the biggest practice of the year for the players, especially the wideouts.
“We’ll wait until Saturday,” wide receivers coach John Eason said, “and the guys who are making the plays are going to have the first crack at it and see if they can hold it.”
The only lock for a starting job at this point is Mohamed Massaquoi, the sophomore who led all wide receivers last year with 38 catches. He has continued to separate himself from his counterparts this fall with his consistency catching the football.
Sophomore Kenneth Harris ended spring as the other projected starter, but he has opened the door in the first week of camp for someone to take his place, Eason said. After two strong days, he took a step back on Georgia’s first day of full contact.
“Kenneth needs to do more,” Eason said. “(Thursday), I was not pleased at all. He has to step it up.”
Junior Mikey Henderson, who was switched from defensive back to wide receiver in the spring, clearly will have a spot early in the rotation because he has shown consistency catching the ball and emerged as the team’s best deep threat.
“He has speed for days,” quarterback Joe Cox said. “He can get by anybody on our defense right now.”
On various days during camp, head coach Mark Richt also has been pleased with Peach County product A.J. Bryant and junior T.J. Gartrell. The assessments change daily, though, Eason said. Senior Mario Raley, sophomore Demiko Goodman, redshirt freshman Michael Moore and true freshmen Kris Durham and Tony Wilson remain in the mix as well.
“I don’t care who it is,” Richt said. “If it’s Tony Wilson or Kris Durham. I don’t care if it’s Gartrell, Demiko Goodman, A.J. Bryant. It doesn’t matter to me. Get open and catch the ball, I don’t care who you are.”
Richt challenged his wide receivers in the spring to be more consistent catching the football and more of a force in his offense, and the group enters another season as one of the areas skeptics point to as a soft spot on the team. This year, they have made those question marks their rallying cry.
“I think it could be a good thing,” Harris said. “Not many people expect us to go out there and make big plays. We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of depth, so we’re going to go out there and prove a lot of people wrong.”
The 10 available wide receivers on Georgia’s roster have eight more catches, 25 more yards and eight fewer touchdowns in their careers than South Carolina’s Sidney Rice had last year as a freshman.
“Everybody is already doubting us,” Bryant said, “saying we won’t do nothing, but we know we’re good. We can do anything anybody else can do or better.”
Richt has taken a positive approach with the group this fall but insinuated early in camp that it’s time for some of his highly recruited players to start producing.
“I think our receivers are coming of age, and it’s time where they should be good,” he said.
“I think that they are ready to break out, at least two or three of them.”
UGA Wide Receivers (with career stats)
Catches Yards TDs
Jr. A.J. Bryant 8 142 2
Fr. Kris Durham 0 0 0
Jr. T.J. Gartrell 4 97 0
So. Demiko Goodman 0 0 0
So. Kenneth Harris 11 216 1
Jr. Mikey Henderson 0 0 0
So. Mohamed Massaquoi 38 505 2
RFr. Michael Moore 0 0 0
Sr. Mario Raley 17 208 0
Fr. Tony Wilson 0 0 0
*Senior Sean Bailey will take a redshirt year this season due to a torn ACL suffered in January.