UGA WR’s: A Group That Needs To Learn Quickly

John Kelley

ATHENS, Ga.– Quarterback isn’t the only group on the offense or even entire Georgia Bulldogs football team that is going to have some inexperienced players at the position. Wide receiver is definitely a group to keep your eye on in 2015, in case you’re looking for young players to make an immediate impact.

As the Bulldogs begin their fall camp, the wide receiver group is made up of 16 players in total. Seven of those players are either true or redshirt freshmen.

Part of those young players includes five-star signee Terry Godwin out of Hogansville. Many look to him to play quickly in 2015.

During the spring, head coach Mark Richt says they were “hanging by a thread” in terms of the lack of number of players at the position. Now they’ve added five new freshmen to the group that includes Godwin, Jayson Stanley (Creekside), Shaquery Wilson (Coral Gables, Fla.), Wayne Coombs (Greenbrier) and Michael Chigbu (New Orleans, La.).

Since the players have hit campus, Richt says the group has benefitted from the summer workouts.

“I think the summertime has just been so beneficial compared to the years past where they’d show up a couple days ago,” Richt said. We’re with the rookies for two or three days, then the veterans roll in. They’re just not ready.”

Richt also pointed to the rule of being able to have a mandatory eight hours that they were able to work with the players over the summer. They can also work a couple of hours with them in a meeting setting. This is a rule that was put into place just last year.

“To have two months to be able to meet with them a little bit, have the veterans show them the way out on the practice field throughout the summer, it just gives them a better chance to compete,” Richt said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very hard. If you’re not sure of what you’re doing, you have a little bit of working knowledge, you just can’t play with the type of intensity and you can’t play as fast as you’d like to.”

While Georgia has a recent history of getting meaningful contributions out of freshmen, Richt says he isn’t looking to them to start right away. He says he won’t do that, at least publicly.

Yes, the Bulldogs have seen players like Todd Gurley a couple of years ago burst onto the scene at running back. We saw the same last year out of Nick Chubb at the same position. Let us also not forget about Isaiah McKenzie’s contributions to the offense last year as a wide receiver and mostly in the return game.

Georgia is looking for young help at wide receiver and other positions with this talented group now inside the program. But he also wants them to get adjusted to college at a more comfortable speed.

“I don’t want to put some undo pressure on a guy and say we expect you to start this year,” Richt said. “Again, it’s going back to do, play with great energy every day and just try to become the best player you can be at whatever position you play. Then we’ll determine who’s going to play as we go.”

We can’t forget that Georgia gets senior Malcolm Mitchell back this season following a 31 catch, 248 yard and three touchdown 2014. He also says that he is 100 percent healthy, following the knee injury that caused him to miss pretty much all of 2013 and some of last season.

Fellow senior Justin Scott-Wesley is also trying to get back to his pre knee injury form in his final season with the Bulldogs.

The quarterbacks are indeed trying to figure out who will be the starter when they take the field against ULM (Louisiana-Monroe) in September. But, they’re trying to move the wide receivers along so they can have some capable hands to throw to this season.

One of those quarterbacks is redshirt sophomore Brice Ramsey and he agrees with Richt that the summer helped the group.

“A lot of the young guys came in June and we got into the gist of 7-on-7,” Ramsey said. “They picked it up very quickly and we were able to kind of install (some of the offense) to get them adapted to the playbook. Instead of having them just learn the playbook, they were actually out there running routes against defenders. So, it was huge for them.”

Junior Faton Bauta is also in the group of three quarterbacks vying for the starting spot this fall and he agrees that the summer was huge for the players.

“I think this first practice guys will be on a different level than they were before they came into a first preseason practice,” Bauta said. “(That’s) because we did those (Installation learning periods).”

The truth of the matter is that both the QB’s and WR’s are a little less experienced than say the running backs or offensive linemen. However, we can also expect that we’ll be seeing young players making an impact early in the season.

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