The junior wideout hasn’t played in a game since he left the field in the first quarter of the 2013 Clemson game. Following a torn ACL at Clemson, Mitchell was sidelined for the entire season. Of course Mitchell was supposed to return at the start of this season, but was sidelined yet again by a cartilage injury the week Georgia was set to start its fall camp. After all this time off, will he be the same Malcolm Mitchell when he steps onto the field Saturday?
“I think it takes a little bit of time,” Michael Bennett said. “When I came back from mine, practice was just a big thing; kind of getting back in shape. I know Malcolm hasn’t had a ton of time to really run around. Justin’s been practicing a little bit, but Malcolm just hasn’t had a lot of time to run so I don’t know how many reps he’ll get on Saturday, but I’m sure enough to get back in game shape and that won’t take to long. It definitely is a process.”
As for Scott-Wesley’s endurance – he’s got a plan.
“He said he’s been running some extra sprints on the sideline during practice,” Mason said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
(Two) Will two new targets be the solution to Georgia’s passing woes?
Georgia has passed for 649 total yards through four games this season. As the starter, Mason has thrown for 566 of those yards. However, the passing game has yet to reach its full potential. The returns of Mitchell and Scott-Wesley should change that for the better, according to Bennett.
“I think it’s definitely going to help,” Bennett said. “Anything will help at this point. We’re obviously struggling, but I think just continuing to practice and getting timing down with the receivers and we’ll be alright.”
Why is Georgia having timing issues?
After all, Mason threw for nearly 300 yards in each of his two starts last season with a similar cast of receivers.
“It’s been a little surprising,” Bennett said. “Just a lot of different factors go into why it’s kind of been a struggle, but I think overall we’ve just got to have the mindset that we’ve got to go out and play our game because we’ve done it. Last year we threw for 300 yards in two games where Hutson had the same receivers, the same players pretty much, and we were killing it. This year we’ve been struggling for whatever reason, but we’ve just got to have confidence out there and know we can do it (and) we have done it multiple times.”
Regardless of who lines up for Georgia, Mason says a lot of the necessary changes will be up to him to make. He just needs to relax.
“I’m just going to try to let it fly to the best of my ability and obviously still try to make great decisions,” Mason said. “I think some of my problem in the past is I just try and maybe put too much pressure on myself as far as trying to get everything right, and I think that’s kind of made me slow down in my ability to play mentally.”
Judging my Mason’s demeanor on Tuesday, he won’t loosen up until he’s able to do that.
“I won’t feel any better until we get this thing fixed and I start playing better to tell you the truth,” Mason said. “It’s just part of it.”
(Three) Gurley’s 'killing it.'
Georgia has rushed for 1201 yards in its four games. 610 of those yards are Todd Gurley’s. It’s not like Georgia’s offense is at a standstill.
“The run game is doing so well. You’ve got to really understand that that’s a big reason, too,” Bennett said. “Todd is just killing it out there. Just numbers-wise that’s one of the reasons we’re not putting up a ton of numbers - Todd’s just killing it. We’re winning ball games so I’m not going to sit here and apologize because we’re winning games. I don’t think a whole lot needs to change right now.”
(Four) You know you’re doing something right when you’re teammates are ‘honored’ to block for you. That’s how Jay Rome put it on Tuesday night.
“We’ve just been called on to block a little bit more,” Rome said. “We’ll keep doing that as long as we need to.”
Rome did, however, have Gurley come his way on ‘the hurdle’ against Tennessee over the weekend. He had a great view of Gurley’s latest feat.
“I sealed the end and he made it around, and when I looked up I just saw him flying through the air,” Rome said. “At the time I didn’t realize how great of a play it was until I looked back...when I looked back I was kind of like ‘man, I’m playing with one of the greatest ever right now.’”
(Five) Mike Bobo has all the confidence he needs in his starting quarterback.
He’s had the talk with Mason.
“I think we’ve been a little bit cautious at that position,” Bobo said. “Hesitant is something that you can’t do playing the position. That was the main talk – just go out there and play football. I trust you. Let’s play, and don’t be hesitant.”
That’s certainly not the first time Bobo has had to do that. He coaches quarterbacks. He was a quarterback.
“All guys go through it,” Bobo said. “You don’t want to make a mistake in ball games, but if you’re hesitant or afraid to make a mistake then you’re not going to be as competitive as you need to be to play the position.”