Quick Hitters - Bryan McClendon

With Fred Gibson and Michael Johnson at home in Athens, Georgia was in need of its newest playmaker on offense. The Dawgs got that Saturday from a back up receiver.

"We had a lot of people hurt," said sophomore wide receiver Bryan McClendon. Georgia has been battling injuries all season long.

"We had Fred (Gibson) missing; we had Michael (Johnson) missing; we had Sean Bailey missing and those guys are pure playmakers," said McClendon.

McClendon became a playmaker himself on Saturday. Just when Georgia needed him to step up, McClendon delivered to the tune of 6 catches for 108 yards. McClendon had only 5 receptions in all of 2003.

"I had to prove that I am a playmaker. I had to at least try to fill up their shoes as much as I could and that's what I did," said McClendon.

"Coach (Mark Richt) called the right plays and I just went out there and all I had to do was catch the ball. The line was protecting well, (David) Greene was throwing it well," he said.

Greene, like the rest of the Georgia squad, got off to a slow start but he finished the day with 19 completions for 208 yards.

Still McClendon's sudden playmaking abilities were the story of the game. He attributes his solid play to both Johnson and Gibson.

"Fred Gibson and Michael Johnson are great leaders. To tell the truth I don't know where I would be without those guys. They have been doing it for so long and it is so natural to them. They come out here and they will take me to the side and say: ‘You can do this instead of doing this.' That helps me find a way that I can (make plays)," said McClendon.

But the youngster from Atlanta said that his position coach also let him know that Saturday was going to be a great opportunity for him.

"Coach Eason will let you know that you are going to play. He explains to us that he is going to substitute a lot. He lets you know during practice. He told me that I was stepping into Fred and Michael's shoes and that I needed to make some plays. The system that we are in is a big play offense," McClendon said.

Big plays may be coming more and more from McClendon in the future, but he is concerned about Georgia playing better now.

"You can see that we have a lot of things to work on," he said.

Judging from its performance against Vanderbilt, Georgia has plenty to work on. But it's also obvious that McClendon has been working plenty enough lately to take provide a spark when this team needed it.


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