Browning to try WR in Spring ball

ATHENS – Georgia might not be thin at the wide receiver position much longer. The Bulldogs will be trying out a new scheme to use one of their best athletes at the wide out spot this spring.

"It's something new, you know?" said Tyson Browning about his spring position switch to wide receiver.

"Its not necessarily a permanent move to wide receiver," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "It really more of an opportunity to have more value to the team which will hopefully mean more playing time for him," Richt added.

"Right now I am trying to learn what to do. I told Fred (Gibson) and the rest of the guys today that I had fun. I'll just keep building on today," Browning said of his first experience at receiver on Saturday.

Mark Richt and company plan on using Browning as a combination wide receiver – running back in the fall. Browning's ability to play both positions could prove too much for opposing teams in terms of match ups.

"We want to make him a legitimate receiver," said Richt. "He already knows what to do at tailback. He will give us some versatility. He can shift from a running back position to a wide receiver position and be legitimate at it. Instead of a running back trying to be a receiver… he'll be a receiver playing receiver and a legitimate running back playing running back/"

"He needs to be commended on the attitude of being a team player," continued Richt. "He wants to be a guy that helps us win."

"I look at it as not only something that will help me get more playing time but something that will also help the team. I am up for the challenge; I know that it is going to be difficult. It's going to be one of the hardest things that I will have to learn since I have come to college," said Browning.

Richt said that he and his staffed talked about moving Browning a few months ago but decided against it because of how well Browning was doing both in football and in life.

"Coach Richt and I talked about it and the way that he came to me with it was that it could help me get more playing time. Anything that can help you get on the field more and help the team: I was up for it," said Browning.

Browning is getting valuable practice time right now, too. He and friend Fred Gibson, it seems, are the only wide receivers practicing right now. Reggie Brown had an excused absence from practice Saturday according to Richt and the other receivers are nursing injuries.

"Right now it's only me and Fred playing receiver and that helps me get a lot of reps," he said. "But when the fall gets here, as far as the playing time, we really have not talked about it."

Browning continued about his relationship with Gibson: "It also helps that we are such great friends anyway. He has been talking to me up until today. Really this has been a three to four day thing where I have had to learn formations and routes. Being so close to Fred has really helped me. On the field he is the only one that I go talk to."

Georgia will try to use Browning the same way that Damien Gary was used in a limited role during his career at Georgia. Gary came out of the running back position on occasion with the most memorable time being the game winning drive against Tennessee in 2001.

"The one guy that Coach Richt talked to me about was Damien Gary. He wants to do some of the things that we should have done with Damien but its helps even more because I already know how to play running back," Browning said.

Richt agreed: "Damien was a guy that you knew was a gimmick if he was coming out of the backfield. The difference with him and Gary is that he'll really be a legitimate player at each position rather than a gimmick."

Browning said that his peers are already talking about his potential at the proposed hybrid running back/wide receiver position.

"Thomas Davis and Greg Blue have been going on and on about me playing receiver because they know that if I can catch the ball and turn around in the open field… I like my chances in the open field," he said.

But the proof may already be in the pudding in terms of Browning's pass catching abilities. He had the longest pass reception of the season last year against LSU, albeit a screen pass. His 93-yard touchdown temporarily tied the two powers late in the game.

Browning, however, does not want to get into a competition with his friend Gibson when it comes to lengthy receptions.

"I don't want to get into a battle like that against Fred," joked Browning about owning the team's longest reception of 2003.

Dawg Post Top Stories