Brown and Gibson get one more day in the sun

TAMPA - Reggie Brown doesn¹t see why any of Georgia's young wide receivers would be surprised by their lack of production this year.

³They knew we had this year,² said Reggie Brown, who teamed with fellow senior wide receiver Fred Gibson to catch almost every meaningful pass of the season. ³Wait your turn.²

The turn for No. 8 Georgia¹s youngsters will come as soon as Saturday¹s Outback Bowl against No. 16 Wisconsin (9-2) is over.

This year was about Brown and Gibson.

They combined to catch 95 passes, 75 more than all of Georgia¹s other wide receivers combined. It was a fitting final season for two of the best pass catchers in school history, but there¹s a downside.

The Bulldogs (9-2) will enter 2005 with an untested wide receiving corps.

³There¹s going to be a lot less experience stepping on that field,² said junior Bryan McClendon, who caught five passes this year. ³Losing those guys would hurt any team, but (the receivers) feel like we learned from the best. There shouldn¹t be too much fall off.²

Sophomore Sean Bailey appears to be the frontrunner to take over the ³go-to² status next year. He was Georgia¹s third-leading receiver this year with 12 catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns.

³I¹m real excited,² he said. ³It feels good to think I can be a big part of this team. I¹m real excited about it, but I know I still have a lot of things to work on to catch up with Fred and Reggie.²

All of Georgia¹s young receivers say they feel fortunate to learn the position from Gibson and Brown.

³I would be stupid not to (watch how they do things),² Bailey said. ³They know how to compete. They know how to work hard. It was the perfect situation for me to come into. I¹m learning from the best.²

Demiko Goodman and Kenneth Harris will join veterans McClendon, Bailey, Peach County¹s A.J. Bryant and T.J. Gartrell next year. They redshirted this year but have shown tremendous natural ability.

³Redshirting helped me a lot,² Goodman said. ³You think you know a lot in high school and then it¹s completely different in college. Hopefully, all this work this year will prepare you for next year. Having Fred and Reggie ahead of you makes you want to get where they are now.²

Georgia coach Mark Richt sees a precedent for his wide receivers having success next year.

³It¹s kind of similar maybe to our tight ends going into this year,² he said. ³They didn¹t have a lot of experience, but I know they are talented.²

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