Richt: Dawgs need to get better catching ball

ATHENS - Bryan McClendon doesn't know his recent Georgia football history very well. The Bulldogs' senior wide receiver seems to think his position only started getting grief this season.

"It's been something we've been dealing with ever since Fred (Gibson) and Reggie (Brown) left," McClendon said of the impression that Georgia's pass-catchers aren't getting the job done often enough.

What he's forgetting, or never knew, is that every significant receiver to wear the red and black under Coach Mark Richt has heard the same thing. Back to the days of Terrence Edwards in the end zone against South Carolina and in the open field against Florida, Georgia receivers have been razed for their inconsistent hands. Even Gibson and Brown made Bulldogs fans spike their ballcaps in the stands more than once in exasperation over a dropped pass.

"I showed up here wanting to chunk it a lot, but you have to make plays," Richt said. "We're struggling throwing and catching. We have to be better."

The No. 9 Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC), who play No. 15 Auburn on Saturday, are third in the SEC in passing yards per game (232.5) and passing efficiency, but they could be a lot better. McClendon, fellow starter Sean Bailey, tight end Martrez Milner and Peach County's A.J. Bryant all have had notable drops this season.

"As a receiver, you have to have a short memory," Bailey said. "You don't want to be let one drop turn into three or four because you're still thinking about that first one. Obviously we haven't played as well as we would like, but it's one of those things where we have to keep working and things will fall into place for us."

Although Richt acknowledged that freshman Mohamed Massaquoi has been the most consistent receiver on the team in terms of catching the ball, he doesn't foresee the freshman taking McClendon's or Bailey's starting spot soon, he said. Massaquoi is still learning the system and how to block effectively, Richt said.

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