Trying to get the ball to Henderson

ATHENS – Georgia's Mikey Henderson, the junior cornerback-turned-wide receiver, was the Bulldogs' best playmaker during spring practice, Coach Mark Richt said then.

On Sunday, Richt said this: "We need somebody to rise to the occasion and make a play. We just have not had many playmakers make plays."

That leads to a rather obvious question. Where's Henderson been this fall? Seven games into the year, he hasn't caught a pass. He's only been thrown to once, and that pass was ruled a lateral and counted as a 3-yard rush.

"I want to get more snaps, but I'm going to leave it up to the coaches," Henderson said. "If it happens, it happens. I'm very eager, but I accept (my role)."

Henderson will play more in Saturday's 1 p.m. game against Mississippi State (2-5, 0-3 SEC), Richt promised. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound speedster excited Georgia's fan base by catching a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the G-Day game, but that remains his lone offensive highlight.

"Our receivers in general are not getting as many opportunities as we'd like to give them, but, yeah, I'd love to see Mikey get untracked a little bit," Richt said. "I think he does have some play-making ability; we saw it in the spring. We need to find a way to get him the ball a little more."

For now, junior A.J. Bryant is ahead of Henderson on the depth chart, and, at least until Bryant's two-drop game against Vanderbilt, he was playing well.

"Because Mikey has not been a guy who has done it in a game before, it's hard to say, well we have to get Mikey in there ahead of A.J.," Richt said. "A lot of it is just timing."

Henderson has seen plenty of action as one of the nation's top punt returners (18.9 per return), and that's one of the reasons his offense has been limited. After a punt return, Henderson needs several plays to catch his breath before taking a snap on offense, he said.

"When I return them, I'm not going to lie, I'm tired," he said. "I just feel like I won't be going full speed and any play could be the difference-maker in the game, so if I'm not fully recovered from a punt return, I don't want to be in the game."

That becomes a problem when Georgia's offense doesn't stay on the field long, and forty-eight percent of the Bulldogs' possessions this season haven't lasted to a fifth play.

Henderson also missed most of three games due to a hamstring injury, but that still leaves four games of twiddling his thumbs while the Bulldogs' offense struggles.

No one would like for Henderson's role to increase more than the man who threw him that touchdown pass in the spring game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was given the starting job this week along with the charge to spark the Bulldog offense. Henderson could help.

"He's definitely a talented guy, one of the fastest guys on the team, tons of moves," Stafford said. "I'm sure we'll keep trying to think of new ways to get him in the offense."

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