Big play problem could be solved by Goodman

ATHENS – Style is important to Demiko Goodman, and he doesn't think there's anything wrong with that.

"When you go out there, you kind of want to play with some swag," he said, shortening the word swagger. "You want to put a little extra into it just to show the defense, show the cornerback, show everybody that you're out there to prove something."

Georgia's 6-foot-4 junior wide receiver follows the same principle most mornings when he gets out of bed and chooses his outfit. He showed up to the No. 24 Bulldogs news conference this week in a nicer outfit than anyone in the room and topped it off with size 12 alligator-skin shoes shined to near transparency.

"I like to look decent," Goodman said. "I'm trying to get like (head coach Mark) Richt, be clean every day."

Fullback Brannan Southerland went to Washington, D.C., this summer with Goodman on a class trip, and said Goodman wore a different suit every day.

"Some were yellow," Southerland said, "Some were gold."

Goodman estimates he has 10 suits. His favorite is a bright blue and peach one he recently wore to church.

"He's got so many and all of them look good," safety Kelin Johnson said. "You try to compete with him, but you can't. You never know what you're going to get from Demiko. I'm telling you, he's got all kinds of colors for you."

Wide receivers coach John Eason attends the same church as Goodman.

"It's a fashion show," Eason said. "He's quite sporty."

"He pulls off a lot of stuff that a lot of people can't pull off," wide receiver Sean Bailey said.

Goodman is slowly begining to stand out on the field the way he has off it since arriving from Newnan High School in 2004. His leaping touchdown catch over Tennessee cornerback Brent Vinson was the sole highlight of Georgia's loss to the Volunteers last week and joined the diving touchdown catch he made against Western Carolina as the most dynamic plays made by a Georgia receiver this year.

"He has shown it a couple times where he has had the ability to just go up and want the ball more than the defensive back does," Southerland said.

That attitude will earn Goodman more playing time, Richt said.

"He's talented," Richt said. "I really thought last year he was making his move. He did make his move I thought, but then he got hurt."

Goodman tore his ACL last season in a 14-9 win over Ole Miss in which he had a career-high four catches for 71 yards. He was still slowed by the injury early this season but appears ready to make a similar jump now. He has four catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Goodman's rehab helped him become a better all-around receiver, he said, and he even thinks he's faster than before, quite a statement for a junior Olympic sprinter.

"He seems faster," Eason said. "The thing that he's starting to do now is run. He's always been fast on a track, and he's starting to transfer that to the football field."

Goodman's biggest hurdle to being football fast was the belief he had to be too fancy on the field, Eason said. Moments before Goodman's touchdown catch against Western Carolina, Eason told him, "Just run, no moves, run."

"He just took off, and that's what he has to do," Eason said, "use his speed, trust his speed."

Goodman set Georgia's 400-meter dash indoor record as a freshman but missed the last two track seasons due to injury. He plans to run again this fall, mainly because his record has been beaten.

"I'm going to have to come back and get that record back and put it where no one can get it," he said. "If I go out and run my fastest, it won't be touched again for a long time."

Goodman is not expected to this week, but he will alternate series Bailey, the starting split end.

"If I play one play or 100 plays, I'm going to do my best to help the team out and help win some games," he said.

Goodman wants to prove, he said, that he's got substance to go along with his unique style.

"I'm a football player," he said. "Wide outs, some people like to say they are just prima donnas or whatever, but I don't like to say that. We're football players too, so we have to go out there and play football."

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