August 29, 2009

Ball says six receivers will have to do

The way Tony Ball sees it, there's a double-edged sword to having just six scholarship receivers on hand.

Obviously, the lack of numbers is his biggest concern.

In a perfect world, Georgia's receiver coach would have three or four more such players at his disposal. Unfortunately, that won't happen until 2010.

But there is one redeeming fact that Ball says has helped his six-man crew as a whole - fewer receivers has meant extra reps.

"If you had nine or 10 scholarship receivers and they were of that same caliber, those guys would be getting (equal) reps," said Ball, the Bulldog receivers coach said. "You always like to go three groups but because of the limited number of guys that we've had we've had to go two. That's less reps for our quarterbacks but that's meant a lot more reps for those receivers."

Here's an interesting stat.

Of Georgia's returning wideouts; 94 percent of the catches were made by A.J. Green and Mike Moore, meaning Israel Troupe, Tavarres King, along with touted freshmen Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten, have received extra snaps that they might not have ordinarily received.

"Just that sheer lack of numbers creates an overload if you will," Ball said. "But they've held up pretty well physically and the reps that they gotten has really helped them.

Especially Wooten and Brown:

Ball said the pair came to camp focused and determined to make an impact, and except for a few minor bumps in the road have lived up to expectations.

"They taking the right steps but it's still a process. Every day is going to be new experience for them but their biggest ally right now is going to be time," Ball said. "They have shown some progress and shown the ability to play at this level. Their attitude has been great, so I'm encouraged by how they have progressed."

That includes the mental part of the game.

With the numbers crunch at receiver, both freshmen knew they would be expected to contribute right away.

The way Ball sees it, they never had a choice.

"That's part of the progress they've made that's really been encouraging," Ball said. "Their attitude has been great. With the limited amount of scholarship guys, they've had to get a tremendous amount of reps as well as soak in a lot of information but they've handled themselves quite well."

But while Georgia fans are excited to see what the two youngsters bring, Ball is equally anxious to see returnees King and Troupe step up their respective games.

"Troupe early in the preseason was struggling, just wasn't getting it fast enough but all of a sudden the light came on," Ball said. "He has just in the last week and a half made tremendous progress and his effort has been outstanding. He is not where he needs to be or where he wants to be but he is certainly making progress and I'm pleased with how he's pushed himself."

Still, Ball wants to see better focus from the former Tift County star.

"In this last scrimmage he kind of reverted back to some old habits that he can't do, and he did that when he got a little tired," Ball said. "But overall he has made some progress."

King, who was on his way to having a successful freshman season before severely spraining his ankle at Arizona State, is also being counted on heavily.

"Tavarres has very little to no playing experience so this is all new to him as well but he's making progress," Ball said. "He's got to make progress fast because he's one play away from being on the field."

According to Ball, King and Brown are both being gauged to see who will be the wideout when Georgia goes into its three-receiver set.

But Ball laughed that with just six receiver scholarships, his options are already rather limited.

"It all depends on what we're doing and what players we want on the field," Ball said. "We will base a lot of the rotation on what we're doing."

Obviously, avoiding injuries will be a key.

Although the Bulldogs have several walk-on receivers on hand, there's only one that Ball feels has a chance to contribute this fall.

"Right now the scholarship guys are getting the bulk of the work," Ball said. "The only walk-on with a good grasp of what's going on is Marquise Brown. He's got a lot of work with the first second group so if I had to tag a walk-on that could possibly help us it would be him."

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