Are we reading too much into the Malcolm Mitchell cornerback move?

I’m not just talking about our deluded Bleacher Report observer.  Even Andy Staples has weighed in on the subject.

Not exactly, but Georgia coach Mark Richt wants to keep his best athletes on the field. This spring, Richt plans to work sophomore receiver Malcolm Mitchell at cornerback. Georgia’s defense beings back a lot, but with Sanders Commings suspended the first two games in the wake of a January arrest during which he was accused of striking his girlfriend, the Bulldogs are thin at a critical position. That won’t matter in Week 1 against Buffalo, but it will matter in Week 2 at Missouri.

I don’t disagree, as far as that goes.  Missouri will present some sort of challenge that may very likely necessitate Mitchell’s presence on defense.  But how much time is he likely to see on that side of the ball after Commings returns?

I don’t ask because I’m skeptical he can contribute.  I ask it because I think Mitchell’s too valuable on offense to risk spreading him too thin.  Go back and look at Bill Connelly’s receiver target numbers for a minute.  Is there much doubt that Mitchell was Georgia’s most effective receiver last season?

Hey, if it turns out that he’s the second coming of Champ Bailey, go Dawg go (although it should be pointed out that Champ went the opposite direction from Mitchell, defense to offense).  But I’m not sure how all in Richt wants to be with the move if it impacts the receiving corps production.  With the inexperience of the offensive line, Aaron Murray’s gonna need all the help he can get this season.

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “Are we reading too much into the Malcolm Mitchell cornerback move?

  1. Uglydawg

    I think MM will be fine playing both ways. For a strong athelete who has conditioned himself to do it, it can work very well. Playing both ways can go a long way to keeping a player in the game at a high level. On defense, you pretty much go all out every play, but a reciever can save some energy on a lot of plays. A play maker like MM commands respect just from being on the field. I’m glad to see it. My money says he can handle it and make good things happen for the Dawgs.

  2. Krautdawg

    How clutch is MM on field goals of 40+ yards?

  3. sUGArdaddy

    I don’t think he’ll see the field much on D come Sep. 15. I think this is totally abou Dorial Beckham-Green. We know we’ve got to win that game at Mizzou and we’re going to do whatever it takes.

  4. JRod1229

    Purely a depth issue in my opinion.. train him and if it turns out he is as good as advertised, well you’ve got that lockdown corner you can throw in there on 3 and 5 in the fourth quarter. I think the coaching staff is more curious as to just how good he is on the other side of the ball.

  5. Bubs

    Is it 100% certain(barring some unforeseen incident or injury) that Commings will be on the team in 2012? I know he was suspended for 2 games but is everything sewn up regarding the incident in January?

    I only ask because if it looks like he could be out for longer than those 2 games then it is definitely a good idea to get our defensive ducks in a row sooner rather than later. Plus you never know what kind of injuries or off-the-field trouble (Spring Break, anyone?) could further deplete the secondary.

    • Cojones

      Won’t know until Clarke Co gets through with him. My guess is that the two games could be amended back to one or none after his court appearance. Who knows?

      We only lose dumb white guys at Spring Break . Stop the worrying.

  6. fetch

    I have no doubt Malcome can contribute on D, fatigue would be my only concern. He was outstanding on D (heavily recruited on that side of the ball) until his Senior year in HS when he switched to WR. Guess we will get to see how our S&C program has progressed, it seemed to serve Boykin fairly well.

  7. TSlick

    I think this is way overblown. Mitchell will not be a starting cornerback. I don’t think we will see him on defense that much. He will be used in Dime and perhaps Nickel packages. He could be a very dangerous to the opposition in those situations.

  8. heyberto

    If the running game takes a big step forward this season (I know, that’s a big IF), then I’m not sure his move to CB is as big of a deal as it appears to be right now.

  9. SCDawg

    The change in philosophy is what is most interesting to me. I think Richt knows this defense is going to be very, very good in 2012, but a lot of the best defenders are graduating/going pro after next year. Plus our schedule is a sight eaiser than some other teams in the East this year, and we have no idea what is going to happen with the schedule in 2012. I believe he thinks we have a shot to win the SEC in 2012 based on the defense (and 2013 will be a defensive rebuilding year) and the only way to do it is to take more risks and let a lot more starters play special teams, defense, offense, whatever it takes.

  10. JasonC

    I am with the Senator on this one. I think O to D is easier because you can select which routes you want him to run, but on D you have to learn man, zone and different coverages. Based on the learning curve that our full-time D players had, it seems risky unless the play him in man pkgs only.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      If they play him in man packages only how long will it take for the opposition to figure that out? Haven’t you then told the other team’s OC that you are going to be in man when MM trots onto the field?

      • Cojones

        Yeah, or fake it and run ‘Tree and or Rambo underneath in the middle. Hell, throw Josh in there at B-G. Their QB isn’t known yet to zip the ball into the zone with any frequency or alacrity. From what I’ve read his best shot is long and accurate. Grantham is probably salivating uncontrollably when thinking of what he can do with this bunch. We haven’t even mentioned Herrera and his Valdosta buddy who filled in early last year.

      • JasonC

        Another reason, I’m not too much of a fan of the move.

    • Cojones

      Mitchell played D in HS and only played WR his senior year. I would think he is perfect to shape both ways.

  11. goalinestalker

    Wooten back at WR will help in the rotation. MM def could play some nickle and help. Personally I don’t think Mizzou will have time to throw the ball period.

  12. Cojones

    Azucar Padre had the precise answer. Used conditionally to cover one receiver during the Mizzou game.

    Mitchell has already stated he likes the idea and he is going to get conditioned for such a move. No speculation necessary. If he has to be used every down on D for several series, we have other good receivers to take up any and all slacl. I don’t understand why King, the forgotten WR with over-200yds receiving in his last game, is not touted as our best avilable receiver. Wooten will be back, Conley will be prepared, Scott-Wesley plus 4 more receivers will be available to catch Murray’s passes. Rome is no slouch and neither is Lynch. Even Ogletree and RBs will be a target. Aren’t 13-14 targets enough to stand in for Mitchell if it ever comes to that?

    Mizzou had better have one helluva line to stop our RBs who will keep them off balance (did I just type that word for the boo birds to jump on?) such that Murray could throw to a turtle and still gain 5 yds. You’re trolling for “The Sky Is Falling!!” group aren’t you Senator? Bad Dawg!

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I don’t understand why King doesn’t get more love either. There was a post (was it here)? about his production vs the number of passes thrown his way. It wasn’t meant to be complimentary. He’s been money is the red zone though.
      I have Georgia by 10.
      just sayin’

  13. jferg

    My grandma could cover the Mizzou recievers IF our DL and LBs create the havoc I believe the can. Pash Rush is the single most effective DB on the field. PERIOD.

    • Cojones

      Just the same, their QB is accurate on long ones (he leads them well, therefore he doesn’t need much time with a well arched pass to a tall receiver) and Beckham-Green fits the bill on the other end. Think Mitchell is best suited by speed and athleticism to cover him when he is in the game, all due respect to your grandma notwithstanding. I don’t think Richt has put together this group to peak this year and is willing to watch a good QB and best WR in the country end the national hunt early. He’s serving notice early that he intends to take his shot, no matter the scheming and the players he has to put on the field in any situation in order to achieve that end.

      I also think he has an O line in mind that hasn’t all showed up yet. It’s gonna be fun watchin’ a great plan come together. Who says you can’t run D linemen both ways? Wonder what Jenkins and Geathers could do for the O on select plays?

      • AthensHomerDawg

        If we are game planning this early. I would ask you to consider Jenkins in the role of “The Frig” and Marshall in the role of Mr. Payton. Once we get inside the ten of Missouri …..just run that combination. Welcome to smash mouth football. I don’t think they have seen that much destruction since the Red Legs roamed their borders!

        • Cojones

          I’m wondering if Grantham may key him up and possibly start his career by running Josh Harvey-Clemons at B-G. He has good reasoning intellect and as an Ath would seem to have the ability to fight a 5* with a 5*. He’s over 6’5″ and would be a great matchup, rookie to rookie.

          Anyone notice how the Senator has held a bone to the fence at the pound with a bunch of eager,barking Disney mutts jumping up and down at his offering? Good speculative fun, Senator. Thanks.

        • Cojones

          AHD- Does this mean you are an old Bears fan? Saw them play at Soldier Field. From where I sat, you could only see continuous frenetic movement toward and around the Bear’s O line when Peyton had the ball and with a liquid current of opponent’s uniforms chasing him. Had to see him on TV to see all the moves.

          You like that idea of Jenkins in for a few special plays on O, eh? I think Marshall is a bigger Walter. You can’t represent what nerves will do in a game (see 2011, Boise State), but by the second quarter I expect for Mizzou to know that it’s Game On!

        • shane#1

          Josey Wales does not line that last remark. Be careful, be very careful.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Yeah? Well your grandma played 3 seasons at DB in the NFL, too (Giants as I recall). Still would be there except she lost a step or 2 of speed. A really hard hitter.

  14. charlottedawg

    I just don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal, good or bad. I think we’re going to see Mitchell be a capable corner when he’s periodically inserted into the defense and it will almost always be in nickel or dime situations. Other than that he’s going be the same old explosive play maker on offense that he normally is. I think this move will be a net positive for the team but i think the effect will be minimal.

  15. shane#1

    Great move IMO, coach him up CB in case you need him.

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