Over at Team Speed Kills, cocknfire ponders Georgia’s short-term reality in the wake of the season ending injury suffered by Michael Bennett.
Still, it’s an average of almost five catches for 69 yards a game. The question isn’t so much whether the Georgia offense will regroup and find someone to replace those yards; they will. The question is whether they will do so soon enough to help out in one of the biggest games of the season.
As noted in his post, Bennett has certainly played the part of a clutch receiver this season.
Before he went down, Bennett had 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns (cfbstats.com). Seventeen of his receptions (71 percent) went for first downs, including six of the eight catches he made in third-down situations.
If you review Bennett’s catches on the SEC video box scores archive — the Tennessee game was not up as of this writing — one thing that leaps out at you is that Bennett rarely drops a good pass. I can remember two passes that he probably should have caught and didn’t. I can remember at least one that he probably shouldn’t have caught and did. Another couple of passes sailed wide and Bennett caught one out of bounds.
He was a reliable receiver; he might not have been the kind of guy who has breakaway speed, but he can get open and catch the ball when he is open — two things that aren’t always as easy as they should be fore receivers.
My guess is that there’s a guy on the roster who may fit the bill. Granted, he’s not been much of a contributor so far, but that’s about to change.
I’m talking about Malcolm Mitchell, of course. He’s only caught six balls in 2012, which is too small a sample size to judge his ability to fill the hole in productivity that Bennett has left, but if you go back and look at what Mitchell did in 2011 – his catch rate was second best among all SEC receivers with at least 50 receptions and was also better than Bennett’s – you’d have to think he’s at least adequate for the task. Beyond that, if, like cocknfire, you’re impressed with Bennett’s clutchness on third down, check out Mitchell’s 2011 performance in that department.
Is Mitchell still rusty from a lack of reps due to his stint on defense? We’re about to find that out. One thing seems likely – he won’t be focusing this Saturday on anything but playing wide receiver.