Malcolm Mitchell said he and his teammates are naturally bothered that fellow receiver Marlon Brown's Georgia career is over after tearing his ACL Saturday against Ole Miss.
However, the show must go on.
"We've got a job to do. You can be upset about it but you've still got to stay focused," Mitchell said after practice Monday. "That's been our mood, just focus on the stuff we've got to prepare for."
Mitchell said every single receiver on the Bulldogs' squad will have to be ready.
That includes seldom-used redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley, who could be one of the players coaches turn to help fill Brown's absence at both the X and Y receiver positions.
After bouts with consistency in practice, Scott-Wesley feels he's finally ready to have an impact.
"Two months ago I was learning a new position. I was learning the X, so I guess it was just consistency and getting my assignment down," Scott-Wesley said about his earlier issues. "But right now I'm confident in my abilities, confident in my role. I think I'm ready to go."
A member of the Bulldog track team, Scott-Wesley's only catch this year came in Georgia's win against Florida Atlantic when he grabbed a short pass from quarterback Aaron Murray and turned it into a 43-yard gain.
He's barely seen the field since. But the former Mitchell County standout said got down on himself for not seeing the field.
"I really didn't think anything of it (the catch) because that's what I'm expected to do. I'm expected to catch the ball and make something happen," he said. "But I had great guys in front of me - Michael Bennett, Marlon Brown - great guys ahead of me. I just played my role, tried to help in practice and wait my turn."
During Sunday's teleconference, head coach Mark Richt mentioned Scott-Wesley, along with Chris Conley, Rhett McGowan and senior Taylor Bradberry as players who could benefit by Brown's absence.
"I've just been preparing like I'm a starter, like I'm getting ready to play," Scott-Wesley said. "Even with games I knew was going to be a dog-fight and realistically I wouldn't go in, I would prepare like I was going to play. I'm ready if my number is called."
Mitchell said he's confident in Scott-Wesley, if that is indeed the case.
"He's definitely been preparing for his chance. Is this his chance? I couldn't tell you," Mitchell said. "I'm fine with whomever in there."
Conley is expected to receive at least a portion of Brown's reps in the Y (slot).
"I only know one position but other guys know more than one, TK (Tavarres King), Justin, Malcolm, they can interchange those guys all the time," said junior Rantavious Wooten, who will remain solely at the Z and technically won't be affected by Brown's absence.
"We're definitely going to miss that guy but I feel like the guys will step up. That's what we expect to do," Wooten said. "When things happen, that's what we're supposed to do. I feel we've got guys who can step up, roll with it and make things happen like he did."
"All the receivers are a close group. We feed off each other," he said. "We're a band of brothers and when Marlon went down it affected the whole group. But we'll do fine. We'll do it for Marlon and Michael both."
This and that
Georgia practiced for an hour Monday in preparation for Saturday's big game at Auburn, which if the Bulldogs win, will give Richt's squad the SEC East crown for the seconds straight year. "It's imperative that we have a week of good practice, and that means staying focused on our fundamentals and keeping our minds right," Richt said. "We know that we're going to have a real battle against Auburn. We know that they will give us their best, and we need to respond by doing the same thing. We got off to a good start tonight. The guys did all the little things right. We need to keep working hard and getting better as the week goes on."
Right guard Abry Jones (left shoulder injury) and linebacker Chase Vasser (left shoulder sprain) did not practice Monday. On Sunday, Richt said Burnette was "day-to-day."
Richt announced that captains for Saturday will be center David Andrews, nose John Jenkins, linebacker Jarvis and safety Shawn Williams.
Murray was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Ole Miss. Murray went 21-for-28 for 384 yards and four touchdowns. He hit 11 different receivers in the game, including four different targets on the touchdowns. Murray has 21 touchdowns this season and a school-record 80 in his career.
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