July 12, 2010

What will suspensions mean?

Now that Georgia knows it will be without Tavarres King for at least the season-opener and Dontavius Jackson the first six games of the 2010 campaign, what will their absences mean?

King's absence obviously hurts the most.

The redshirt sophomore enjoyed a stellar spring, and based on comments from teammates like Brandon Boykin, was the most improved of all the Bulldog receivers, particularly in terms of getting off the line of scrimmage and catching virtually every ball that came within reach.

With King out, look for senior Kris Durham to step into the starting lineup for the season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Durham, of course, missed last year with a torn labrum but his experience and knowledge of the system should enable him to step right in.

While Durham doesn't give Georgia the deep threat that King does to compliment flanker A.J. Green, he will give quarterback Aaron Murray a dependable target, one he won't hesitate to look to often.

Sophomore Marlon Brown will also need to step up his game.

Brown struggled as a freshman picking up the Bulldogs' system and was limited in the spring due to a shoulder injury.

However, according to wide receivers coach Tony Ball, the potential is certainly still there.

"It set him back because the only way you can get better is through repetitions," Ball said recently. "It slowed down his progress but he did make some progress so we can't dwell on what he hasn't had a chance to do, but we've got to find ways to take advantage of what he can."

Sophomore Rantavious Wooten, junior Israel Troupe and incoming freshman Michael Bennett will also need to step up their games.

"As a group I've seen us make some tremendous strides in both areas of the passing game, as well the running game," Ball said. "Guys are working hard on the perimeter, getting better and being more competitive on the perimeter in the running game. In the passing game we're making a lot more of the catches, some of the tough catches and doing a much better job of creating space for the quarterbacks to throw the football."

Jackson's suspension certainly doesn't do him any favors.

The former Heard County standout was already fourth team on the depth chart following Washaun Ealey, Caleb King and Carlton Thomas and faced an uphill battle for playing time as it was.

However, now that he's out until the Oct. 16 game against Vanderbilt, Jackson's absence will open the door even wider for true freshman Ken Malcome, who with a solid preseason, can put himself in position for decent snaps behind Ealey, King and Thomas.

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