After watching Malcolm Mitchell seamlessly go through drills during practice Wednesday afternoon, junior wideout Tavarres King looked over at receivers coach Tony Ball and made the following observation.
"The boy is back," King said. "We've been playing well without Malcolm, but now that we've got him back with us, he gives us another gem. We're pretty excited."
There's no doubt about that.
Mitchell has missed the last three games for Georgia, since injuring his hamstring in the second half of Georgia's 20-12 win over Tennessee, at which time he was leading the Bulldogs in receiving with 25 catches for 437 yards and three touchdowns.
"He ran full speed in my mind," head coach Mark Richt said. "He might not have been full speed, but he's close to running full speed. He was out there running, changing directions, jumping, catching balls
I'm convinced he will be ready to play."
Mitchell said he'll be ready.
"I'm feeling good," the Valdosta freshman told reporters. "I did mostly everything (Wednesday), except probably for one or two drills."
Mitchell said his longest route Wednesday was approximately 30 yards.
"I'll probably open it up (Thursday)," said Mitchell, who added he probably came back a wee bit quickly when he re-aggravated the injury on the Monday following the Bulldogs' victory at Vanderbilt.
"I think I took it a little bit too fast last time," he said. "I came out trying to sprint the first day and I re-aggravated it pretty bad."
Sitting out wasn't easy.
Mitchell was especially upset to have missed the Bulldogs' 24-20 win over Florida, although he relished seeing his fellow receivers step up.
" I was not surprised at all," Mitchell said. "I've been working with them all summer, I already knew they were hard workers and great players, Chris (Conley)
Michael (Bennett). I'm just a little help; I'm not too much."
Richt defers comment on Paterno
Richt was a guest on the Scott Van Pelt radio show Wednesday afternoon when he was asked to give his take on the tragic situation at Penn State as it pertained to head coach Joe Paterno.
"Well, I haven't really been reading every article and that type of thing," Richt said. "I've been trying like mad to get in the SEC Championship game and we work the late hours. But you can't be in the college football world and not hear what's going on, or at least the allegations. I really don't know enough to start making any kind of opinion, but it seems like a very sad and serious situation right now."
Friend feels youngsters coming along
Offensive line coach Will Friend said his freshman offensive linemen gave a better account of themselves last week against New Mexico State than they did in their only other appearance versus Coastal Carolina.
"We're still where we're at a little bit, but it was good that we got to play," Friend said. "They played better than they did the last time, they've just got to keep getting better and be ready in case they are ever called on."
Center David Andrews, right tackle Watts Dantzler and right guard Hunter Long, along with redshirt freshman Hugh Williams and redshirt left tackle Austin Long, played the entire second half during the Bulldogs' 63-16 win.
"They know what they're doing better," Friend said. "They've got a little bit more confidence in what they're doing, they've got more confidence in themselves."
Friend was glad to see Austin Long take advantage of his first collegiate snaps after finally being healthy enough to play for the first time in three years.
"The first time you're going to play, no matter what the situation is, there was little bit of nerves when he first got in, but he settled down after that and did fine," Friend said. "He's just got to get healthy so he can get on the field. It just hasn't been enough over and over times again. You'll get two weeks out of him, and two weeks where he's off, so he's got to get through that."
This and that
Richt said that linebacker Jarvis Jones' MCL sprain is much better and will definitely play Saturday.
Quarterback Aaron Murray is closing in on the school record for touchdown passes in a season. Murray currently has 23, which ranks third best, two shy of the mark set by Matthew Stafford in 2008. Last year, Murray threw for 24 scores and has 47 for his career. Stafford had 51 in his three-year career before being the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. David Greene (2001-04) owns the school career record with 72 touchdown passes.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]