published Friday, February 24th, 2012

Georgia football coach Mark Richt confirms some Bulldogs may do some switching

Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (26) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Athens, Ga.
Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (26) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Athens, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt has heard the offseason speculation regarding personnel changes.

Sophomore receiver Malcolm Mitchell aiding a depleted cornerback position. Senior tailback Richard Samuel moving to fullback. Sophomore outside linebacker Ray Drew switching to defensive end.

Is any of it legit? Perhaps all of it, Richt said Thursday.

"We have got to make sure that we take the entire talent base of our football team and get the best players out there in whatever situations that we need them in," Richt said. "If that means a guy playing both ways or two positions on defense -- whatever we've got to do to get the best players on the field. We've got to take advantage of everybody's abilities."

The Bulldogs will start spring practice March 20. The G-Day game is scheduled for April 14 at 2 p.m.

Mitchell, who led Georgia with 60.5 receiving yards a game last season, was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 cornerback prospect nationally in the 2011 signing class. The Bulldogs need him to add some cornerback responsibility following the dismissals earlier this month of Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders and last week's announcement that Sanders Commings would be suspended for the first two games of the season.

"We're going to experiment with that a little bit and see how much he can handle," Richt said of the 6-foot-1, 184-pound Mitchell.

Samuel rushed for 240 yards last season and could finish his career at yet another position. He was a tailback during the 2008-09 seasons and returned there last year, and he was an inside linebacker between those stints.

Drew signed last year as Rivals.com's No. 1 defensive end prospect but played sparingly for coordinator Todd Grantham this past fall at outside linebacker, tallying eight tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in seven games.

"Our defense is very versatile," Richt said, "and a guy one time who might be standing up as a linebacker on the next play can have his hand on the ground rushing the passer. The flexibility of that has been going on since Todd came in."

Richt said he would like to use touted signee Josh Harvey-Clemons not only as a linebacker in base and nickel looks but as a potential receiving target in red-zone situations.

Odds and Ends

Richt would not say whether Marshall (now at Garden City Community College in Kansas) or Sanders (now at Georgia Military) would ever be allowed to return to Georgia. ... Tailback Keith Marshall, an early enrollee, recently won the Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award recognizing the nation's top male high school scholar-athlete. ... There will be no changes in special-teams responsibilities on Richt's first staff to return intact since the '03 staff came back in full. ... Richt said the announcement of his contract extension will happen "in due time." ... Rivals.com reported Thursday night that Georgia got a commitment from cornerback Steven Nelson, who is from Warner Robins but has played at the College of the Sequoias in California.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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