Tight end Orson Charles caught 45 passes last season at Georgia, which is 45 more than the projected Bulldogs starting tight end for this year.
Arthur Lynch, a redshirt junior from Massachusetts, has worked patiently behind Charles, Aron White and Bruce Figgins during his time in Athens, but his wait is over. Charles chose to bypass his senior season and is expected to be picked within the first two rounds of next month's NFL draft, while White and Figgins, who moved to fullback a year ago, were seniors this last fall.
Lynch played last season as a 6-foot-5, 272-pounder but said Thursday that he is down to around 256 pounds.
"I've got to make a statement that I'm not just the guy who can block," Lynch said Thursday. "Obviously that's my forte and is what has gotten me up to this point where I am today. I'm not going to shy away from that, but I have done a lot these last six or eight months to trim down and become more flexible to become quicker and faster yet maintain the strength."
Quarterback and roommate Aaron Murray said Lynch runs routes extremely well and that his biggest plus may be just knowing what to do.
The Bulldogs, who begin spring practice March 20, have had a surplus of proven tight ends in recent seasons but will enter August camp with Lynch, redshirt freshman Jay Rome and recent signee Ty Smith. Lynch's two career receptions were in 2009 against Tennessee Tech as a true freshman, and he thought about transferring after that season.
"I kept hearing 'patience is a virtue,' but as a 19-year-old kid, you're just wondering when is it going to all pay off?" he said.
Sophomore receiver Malcolm Mitchell said it was his idea to play some cornerback this season and that he met with coach Mark Richt several days after the Outback Bowl. That preceded the dismissals of cornerbacks Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders and the two-game suspension of starting cornerback Sanders Commings.
Mitchell is eager to try corner this spring and recognizes he will have an advantage on fellow wideouts.
"When the receivers line up, I will know where they are going and what route they will be doing just by the steps they take coming off the line," Mitchell said. "It's an advantage I can use, but only if I get all the defensive concepts down."
When told that former Bulldogs cornerback Champ Bailey used to play as many as 100 snaps a game, Mitchell said, "I want 101."
Tailback Isaiah Crowell's freshman season consisted of 850 yards, a single-game suspension for failing a drug test and late-season ankle woes. He was booed during Georgia's 42-10 loss to LSU in the SEC title game, but teammates have admired his winter habits.
"The person I've been most impressed with is who everyone wrongly scrutinized last year, and that's Isaiah," Lynch said. "He had high expectations as an 18-year-old, but this is such a different game from high school. He had some success, but people were so demanding and saying things like 'the next Herschel.'"
Said senior tailback Richard Samuel: "He's got a hard work ethic, and he's working toward a goal instead of just going through the motions."
Samuel, incidentally, said he is preparing to play tailback this spring but that he would not balk if moved to fullback.
The Bulldogs went 10-4 last season and won their first SEC East title since 2005, and they held at least a four-point lead in all 14 games.
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 ...