published Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Georgia record-setter touts receiving group

Georgia receiver Tavarres King is practicing this week for the first time since the Outback Bowl, when he set a single-game school standard with 205 yards.

King had six receptions and an 80-yard touchdown, but his efforts were overshadowed when Michigan State rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit and prevailed 33-30 in triple overtime. The previous Georgia receiving record of 201 yards was set by Fred Gibson against Kentucky in 2001.

"It still hasn't set in," King said Thursday night. "I'm not big on stats and never really have been, and I think the only person that really has been impacted is my mom. She is happy about it and proud of me, just as she always has been. I still would trade those stats for the win."

What King wouldn't trade is how last season's receivers performed.

Thought to be a weak link following the departure of three-year sensation A.J. Green, the receivers were very effective in every game but the two inside the Georgia Dome -- the Boise State opener and the SEC championship game against LSU. King's fellow returnees Malcolm Mitchell (Tennessee), Marlon Brown (Vanderbilt) and Chris Conley (New Mexico State) each had a 100-yard performance.

"The only difference between this spring and last spring is that there isn't any buzz as far as who is stepping up for A.J.," said King, a 6-foot-1, 192-pound senior from Mount Airy, Ga. "Everybody knows that we have four or five guys who can change the game at any point in time. We know that we're an explosive unit, and we've just got to keep getting better at what we do."

Georgia's receiving depth -- Michael Bennett had an 89-yard game a year ago against Vanderbilt -- has allowed coaches to move Mitchell to cornerback this spring. Mitchell was the team's leading receiver last season until King's bowl performance.

"Malcolm is having to do what he has to do for the betterment of our team," King said. "He's a tremendous athlete who can play both sides of the ball, but after those first two games, I would love to have him back at receiver making plays."

The Bulldogs worked for more than two hours Thursday and will put on full pads for the first time Saturday. Thursday provided more competition than the first two workouts, and coach Mark Richt praised his defense for winning the day.

"It was very good to get some football tempo out there," Richt said. "We began our competition phase of the spring where we actually keep score on a couple of drills. It was a defensive day all the way. The defense is locked in right now.

"They've been competing very hard and getting after it, and there are just some good things I'm seeing on defense."

Kolton Houston, a 6-5, 291-pound redshirt sophomore from Buford, has yet to play a snap in his Bulldogs career but has worked some this week as the starting left guard. Houston missed last season for what Richt just refers to as an "NCAA issue" but is expected to play this season.

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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