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September 30, 2010
What effect will Green's presence have?
A.J. Green figure to have a big impact for Georgia in Saturday night's game at Colorado.One way or the other,
Bulldog head coach Mark Richt hopes it's in several ways.
Georgia's offense in 2010 has been inconsistent, to be kind, and Green's return is expected to give the Bulldogs a much-needed jolt.
No doubt the vision of Green hauling in long touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Murray is a sight Richt hopes he sees against the Buffalos. But of all the people thrilled to see the star receiver on the field, Georgia's tight ends expect to benefit the most.
At least that's the hope.
"Those guys are going to be super excited, super excited," wide receiver Tavarres King said. "Having him (Green) back is going to open the middle of the field up a tremendous amount. I bet Orson (Charles), Aron (White) and Bruce (Figgins) will be smiling from ear to ear."
So far, it's been one big collective frown.
Through the first four games, tight ends Charles and White have combined to catch just six catches for 65 yards.
The reasons why are up for debate.
Whether it's simply a failure to get the tight ends involved, or the fact opposing teams have rolled their safeties into the box to take away the middle of the field, the fact is Georgia's tight ends have not been the kind of contributors in the passing game many expected them to be.
It's offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's job to make sure they are.
"I think it (Green's presence) could possibly help the tight ends," Bobo said. "You never know how every team is going to play A.J. Green, everybody usually does something different than they normally do, so we're going to have to figure out early how they're going to play him to see how it's going to benefit the tight ends, but we've also got to get him (Green) the ball."
Of course, Richt said those plans might go right out the window should the Buffalos not roll their coverage toward Green.
Colorado has a couple of talented cornerbacks listed at over 6-foot in senior Jalil Brown (6-1, 205) and senior Jimmy Smith (6-foot-2, 205) and Buffalo defensive coaches could decide to see if either of the two can hold their own with Green in single coverage.
Granted, that's not likely. Last year and most of his freshman campaign, Green got used to seeing double-coverage but that has done little or any to slow down the Summerville, S.C. native.
If that's the case against Colorado, Richt expects his tight ends will benefit.
"The tight end position will benefit if people roll coverage to A.J. That is what happened in some of the games last year," Richt said. "When you saw Orson or whoever running down the middle, a lot of times it's because a safety is overplaying No. 8 and there is a linebacker usually and maybe a safety, but normally a linebacker trying to run with him or with Aron (White) or whoever it might be at tight end. I would think if in fact people find a way to double A.J. in some way, shape or form it will benefit the tight ends for sure."
White isn't complaining.
"Anytime you've got A.J. back it's something that you've got to be happy about," White said. "It's definitely going to change things up, what people are going to do on defense, so we'll see things we haven't seen the past four weeks. We can't expect A.J. to win games by himself, but we're definitely glad to have him back."
Either way, Richt says Green's presence should make life easier for his offense as a whole.
He's also in hopes it will help jumpstart Georgia's stagnant running game.
"I'll say this, based on a year ago, you might see a team have a certain percentage of a coverage versus pro-I. You are watching the scouting report and you see versus base I, what we call I-formation and base personnel, we might see that they have a certain amount of percentage of this coverage or that coverage or whatever it might be," Richt said. "Then when we play them in the very same coverage, they play a little differently than they have all season long, so I think if they looked at the film and said if this receiver is just as good as that receiver there is no reason to roll coverage that way, then we'll just kind of do what we've been doing.
"But if they see somebody that they feel like could hurt them if they just played the way they normally play then they have to do something different. So we've seen a lot of different looks towards wherever A.J. lines up. Do I think people would have played us differently the first four ballgames? That probably would be my guess."