Georgia Football: Bulldogs Need Malcolm Mitchell This Weekend vs. Missouri

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 5, 2012

Georgia DB Malcolm Mitchell
Georgia DB Malcolm MitchellKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Georgia sophomore Malcolm Mitchell was moved from wide receiver to cornerback this spring with this weekend's matchup versus Missouri in mind.

Mitchell finished second on the Bulldogs last season with 45 catches for 665 yards and four touchdowns. But when several Georgia defensive backs left the team or were dismissed and starter Sanders Commings was suspended for two games, Mitchell was moved to cornerback.

Playing defense isn't foreign for Mitchell. He was a standout defensive back in high school in Valdosta, Ga., but he hasn't played the position since then, thanks to his stint as a receiver and now an ankle sprain suffered during practice before Georgia's Week 1 win over Buffalo.

According to Marc Weiszer of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, Mitchell practiced in a non-contact jersey on Tuesday. Judging from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's quotes, Mitchell's status for Saturday night's showdown versus Missouri remains uncertain, 

“He worked and took some reps and we’ll see how it goes,” Grantham said.

Well, that certainly falls in line with the rest of the purposefully vague information that has been coming from Athens this season.

Another certainty is that the Bulldogs need him this weekend vs. Missouri.

The Tigers will trot out the duo of T.J. Moe and Dorial Green-Beckham on Saturday night in Columbia. The former has 1,728 yards and 11 touchdowns during his career, and the latter is a 6'6", 220-pound stud-in-the-making who will be looking to make his presence felt on arguably the biggest stage of the weekend.

Redshirt freshman Devin Bowman is bracketed with Mitchell as a co-starter, and sophomore Damian Swann backs up Branden Smith at the other cornerback spot on Georgia's depth chart.

As inexperience abounds, Georgia needs options and depth in its secondary if it wants to hang with Missouri.

Mitchell may be relatively inexperienced as a cornerback at the college level, but the staff wouldn't have moved him to cornerback after a breakout freshman campaign as a wide receiver unless he could handle the responsibility.

If Georgia wants to repeat as SEC East champions, it can't slip up. With so many questions on the defensive side of the football, the game against Missouri and its potent offense has to make Bulldog fans nervous.