Why Georgia Will Survive the Season-Ending Injury to WR Michael Bennett

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterOctober 4, 2012

September 29, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Michael Bennett (82) celebrates after a touchdown in the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs won 51-44. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Georgia has posted the SEC's top offense during the first month of the season, averaging 536 yards per game en route to a 5-0 record and a No. 5 ranking in both major polls.

But things aren't all "peachy" in Athens.

Michael Bennett, Georgia's leading receiver with 345 yards and four touchdown catches, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in his right knee in practice, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It's certainly a big loss for the Bulldogs. Bennett has developed good chemistry with quarterback Aaron Murray and has been a big part of the Bulldogs offense during the first five games of the season.

But if there's anywhere on the field where Georgia can withstand a season-ending injury, it's at wide receiver.

Tavarres King came into the season as Georgia's most seasoned receiver, catching 47 passes for 705 yards and eight touchdowns last season. The senior has 307 yards and three touchdowns this season, and he will surely be counted on to be Murray's primary target moving forward.

But the real reason Georgia can survive the loss of Bennett is the emergence of senior Marlon Brown as a viable SEC wide receiver. Brown came to Georgia in 2009 as a 4-star prospect, according to Rivals.com, but until this season, he hadn't lived up to the billing.

Coming into 2012, Brown had just 382 receiving yards in his first three years combined. This season, he already has 264 yards and three touchdowns.

Did the light suddenly turn on? It certainly looks like it.

The biggest reason Georgia can handle the loss is the return of Malcolm Mitchell to the offensive side of the football after spending the early season primarily as a cornerback. Mitchell caught 45 passes for 665 yards and four touchdowns last season, but was moved to defense to help Georgia's secondary deal with numerous suspensions.

Now that the suspension to safety Bacarri Rambo has run its course, Sanders Commings has moved back to corner, which allows Mitchell to move back to wide receiver.

That's where he will see the majority of his time moving forward, according to the AJC.

The loss of Bennett hurts, no doubt. But the depth that Georgia has built at wide receiver will allow the Bulldogs to withstand the loss of their leading receiver.

Plus, when all else fails, freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have proven through five games that they are fully capable of handling the load at running back and taking the pressure off of quarterback Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs passing game.