Georgia Football: Why Malcolm Mitchell Should Focus Only on Offense in 2013

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor IDecember 20, 2012

Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (26) runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second quarter of the 2012 SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome.  Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that Malcolm Mitchell is one of the most talented players on the Georgia Bulldogs' roster.

This year, he played his first four games at cornerback and then played the last nine at wide receiver after suspended players Sanders Commings, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo returned to the lineup.

But his all-around athleticism never showed itself this year because he never played both positions in one game.

So with the Capital One Bowl drawing near and the 2013 season right behind it, one of the Bulldogs' top questions for next season is should Malcolm Mitchell play offense, defense or both?

Earlier this week, head coach Mark Richt put an end to the debate when he said that Mitchell will focus only on offense moving forward.

But, while offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wants Mitchell on offense full-time, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wants Mitchell to be a starting cornerback.

As for Mitchell, he wants to focus on offense, but would love to also play a little defense.

As good of an athlete as Mitchell is and as much as the defense could use him, Richt is making the right decision about keeping Mitchell on offense.

From a depth perspective, it would make sense to have Mitchell focus on defense, especially with the entire secondary, except for Damian Swann, leaving because of graduation.

However, if the offense wants to be even more explosive than it was this season, Mitchell has to be the team's go-to guy on the outside.

In nine games at receiver, Mitchell caught 40 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns. In four games at cornerback, he tallied 12 tackles, three passes defended and one forced fumble.

He had solid numbers playing cornerback and would have likely had an all-conference season had he played the whole way through. But Mitchell led the team in receptions and seems to have a good chemistry with quarterback Aaron Murray.

That leads to another reason why Mitchell should stay on offense: He is more comfortable at the wide receiver position. Mitchell said he would rather play on offense full-time because he had more fun playing on offense.

When Mitchell is running routes and making plays after the catch, he seems to enjoy himself more than when he plays cornerback, a position he looks uncomfortable in at times.

Plus, the depth of the wide receivers will take a hit because the Bulldogs are losing Tavarres King and Marlon Brown to graduation.

As much as the coaches love Chris Conley and Justin Scott-Wesley, Mitchell and Michael Bennett are the best playmakers on the outside.

Does this mean Mitchell won’t play any defense at all next year?

No, because if they don’t get any secondary help, then Mitchell will have no choice but to see some time at corner. Yet with Swann returning, along with some reserves who have experience and a few new recruits coming in, the secondary should be able to hold up in 2013.

That will give Mitchell the opportunity to put up some big numbers at receiver. If that happens, expect Mitchell to have an All-SEC type of year.


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