The chatter around a potential move for Malcolm ‘Tampa’ Mitchell seems to be reaching a lukewarm pitch as Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com is reporting that the true freshman sensation could possibly take some reps at defensive back as well as wide receiver in the near future.
Head coach Mark Richt said he wouldn’t be opposed to giving a shot to Mitchell, who finished third on the team in receiving with 38 catches for 614 yards and five touchdowns, despite missing three games with a bad hamstring that he suffered against Tennessee.
“If I think that it will help us win, he can function and do that, it would be fine,” [emphasis added] Richt said. “When we have guys play a little bit both ways we do try to focus on the one position year one and if they’ve got enough of a comfort level knowing what to do, and we can begin to share a little bit, I wouldn’t be against it, whatever it takes to help Georgia win.”
Richt made it clear, however, that Mitchell would not be changing positions and wide receiver would remain his primary spot on the field. (UGASports.com, 12/27/11)
The initial reaction to this has to be some head-scratching on the part of those who wonder if having Mitchell take reps on both sides might not be a bit too much, especially considering the issues he’s had with his hamstring this season.
Even more, the 3-4 defense Grantham implements isn’t exactly one picked up overnight. It would likely take Mitchell time to learn the system, the coverages, and the assignments Grantham has in place if he is going to have any measure of success in the scheme.
The most likely scenario, as alluded to by Richt in the quote, is that Mitchell will continue to take the majority of his snaps on offense (better than 80 percent) while dabbling in certain coverages on the defensive side of the ball in order to better prepare him for the next level should he decide to pursue a professional career later. Either way, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe that Mitchell will be stepping into the ‘two-way’ department—on a permanent basis—anytime soon.