ATHENS, Ga. -- Asked why Michael Bennett served such an active role as a blocker in Georgia’s season-opening win against Buffalo, Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo gave a simple response.
“Because he’s our best blocker,” Bobo said with a laugh.
But Bobo and head coach Mark Richt agreed that the sophomore receiver did an outstanding job locking up defenders on an array of quick passes against Buffalo, clearing space for fellow wideouts Tavarres King and Rantavious Wooten to turn a short pass into a longer gain.
Bobo said Bennett won the team’s weekly award as its best downfield blocker, but Bennett said that role was an area of emphasis for all of the receivers this preseason.
“It wasn’t out-of-the-normal at all,” Bennett said. “We’ve been doing that all camp, really, a couple of swing of swing passes. They like to give the ball to T.K. a lot and they should. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and I just try to give him the best lane as possible. I guess that’s what we’ve been doing all camp, really.”
On one first-quarter drive, Georgia threw three consecutive screen passes and Bennett was essentially the lead blocker on all three, helping King and Wooten combine to pick up 36 yards. And the main recipient of that assistance appreciated Bennett’s work.
“That dude, he did a great job blocking,” said King, who also credited Wooten for an effective cut block on another of his receptions. “That’s something, a little thing that we’ve prided ourselves on this preseason camp was blocking as a unit. It’s amazing because guys want to block. We all want to just help your teammate out, help your brother out.”
Grantham's suspension philosophy: After Tuesday’s practice, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham explained in no uncertain terms his philosophy on revealing when linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo will return from suspension. Until he has to release information -- whether it’s injuries, suspensions or anything else -- he does not plan to do so.
“Here’s what I think. I don’t know why you’d tell anybody because it’s not a league rule,” Grantham said. “Unless everybody is going to disclose all their information, why would you talk about your team in that regard? Because to me, you don’t talk about things like that.”
In other words, don’t expect to hear from Georgia’s coaching staff when Ogletree and Rambo -- who were reportedly suspended for failing drug tests in the spring -- will return ahead of time.
Grantham spent a decade coaching in the NFL, where teams are forced to release injury information and even document how many periods in practice that injured players are able to play. But since college football has no such rules dictating what teams must reveal, Grantham believes the best policy is not to reveal anything.
“In the NFL, it was a league rule so everybody talked about it, everybody did the same thing, so I’m cool with that,” he said. “But if everybody’s not going to talk about it and everybody’s not going to play on the same page, then I don’t think you say anything in my opinion.”
Injury update: Cornerback/receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to practice on Tuesday, wearing a green non-contact jersey.
He missed the Buffalo game after spraining his left ankle during practice last Thursday and Richt said “we’re hoping” he will be available for Saturday’s game at Missouri.
Richt shared a similar sentiment regarding right tackle John Theus, who left the Buffalo game with a left ankle sprain. Theus was not on the field during the early portion of practice that was open to the media, but later walked out to the practice fields on crutches alongside fellow injured offensive lineman Watts Dantzler (sprained ankle), who was also on crutches.
Home-field advantage?: Count Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones among those who believe the notion of home-field advantage is a bit overrated.
The narrative leading up to this week’s Missouri game dictates that the Bulldogs will be at a disadvantage because the Tigers’ home fans will be particularly loud since it is the team’s SEC opener. Jones said he barely hears the sound on the field no matter where he’s playing.
“It’s really not that loud on the field like people think it is,” Jones said. “But for myself, I’m just so tunnel vision, I’m just right here with everything and everything that’s in front of me.”
Jones expects the atmosphere to be electric at Missouri’s Faurot Field on Saturday, but he said the Bulldogs can’t be distracted by the fans at gametime.
“We’ve just got to be focused,” said Jones, who noted that the most hostile environment he has played in was in 2009, when he visited Ohio State as a freshman at USC. “We can’t let the hype and all the excitement get us from the jump when we come out there and see all the fans going crazy. We’ve got to keep that energy. You can’t go out there and just burn energy in warmups and once the game starts, the first three plays, you’re tired.”