August 30, 2010

Tight end depth a nice problem to have

Tight ends coach John Lilly isn't quite ready to declare the quartet of Orson Charles, Aron White, Arthur Lynch and Bruce Figgins the best he's ever coached.

But with Georgia set to open its season Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette, he's certainly willing to take his chances with the group that he has.

"I don't know if I've ever had four, although it's not as though we've two seniors and two juniors," Lilly said. "Certainly potential is a dangerous word, but there's no doubt with the four we have, the potential is for them to be very good."

So, how will the four be used?

Charles is the most dynamic of the four, after finishing third on the team in receiving last year with 23 catches for 374 yards and three touchdowns, with White grabbing 13 passes for 198 yards and four scores.

Figgins and Lynch are typically thought of more highly for their blocking expertise, although Lynch showed during the spring game that he can catch the ball with two catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Lilly admits offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is still implementing plays to get the four involved in the offense the best he can.

"All the guys are eager, there's no question about that," Lilly said. "But the most difficult thing has been getting all the things repped that we want to try and get good at; there's just not enough practice time to do what we want to try and do."

Of the four, Charles figures to receive the most opportunities.

At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, the Tampa native can be a nightmare for opposing linebackers to cover so finding ways to get him isolated in situations like that will no doubt be a big part of the Bulldogs' offensive plan.

What kind of numbers might he produce?

Lilly's not making any projections there, only to say Charles has set his goals high.

"He's headed in the right direction. Orson is a young man who has very, very high standards and high goals," Lilly said. "We have high expectations for him but I think he's probably puts as much pressure on himself, if not more, than we do. I think he's certainly had a very good preseason and is ready to carry that over into the fall. But he's like the rest of them, there are things he needs to work on and he understands that."

His level of familiarity with quarterback Aaron Murray certainly won't hurt.

The two played together as seniors at Tampa's Plant High, with Charles grabbing 75 catches for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns.

"Certainly when Aaron is going through his progressions, the tight ends are going to be a big part of what he does," Lilly said. "Of course the coverage will dictate what he does, but I think there is some level of familiarity with them having played together that senior year at Plant that can help."

But as Lilly quickly points out, Murray will have three other tight ends at his disposal, too. Plans are for him to use all them all.

"I don't think we're where we want to be right now, and I think they'd probably tell you the same thing," Lilly said. "We're not quite there yet but I think the more we get into the grind of the season with 13 games in 14 weeks, if we do keep improving we've got a chance to be pretty good."

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