ATHENS, Ga. — He dropped two passes in the season opener, has yet to catch a deep ball and has watched a freshman teammate snag the spotlight.
It wasn't the script Georgia receiver Tavarres King would have chosen at the beginning of his junior season, but the 6-foot-1, 192-pounder is experienced enough to deal with realities.
"Football is a hit-or-miss game," King said. "With the Boise State opener, I had to have a short memory, and I don't even think about that anymore. My season started off kind of rocky, but I think I've bounced back."
King entered this season as the leader of his position, and that hasn't changed. Though he stumbled out of the gate and watched newcomer Malcolm Mitchell quickly develop into the team's top receiver and deep-ball threat, King remains a go-to option entering Saturday night's game at Vanderbilt.
In last week's 20-12 win at Tennessee, Mitchell dazzled with three receptions for 126 yards, but King still was effective with five catches for 51 yards.
"It was great to see Tavarres King make some plays," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "I'm happy for him. He's worked hard. The ball hasn't always gone his way, but he's been a good team guy."
King has 17 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns this season, with his 11.1-yard average ranking ninth among Bulldogs with multiple catches. He has a long of 33, but Mitchell has produced gains of 71, 69 and 51.
Last week in Knoxville, quarterback Aaron Murray connected with Mitchell on a post pattern for 71 yards but misfired repeatedly when King was running free.
"He and Aaron have got to continue to work hard to get on the same page and hit those passes when we have them open," Bobo said. "It's a little bit of both, but it's probably a little more Aaron than him. On the first one, Aaron was just a little too juiced up, which will happen, and then one just wasn't in the right place and another was too far."
King has no qualms with Mitchell's instant success, calling him a "tremendous athlete and a tremendous player," but the freshman will not play in Nashville after suffering a hamstring injury against the Vols. That will leave King, fellow junior Marlon Brown, redshirt freshman Michael Bennett and true freshman Chris Conley as Georgia's latest limited batch of wideouts.
After this week's trip, King and Bennett will be the only receivers to have played each week.
"Tavarres hasn't had the year that I guess he expected, but that's fine," Bennett said. "He keeps a good attitude and tries to make plays whenever he can. We missed a few long shots last week, but we'll get those fixed."
Odds and ends
Coach Mark Richt said after Wednesday's two-hour workout that this has been a good, injury-free week. ... The Bulldogs have allowed just 133 rushing yards in the past four games combined.
University of Georgia photo
Georgia junior receiver Tavarres King had five catches for 51 yards during last Saturday's 20-12 win at Tennessee.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...