Hicks playing two positions for Bulldogs

Hicks playing two positions for Bulldogs

August 22nd, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia's Quayvon Hicks runs for a big gain in the 2013 opener at Clemson.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Georgia junior tight end Quayvon Hicks isn't going into this football season hoping the Bulldogs can be as productive offensively as the past two seasons.

"I think we can be better," Hicks said by phone this week. "If we can stay motivated, we're going to be one of the best to ever come through the University of Georgia."

The Bulldogs in the past two seasons have set program records for yards in a season (6,547 in 2012) and yards per game in a season (484.2 in 2013). Hicks played mostly on special teams as a freshman two years ago but made six starts at fullback last season, rushing 10 times for 72 yards and catching five passes for 67 yards.

Hicks was moved from fullback to tight end this spring, but the 6-foot-2, 257-pounder from Blackshear, Ga., expects to be used at each position following the recent medical disqualification of junior fullback Merritt Hall.

"I've been practicing at both positions, and how much time at a position depends on what kind of practice it is," Hicks said. "Sometimes I'll move back to fullback for the whole time. Sometimes it's for half the time, and sometimes it's just part of the time.

"Wherever they put me on the field, I don't care."

Georgia also has junior Jay Rome, redshirt freshman Jordan Davis and freshman Jeb Blazevich at tight end, with walk-ons Taylor Maxey and Cameron Faulker also vying at fullback. Hicks certainly is among the most versatile members of another potentially potent Bulldogs offense, and he has apparently impressed the higher-ups this month.

"When we first put Quayvon at tight end this spring, it was mostly because we needed the bodies," coach Mark Richt said this week in a news conference. "We needed help at that position, and he has become pretty solid. He is not unbelievable in some areas, but he is tough and is a good point-of-attack blocker. His pass-protection blocking needs help like most tight ends do.

"There are certain routes that he does well and certain routes that he needs to continue to work on. He is still a work in progress, but he has done enough to where we can play ball with him."

Hicks believes playing tight end is more technical than fullback -- "You're not just running and hitting," he said -- and that one must continually develop footwork and hand placement. The position switch this spring was initiated by offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who appreciates the athletic ability Hicks has displayed.

In last season's opening loss at Clemson, Hicks had a 37-yard run and a 38-yard reception.

"I don't know if I'm any more important to the offense this year," he said. "I guess I am, but I think everybody plays a pretty big part, so I wouldn't single myself out. I'm just excited for the season and ready to see what our offense can do."

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs practiced Thursday for 90 minutes in shoulder pads and shorts after hearing from former tailback Tim Worley, who was the seventh overall pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1989 NFL draft before having his career derailed by drugs and alcohol. ... The SEC coaches announced their preseason teams Thursday, with tailback Todd Gurley, inside linebacker Ramik Wilson and kicker Marshall Morgan making the first team.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.