Bulldogs hold productive football scrimmage
ATHENS - Tavarres King puts everything in relation to space when talking about his job as a wide receiver. Room to run his routes and get open is how King, the University of Georgia's leading returner at the position, manages to get open in anticipation of the pass.
Space also gives King, a Habersham Central High graduate, room to elude defenders looking to jam his territory.
Now, King, who had 27 catches for 504 yards and three TD's last season for the Bulldogs is going to have a little more breathing room on the field.
King has been moved to flanker, which is a variation of his role as a split end last season.
He's been shifted into the role of flanker, which A.J. Green held down for the past couple of years.
The main difference now is that King is going to line up on the wide side of the field with more open grass and the possibility of double coverage.
From the sound of things, King likes his new role on the team and the sign of confidence the coaching staff has in his chance to become sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray's main target.
"This transition has been fun," King said after Thursday's practice. "It's a little different that what I was doing last season.
"The main difference for me is the space I have out there."
King is not the only Bulldog player making a move to a new position this spring. In comparison, his is relatively mild.
Former safety Alec Ogletree is now playing at inside linebacker along with former running back Richard Samuel.
And Bruce Figgins is now at fullback after spending his first three seasons at tight end.
On the offensive line, Justin Anderson has been moved across the line to guard. Trinton Sturdivant (with 21 starts at left tackle in his career) and Cordy Glenn are getting playing time at both tackle positions.
Out of all the players with an adjustment in position, King has one of the best chances to make a huge splash.
Already, King has made some big catches in his career, including a 63-yard touchdown against Florida and 40-yard touchdown against Mississippi State last season.
Coming into the season, King sent a text message to Murray seeing if he could put in a good word to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo about possibly moving to flanker.
However, it wasn't necessary. Murray said that Bobo already had King's move to flanker in the plans.
"Tavarres has shown with his work ethic every day in practice that he's willing to put in the work necessary to be at the flanker," Murray said. "He's earned it."
King's preparation to deal with taking the beating at wide receiver has also shown in the weight room. In Georgia's reorganized strength and conditioning program, he's bulked up to his current 200 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame.
Last season, he was tipping the scales at about 180 during the season.
That extra weight King believes will help with fending off defensive backs, who in the past were able to knock him off his routes.
"Our strength and conditioning program has done a 180," King said. "I can't say enough good things about it."
King has also been open ears to Green's advice for playing the position. If any player should be trusted as a knowledgeable source about playing at wide out, it would be Green who finished his college career with 2,619 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.
He's also a lock to be picked high in the first round of the NFL Draft later this month.
King and Green already had a close friendship since they roomed together during road games last season. Green's advice to King has been to focus on executing flawlessly.
He's already got a quarterback in place with Murray that has demonstrated he can get the ball to a receiver if they give him any space.
"A.J. has just told me that route running is the most important thing," King said. "You've always got to be precise in your cuts and keep working to the top of your route."
King believes that the receiver position can be a special group this season for the Bulldogs. Georgia is already deep at tight end with Orson Charles, Aron White and Arthur Lynch all coming back.
Along with King, Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown have continued to turn heads at wide receiver.
"I feel like our wide receivers are going to turn some heads this season," King said. "Everyone should look forward to it."