Georgia running back J.J. Green (15) celebrates a touchdown with teammates earlier this season. Green says he wouldn’t mind moving to cornerback, where he played in high school. (Reuters)
ATHENS — Position switching is becoming the December topic around the Georgia football team. Only one has actually occurred, and Mark Richt has said J.J. Green will likely remain at tailback, but the freshman himself is still open to moving.
Asked on Tuesday if he wanted to stay at tailback, Green answered “of course,” but then added: “I wouldn’t mind going to (defensive back), though. I wouldn’t mind doing it at all.”
“Because I played corner in high school and I played against some of the best wide receivers in the country,” said Green, a Camden County product. “And learning from them in high school, I can probably do the same in college, just learning from the best receivers on our team. We’ve probably got the best wide receivers in the country.”
Green is Georgia’s second-leading rusher this season, with 365 yards, and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He started two games with Todd Gurley out.
But next year Keith Marshall presumably will return from ACL surgery, A.J. Turman will be off his redshirt, and highly-regarded recruits Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are one their way in.
Richt has said that you can never have enough tailbacks, with this year’s injuries and the attrition of recent years as the best example. Green, despite being listed at 5-foot-9, has shown he can play the position.
“I like running back. I like being in that room. And earning from (guys who are) probably gonna be two Hall of Famers coming from Georgia,” Green said. “So I’m just learning from them right now. It’s great being behind them and getting touches. Everybody knows my name now. I’m just happy to be out there.”
Green was listed as an athlete when he signed, with receiver and cornerback considered his most likely positions. He had three interceptions his senior year at Camden County, and remembers his time there with unabashed confidence.
“I just know my senior year I didn’t really have any balls thrown to my side,” he said.
UGA PLAYERS VISIT METTENBERGER: Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch and teammate Hunter Long headed west on a road trip after they wrapped up final exams early last week. Their destination: LSU.
Specifically, they headed to Baton Rouge, La., to visit former teammate Zach Mettenberger. LSU’s starting quarterback, Mettenberger suffered a torn ACL in his final home game, much the same way as Georgia’s Aaron Murray did a week earlier.
“I knew he hurt his knee and I just felt bad for him,” said Lynch, who roomed with both Murray and Mettenberger their freshman year at UGA. “I knew he was kind of down in the dumps and I told him when he committed there, ‘I’ll come visit you.’ I got done with finals early and we had the week off. So I told him, ‘I’m coming.’ It was awesome to see him and meet his friends.”
Lynch and Long hung out for a long while, arriving last Tuesday night and returning to Athens on Friday.
“It’s so funny to see another big-time program like that,” Lynch said. “They were like, ‘I can’t believe you get this at Georgia.’ And we were like, ‘I can’t believe you guys have that.’ We couldn’t believe their indoor practice facility. They couldn’t believe we get catered by Carrabba’s. That was the coolest thing, being around the same kinds of kids in the same situations but from different perspectives. Great guys, too.”
Lynch said they did get around to talking about their Sept. 28 game. The Bulldogs came from behind to defeat the then-No. 6-ranked Tigers 44-41.
“There was no animosity or anything like that,” Lynch said.
Lynch said it was tough to see the college careers of two of his best buddies end as they did within six days of each other.
“It’s almost like a horror film, or a really good film that has a horrific ending,” Lynch said. “But they’re both strong kids and I think they’ll both still have success in the NFL. They’re both handling it extremely well.”
ACL U: Reserve running back Dominic Bryan became the sixth Georgia player to tear his ACL this year. Bryan had surgery last week.
The other ACLs this year:
*** Cornerback Reggie Wilkerson, who tore his knee in June and had surgery two months later, after the swelling went down.
*** Receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who tore his celebrating Todd Gurley’s 75-yard touchdown run at Clemson.
*** Tailback Keith Marshall, after being hit in the first half at Tennessee.
*** Receiver and Camilla native Justin Scott-Wesley, hurt covering a punt in the second half at Tennessee.
*** Quarterback Aaron Murray, who planted his knee wrong in the first half against Kentucky, then played on it for 13 more plays.