Thursday, April 18, 2013

Conley hitting his stride

His 2011 numbers - 16 catches for 288 yards, two touchdowns. His 2012 numbers - 20 catches for 342 yards, six touchdowns. His numbers this spring for three scrimmages - 11 catches for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

Yes, Chris Conley has picked up ($) just where he left off in the Capital One Bowl where he torched Nebraska's vaunted pass defense for scores of 49 and 87 yards. And that's especially good to see after the way the SECCG ended with him holding the ball so close to sending Georgia to Miami. I recall Conley taking that moment especially hard. But ever since he seems to be using it as fuel for future Glory.

While his previous two seasons have practically mirrored each other in that he bides his time on the bench before reminding Dawg fans of exactly what he can do late in the season, Conley now seems ready to strum a new tune*. And true to his soft spoken style, he's letting his hands and feet do most of the talking. He's a good blend of size, speed and athleticism. He can run routes and make catches on the outside or in the middle on the field. And now that he's entering his junior season, he knows every position the coaches might put him in.
Now that he has learned all three receiver positions, Conley should be on the field a lot more this fall. He was the Bulldogs’ most consistent receiver this spring and figures to form a dynamic trio of receivers alongside Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett. If Conley produces in the first half of the season as he expects, he should easily surpass his receiving totals from his first two seasons in college. 
At 6-foot-3, Conley is one of Georgia’s bigger receivers and that could create some mismatches against smaller cornerbacks. He has also flashed reliable hands and better speed than one might expect -- remember his blistering pace en route to the end zone on the win-clinching 87-yard touchdown catch against Nebraska? -- so he has all the tools necessary to make a bigger impact as a veteran. 
To this point, Conley might best be remembered for catching a deflected Aaron Murray pass and falling down inbounds at the 4-yard line just before time expired in the heart-wrenching loss to Alabama in last season’s SEC championship game. But the junior still has time to ensure that the play against Alabama won’t be his lasting legacy as a Bulldog. Already a good teammate and model citizen, Conley is poised to also become one of Georgia’s top pass-catching weapons over the next two seasons.
I've enjoyed watching this guy ever since he proved to us all that he can make great catches in the clutch as a freshman in Jacksonville. Now it's time to enjoy a full season of his talents. That Clemson secondary better not blink!

*For a great read on Conley's musical abilities...Loran, whatchagot?