April 20, 2013

Conley has motivation

Chris Conley from Anthony Dasher on Vimeo.

When it comes to motivation for 2014, junior wide receiver Chris Conley said the Bulldogs don't have to look far.

Sure, Conley and Georgia would love the opportunity to finally break through and win the SEC Championship. But the Bulldogs don't have to look that far ahead.

"We definitely look at those first couple of games (Clemson and South Carolina) to motivate us right now," laughed Conley, whose role on the Georgia squad is taking on added responsibility this fall.

With Tavarres King and Marlon Brown having moved on, Conley, along with senior Rantavious Wooten, plus Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett will anchor the Bulldogs' receiving corps, which will also feature a number of other young players, including five members of the 2013 signing class.

"I'm going to enjoy this, being a leader, because I can remember where they are. I was there myself not too long ago," Conley said. "I know what they are thinking and what they will be feeling, so I consider it an honor to sit down with them or have a meeting just to talk, help them get through a tough week so they won't make some of the same mistakes that I made."

One freshman has already caught his eye, although he doesn't play wide receiver.

Throughout the spring, freshman running back J.J. Green was singled out on more than one occasion for his hard-nosed play and ability to play bigger than his 5-foot-8 frame may suggest.

"He started out as a wide receiver for us, but after they saw what he could do with the ball in his hands, they moved him to running back," Conley said. "He's a hard-nosed, down-hill runner who runs with authority. He runs like he's 6-foot, 200 pounds. He made a lot of plays for us and we expect him to keep on making."

Making plays is something Conley has shown he can do as well.

In Georgia's 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, Conley caught two passes for 136 yards, including one for 85 yards when he took a middle screen and outraced the Cornhusker secondary for the score.

"From the snap, they were pretty much bringing a full-house blitz, bringing everyone. We had a little jailbreak screen. It was either going to be a huge play or a bust. And my job was to try to get it off to him any way I can and he did the rest of the work," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "It was pretty cool to see. As soon as he caught the ball, there was no one in sight. I mean, it was just everyone on both side lines, a man-to-man coverage, and it was just off to the races for him. It was definitely a huge play for us."

For Conley as well.

"This was huge, not just because we broke our two-game bowl losing streak, but for me personally t was also big," Conley said. "It was a great game, a great way to end the season. Now, I need to focus on what I need to work on and get prepared for what I hope will be a big year."

Conley laughed, adding he believes he's faster than some might think.

"I think some people don't think I'm as fast, but I've got long legs," he said. "I've got good speed."

By catching the two passes for a career-best 136 yards, Conley finishes the season with 20 receptions for 342 yards and six touchdowns, the second-most among receivers behind the nine scored King.