Bennett finds his niche among UGa receivers

Wide receiver Michael Bennett has made a lot of good plays for Georgia over the years. But it’s a bad one he made earlier this season that was foremost on his mind this week.

Bennett fumbled the ball away in the first game of the season against Clemson.

“That’s the only fumble we’ve lost,” he said of the first-quarter miscue. “I shouldn’t have gotten in that situation anyway. It was just freaking stupid.”

The Bulldogs will give the senior a pass. Entering the last half of his final season, the senior from Alpharetta has proved to be one of Georgia’s most dependable players.

Heading into Saturday’s game against Florida, Bennett leads the Bulldogs in receptions (22) and touchdown catches (4). And as his college career creeps toward the end, he’s quietly moving into some impressive company on Georgia’s all-time list.

With 119 catches, Bennett is 12 away from catching Damien Gary and entering the top 10 of all time. And he’s been particularly good at finding the end zone. His 17 touchdown receptions are sixth on the all-time list. Bennett needs three more run down Fred Gibson and move into fourth.

“He’s a guy that’s not flashy, just goes about his business,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “If you throw it near him, he usually makes the catch. When he’s played and the ball’s thrown to him and he usually makes plays. He plays the slot for us and sometimes in the red zone the slot gets a lot of touchdown opportunities. He gets matched up with linebackers and safeties. It’s just kind of how the coverage has gone and he’s made some plays. That’s his niche.”

Bennett’s catches have gone up slightly in the last two games with eight overall. That Malcolm Mitchell returned to the field in the same time frame is not a coincidence. Mitchell has moved back to split end, which has allowed Bennett to move back in the slot.

“As much as I hate to admit it, that’s probably my niche,” Bennett said. “I seem to have a knock for finding the soft spots in zones and and being able to sit down in them.”

Bennett will get the 23rd start of his career Saturday against the Gators.