After Georgia’s first spring scrimmage, Kirby Smart was talking up how the Bulldogs’ wide receivers were playing more physical than they have at any time since he became head coach.
He made sure to include Terry Godwin, who Smart saw lacking in that regard last season.
“Even Terry, we had a bubble screen where he went out there and blocked and was physical,” Smart said.
Godwin had a relatively quiet sophomore season after big things were expected following a freshman year when he had 35 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns and was named TaxSlayer Bowl MVP.
He went without a touchdown catch in 2016 and his yards per catch fell from 10.8 to 10.4 during a season in which he had 38 catches for 397 yards.
“As a receiver, everyone wants to be the go-to guy,” Godwin said. “You have to fill in that role that coaches want you to play and that the playbook is going to allow you to play in. I just want to fill in that role, be what the coaches want me to be.”
Smart sounds generally thrilled with the progress Godwin has made.
“Terry Godwin, he’s like night and day to me when you watch that kid,” Smart said. “I was very honest last year about Terry playing tougher and playing bigger. The guy is blocking hard, he’s competing, he’s taking more reps. He’s such a better leader. To see him grow up, it means the world to me because I’ve seen that kid since the ninth grade year.”
Godwin was second in receiving last season for Georgia for the second straight year and will be among those looked at it to fill the void now at slot receiver. That’s where Isaiah McKenzie played last season when he led Georgia in receptions with 44 for 633 yards and seven touchdowns.
“There’s a lot of production in that position,” Smart said.
Georgia is looking to several for production there including running backs Sony Michel and Brian Herrien, and Godwin who has lined up as the No. 1 slot receiver in practice.
“He’s a vital piece of that slot,” Smart said. “He and Jacob (Eason) got great intuitive instincts, they have great intuition of where each other is going to be.”
Eason and Godwin have had more of a chance to make that connection smoother with a second offseason together.
“We’re just getting to know each other and it’s coming along really good,” Godwin said.
Godwin says he’s working on finding the holes in the defense better “and know when to sit down and when to keep going,” as a route runner.
Godwin’s biggest play last season may have come on special teams when he scooped up an onside kickoff and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown in a win at South Carolina, but with McKenzie’s college career over, he figures to have a bigger role in the passing game than he did in 2016.
“I really wouldn’t say anything really kind of held me back or anything like that,” Godwin said. “I’m just here to do what the coaches tell me to and help the team out.”