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Georgia juggles deep deck of receivers
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ATHENS  — The season-long Georgia quarterback carousel ended last week, but now can coaches find reliable receivers for Matthew Stafford?
    Coach Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday that sophomore Demiko Goodman has moved ahead of Mohamed Massaquoi as the starter in two-receiver sets for Saturday’s game against No. 9 Florida.
    Goodman, who had three catches for 24 yards in last week’s win over Mississippi State, will be making his first start.
    Meanwhile, Richt may consider moving Kenneth Harris ahead of A.J. Bryant at flanker. It’s also clear coaches are committed to finding more ways to make use of receiver-punt return specialist Mikey Henderson’s speed.
    Henderson and Massaquoi lost fumbles after catches in the Mississippi State game, adding a twist to a season-long problem for receivers dropping catchable passes.
    ‘‘We’ve got guys who can make the plays,’’ Richt said Tuesday. ‘‘They’ve just got to make them and when they do, they’ve got to hold onto them.’’
    Harris, who led Georgia with four catches for 106 yards against Mississippi State, has been a backup since starting in the season-opener against Western Kentucky.
    ‘‘I think Kenneth definitely earned himself a lot more playing time, that’s for sure,’’ Richt said. ‘‘Whether or not he’ll start, I don’t know.’’
    Whatever the mix, it’s clear that through eight games no receiver has emerged as the leader of a deep corps.
    The lack of one go-to receiver is not necessarily a weakness, according to fullback Brannan Southerland, who has two touchdown catches to share the team lead with tight end Martrez Milner.
    ‘‘I feel like we’ve got a lot of receivers who are right there on the verge of being the go-to guy,’’ Southerland said.
    ‘‘Having so many different receivers I think can help us. We rotate them all game and keep them all fresh and the defense has to focus on more than just one guy. We’ve got nine people catching passes they’ve got to worry about.’’
    Massaquoi and Milner share the team lead with 15 receptions. Goodman and tailback Kregg Lumpkin each have 12 catches, followed by Harris and Bryant with 11.
    ‘‘Goodman has been playing good and of course Mohamed did get the ball knocked out one time,’’ Richt said. ‘‘That’s part of it.
    ‘‘But Goodman really has played well this season. He’s gotten progressively better. Some of the catches he made were right on the sideline where I could see they weren’t the easiest catches but he made them look easy. He looked like a natural out there this last ballgame and he’s practiced well.’’
    Milner was held out of the Mississippi State game with a toe injury. Backup tight end Tripp Chandler filled in with a touchdown catch, but Georgia used a four-receiver set with no tight end much of the game.
    ‘‘I wanted him to gain some momentum as a starter,’’ Richt said of Henderson. ‘‘I thought it would help him grow and I think it did. I hoped for less turnovers, but that’s part of the learning process.’’
    Massaquoi caught his first touchdown pass of the season but also struggled with more drops. He was booed by the home fans.
    ‘‘Mohamed made some unbelievable catches, I thought, in the Tennessee game to start out the first half, so he’s capable,’’ Richt said. ‘‘He’s going to continue to play. We’re not going to just keep him out of the game.’’
    Stafford completed passes to nine receivers in the game.
    Stafford passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns against Mississippi State, but he threw three interceptions, giving Georgia five turnovers in the game. Georgia barely overcame the turnovers for a 27-24 win, but Stafford says the Bulldogs can’t lose the ball against Florida.
    ‘‘You don’t have to tell me that when we’re playing against a good team we can’t turn the ball over five times,’’ Stafford said. ‘‘We probably can’t turn the ball over two times. We’ve got to protect the ball. In games like these turnovers are so key in terms of field position and points off turnovers.’’
    Stafford will be making only his fourth start, but the freshman already sounded like a veteran as he talked about the uncertain depth chart at receiver.
    ‘‘I have supreme confidence with anybody who’s in there,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not like I’m looking one way or I’m hesitant on the other guy.’’
    Added Stafford: ‘‘It’s kind of amazing to have this many big-time receivers around me. It’s kind of fun to have to choose between this many good players.’’