Even with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall in the fold, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo insisted all summer the Bulldogs needed to establish depth at tailback. Two weeks into the season, we’re seeing why.
Gurley and Marshall remain upright at the moment, and each practiced Wednesday. But the sophomores are banged up after a pair of top-10 matchups to open the season, and how much they’ll play Sept. 21 against North Texas remains to be seen.
Gurley, who has gained 286 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns in the first two games, is hobbling with a pulled thigh muscle and a hip flexor. Marshall was unable to finishthe South Carolina game after getting hit on the knee.
Bobo indicated he intends to play both players against North Texas. But seeing freshman Brendan Douglas come off the bench to run for 31 yards on five carries in the fourth quarter against South Carolina has eased Bobo’s mind somewhat.
“It was good to get Brendan in that game, and J.J. Green got a carry, and he got in (against Clemson on Aug. 31), too,” Bobo said. “Injuries do happen. It’s a rough-and-tough league. We played two very good opponents the first two weeks, and guys played a lot of snaps. Hopefully we’ll get healed up and be ready to go in a week and a half.”
It would appear from Saturday’s chain of events that Douglas has solidified his spot as the No. 3 tailback, but that’s not necessarily the case. Mark Richt said Douglas and Green bring different attributes to the position.
“Douglas has definitely found a niche as far as short-yardage, goal-line, four-minute offense,” Richt said. “When you’re trying to end the game like we were doing, I think he’d be the first to go in there. Now, out in the field, first or second quarter, would we put him in, in front of J.J.? I don’t know if that’s been established yet.”
It does appear, however, that A.J. Turman likely is the odd man out. The freshman from Orlando, Fla., returned this week from knee and ankle injuries that kept him out since preseason. But Richt wasn’t ready to declare him a lock to be redshirted.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “At running back you just can’t hardly say that too fast. It’s a high-contact position, and you never know what can happen in one game. One game could change anything, so I wouldn’t say that yet. But that’s pretty much the pecking order where we’re at.”
In the meantime, Bobo said he plans to play Gurley and Marshall in the usual rotation against North Texas.
“I’m strictly telling the truth: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I have done nothing but watch North Texas, get ready for North Texas, try to improve fundamentally, and that’s what we’re going to do and that’s our mindset, to get better each week,” Bobo said. “Offensively you’ve got to be able to execute. … We’ve got to get better at what we do, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Richt ignores Spurrier: Speaking to the Touchdown Club of Athens on Monday, Richt shared that Steve Spurrier, then still at Florida, advised him during a Heisman Trophy event not to take the Georgia job. On Wednesday he was asked to elaborate.
“I think it might have been during the time I was interviewing,” Richt said. “I think he was just playfully saying, ‘I wouldn’t take that Georgia job if I were you.’ But it was not that big of a deal. … He was halfway playing around.”
Rome practicing: Jay Rome was back at practice Wednesday, and nobody was happier about that than fellow tight end Arthur Lynch. With Rome sidelined with an ankle injury, Lynch played every snap when the Bulldogs used a tight end Saturday against South Carolina — 73 plays in all.
“You always appreciate having a guy where you don’t have a drop-off in level of play, which we have (such a player) in Jay,” said Lynch, who had three catches for 26 yards and a touchdown and helped neutralize defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. “It’s just reassuring that if I were to go down, we have a guy like Jay to come in. But that being said, my whole mindset is the coaches can rely on me no matter what, if it’s 80 snaps or it’s two snaps.”