GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Mark Richt only wanted to touch on Washaun Ealey briefly. Otherwise, when it came to the departed tailback, Richt made clear that he was moving on.
That means Caleb King and Isaiah Crowell, based on what the Georgia head coach said in his first public comments after Ealey’s transfer.
“I think we’ve got guys that can play the position,” Richt said before a meeting of the Bulldog Club in upstate South Carolina. “Sometimes when an opportunity arises … all of a sudden it motivates him to get even better prepared and rise to the occasion.”
Ealey’s transfer was not unexpected after off-field issues and general displeasure with his work habits. It appeared from Richt’s comments that it didn’t shuffle the tailback rotation very much.
King, a rising senior, is now the team’s most veteran back. Richt said he wanted King -- who has had his own share of off-field troubles -- to use the summer to trim down in order to be a faster runner.
“Caleb has become a very dependable football player,” Richt said. “People can have a debate on how effective he’s been. But when it comes to knowing what to do, when it comes to pass protection, when it comes to doing the things that we’re asking him to do, he does a good job. … I’ve got faith that he knows what to do and will compete well.”
Then there’s Crowell, the incoming freshman from Carver-Columbus. The highly touted recruit could very well start the opener against Boise State, which Richt said was a strong possibility even before Ealey’s transfer.
“(Crowell) knew that there was opportunity at Georgia at the tailback position, that there were veterans there ahead of him, that no one had really nailed that thing down and really established themselves as the guy. And he knows that,” Richt said. “So whether Washaun was there or not, I don’t think it’s really going to change his mindset and change his approach. But if it gives him a little bit more incentive to be prepared, then that’s a good thing.”
As for Ealey, his now-former head coach took the high road.
“You know, my only comment on Washaun is that I really wish him the best,” Richt said. “I think that he will find a good place to continue his college career and get his degree and play some ball. And hopefully have a chance to play in the league. He’s a talented guy. He’s a guy that I hope does well.”
A few other matters addressed by Richt:
While the game time for the Georgia-South Carolina game has not been officially announced, Richt twice alluded to the game being at night and on ESPN.
If he’s not jumping the gun, that means the game is likely to be at 7:45 p.m.
Richt didn’t have any word on any possible academic issues. He said grades aren’t in until Monday, and nothing would be known until then. He also didn’t know of any recruits who might not make it, other than defensive tackle Chris Mayes, who is headed for junior college.
Richt clarified the offensive line depth chart: Justin Anderson is slated for right tackle and Chris Burnette at right guard. The right side was the most unsettled coming out of spring.
Nick Marshall might see some time on offense, perhaps as a quarterback in the team’s Wildcat -- or Wild Dog formation, as Richt called it. The Bulldogs have used that before, but Marshall, the Wilcox County graduate, was a quarterback in high school.
“We’d stick Washaun back there or Caleb back there. It’s nothing like having a Nick Marshall back there,” Richt said. “That’s not out of the realm of possibilities.”
Richt listed Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams as the top safeties, with Jakar Hamilton and then perhaps Mark Deas as factors. Sanders Commings will continue to train at safety, but for the moment he’s still penciled in at corner.