ATHENS – There is a pecking order at tailback for Georgia, but it’s not a very firm one.
By virtue of their experience, Senior Richard Samuel and sophomore Ken Malcome are ahead of freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. But all four are getting snaps with the first-team offense, and head coach Mark Richt said the race is “wide open.”
“I don’t know when and where, if (the depth chart is) going to move around,” Richt said after Saturday's practice. “Usually we’ll at least wait until we have a day in pads or we’ll wait until after the scrimmage to re-rack it a little bit.”
The tailback spot has been the most tumultuous for Georgia the past few years. For a second straight year, the two leading rushers (in terms of yardage) left the program without ceremony. (Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas this year, Caleb King and Washaun Ealey in 2011.)
But even without Crowell, the SEC freshman of the year, the Bulldogs feel they have enough firepower. The trick now is finding the right combination, since some form of committee seems inevitable.
"It can be a special running back (committee) with me, Todd, Richard and Keith," Malcome said. "I think this year people will see that Georgia is back in the running game. A lot of people said we fell off, but even though we lost Isaiah we're full strength."
Another wrench in the plans is that Samuel is still a factor at fullback, getting plenty of reps there. During early drills on Saturday, when the media was present, he was in the backfield with Marshall.
“He’s kind of doing double-duty with that right now,” Richt said.
Samuel has said he would prefer fullback, but will be fine with however it turns out.
"It was gonna tip more to tailback a little bit,” Samuel said. “But then during camp if coaches feel good about how the other running backs start to produce or how the fullback is filling out with Quayvon (Hicks) and Zander (Ogletree) … it all depends on how those guys pan out."