What now at tailback and receiver?

semerson@macon.comOctober 6, 2013 

GeorgiaLSU

Georgia tailback J.J. Green (15) rushes for a first down during their game against LSU Saturday.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

Here's a look at what remains for the Georgia football team at the two positions that have been ravaged by injuries:

TAILBACKS

1. Todd Gurley, soph. (sprained ankle, questionable for Missouri)
2. J.J. Green, fr.
3. Brendan Douglas, fr.
4. A.J. Turman, fr.
5. Brandon Harton, sr. (walk-on)
5. Kyle Karempelis, sr. (walk-on)

Out for season: Keith Marshall, soph.

RECEIVER
1. Chris Conley, jr.
2. Michael Bennett, jr. (injured, status uncertain)
3. Rantavious Wooten, sr.
4. Reggie Davis, fr.
5. Rhett McGowan, sr. (walk-on)

Others:
- Jonathan Rumph, jr. (injured, return uncertain)
- Kenneth Towns, r-fr. (walk-on)
- Blake Tibbs, r-fr.
- Tramel Terry, fr. (recovering from knee surgery)
- Uriah LeMay, fr. (expected to redshirt)

Out for season: Malcolm Mitchell, jr.; Justin Scott-Wesley, soph.

***

Some quick analysis:

The tailback spot should be okay once Gurley returns, and Mark Richt said Saturday that Gurley should definitely be back for Vanderbilt. The question is if the team can survive the Missouri game without him, if he can't play.

Greene is showing he can be a legitimate SEC tailback, and will also be the change-of-pace back to Gurley, filling a small part of Gurley's role. Douglas has been a pleasant surprise, though he doesn't offer the breakaway threat.

The question is whether Turman's redshirt will be burned. Richt hasn't committed to that yet. Considering the team has two more highly-rated tailbacks on the way next year (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) it doesn't make too much sense to save Turman.

At receiver, it just goes to show how deep the team is there that it can still trot out a fifth-year senior (Wooten) who has caught a touchdown every year since 2009, and a freshman (Davis) who holds the program record for longest catch, the 98-yarder against North Texas. Those two can team with Conley in the three-wide set, with McGowan - a capable possession receiver - as long as Bennett is out.

But more bodies are needed now. Towns and Tibbs appear first up, judging by what Richt said after the game and on Sunday. Towns is a 6-foot-3 prospect who was recruited by other schools but chose to walk on at Georgia. Tibbs was a three-star recruit two years ago who has yet to catch a pass, but he'll have his chance.

Rumph and Terry offer high upside, but their health remains a concern. Rumph's hamstring has lingered since the preseason, and his practice effort has occasionally left something to be desired. Terry is still working his way back from the ACL he tore last December in a high school all-star game, and Richt doesn't yet appear comfortable playing him.

The final thought: The injuries make the upcoming schedule a lot more dangerous than anticipated, but it's still manageable. If Georgia can survive until Gurley, the passing game should still be strong because of Aaron Murray, who has turned every receiver into a contributor, and can continue to do that with the likes of Towns, Tibbs and whoever else.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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