ATHENS Herschel Walker was asked Thursday which running back, pro or college, he likes to watch. He chose the one about 30 feet away.
"Oh, you've gotta want to watch Chubb," Walker said, nodding to his left.
Walker, the Georgia football legend and its all-time leading rusher, was at his former team's spring practice on Thursday. When he was pulled aside to meet the media, Walker spent much of his time gushing over Nick Chubb, who racked up 1,547 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman.
And that was with coming off the bench half the season behind Todd Gurley, as Walker pointed out.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"This kid came on as a freshman and just think if he had started the whole season, what he would have done. That's what's so amazing," said Walker, who was also impressed that Chubb came out of the season healthy, and continued to work hard.
"One thing I like about him, the game is over, practice is over, and the kid is still out there working out," Walker said. "That's just the sign of a good athlete. That's a sign that he's doing things he needs to get done."
One more reason Walker loves Chubb: His workload. Walker said it was "absolutely amazing" to see Chubb carry the ball 30 times in several games last year, in an era when he said teams use "a choir" of tailbacks in each game.
This week was the first time Walker had spoken to Chubb. Walker had been to some games and said he was offered a chance to talk to Chubb, but preferred to let him focus on the game.
"Gurley being here, and then you've got Chubb. People forgot about (Keith) Marshall. People have totally forgot about Marshall. Marshall is an excellent running back. then you've got Sony Michel. I'm like guys, You've got a ton of running backs here," Walker said.
"But then you've got Chubb, who's not gonna give up the position. He's saying, You know what guys, I'm not gonna carry it 15, I'm gonna carry it 30, if you all can get anything out of that then more power to you. I think that's what's amazing."
Walker, 53, spends most of his time in California these days. He still ranks as one of the top running backs in college football history, with 5,259 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns, and winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982. He finished his pro career with nearly 14,000 rushing yards, including his three years in the USFL.
But at the NFL level the running back position is being devalued, with tailbacks being considered interchangable. It's part of the reason Gurley isn't considered a surefire first round pick.
Walker attributes it to the proliferation of the West Coast offense in the NFL, which puts more emphasis on the pass.
"But if you notice, when people want to win games, or when they want to talk about a good team, they always talk about a team that can run the ball," Walker said. "When they want to win a game you don't see them wanting to throw the ball anymore, they want to run it."
Marshaw Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks would probably agree.