A big reason tailback still looks like a committee at UGA

I’m back from a vacation that saw me soaked but happy at a terrific Paul McCartney concert, spending way too much on school supplies and books for my daughter, and enjoying some fun family time. While I was gone, the Bulldog Nation had a scare over Ben Jones’ ankle, UGA announced the football coaches will have to take furlough days, and Mark Richt finally made it official that sophomore Richard Samuel is “a solid No. 1″ at tailback.

I thought it interesting, though, that quarterback Joe Cox sort of added an asterisk to that No. 1 designation in an Athens Banner-Herald article noting that tailbacks at UGA don’t just run and block. They also catch the ball a lot, with the departed Knowshon Moreno third in receptions for the Dogs last season.  

And as Cox sees it, while Samuel might start at tailback, he’s more likely to be tossing the ball to Carlton Thomas and Caleb King out of the backfield. He was pretty brutally frank in summing up Samuel’s weakness in that regard. “I think we’re kind of going to pull from everybody to get certain aspects of what Knowshon did,” Cox told the ABH. “Richard’s a hard runner, he’s kind of a bruiser. He gets open, but it’s not like he has incredible ball skills. He catches well, but a guy like Caleb and Carlton, they have really smooth hands. … I definitely think we’ll be using all of them.”

Sounds good to me. In fact, I can’t wait to see what Thomas can do in open space after Cox dumps the ball to him out in the flat.

78 comments Add your comment

smashmouth

August 24th, 2009
3:44 pm

Yah, when Caleb is in the game don’t expect much and they’ll never throw the ball to Richard Samuel. I think they should forfeit the season since Joe Cox just told everyone the whole darn game plan!

Samuel's the man

August 24th, 2009
4:04 pm

RS is bigger, stronger AND faster than Caleb, and is only a few months past his 17th birthday. His only question mark is: can he hold onto the ball? If so, he’ll be hard to displace. Joe did say that about Richard’s hands, which goes back to what I’ve said about Joe all along…he is a vocal leader who is not afraid to speak up, something we have not had since DJ left town. Combine that with the fact that as a HS senior, he was generally regarded as a top 5 qb nationwide, won the elite 11 qb camp accuracy award over, among others, Mark Sanchez, and you now know why we will look back and wonder why he didn’t play more the last three years.
H B T D

Samuel's the man

August 24th, 2009
4:04 pm

Oh, sorry I forgot, welcome back Bill.

reality check

August 24th, 2009
4:05 pm

Yep, you got me Alt. I don’t post much anymore and I can’t help the statistics thing. I am a recovering CPA.

The thing is, the run/pass ratio as a predictor of success was true last year too. In fact, it was just as striking as it has been every year since Richt arrived.

Alabama 16 plays rushing, 43 passing
Florida 29 plays rushing, 37 passing
Tech 22 plays rushing, 40 passing

The disturbing thing is that we outgained both Georgia Tech and Florida. We had 10 yards less total offense than Alabama. But Alabama and Florida beat us like a rented mule and Tech squeaked one out.

All the rest of the games Georgia ran more than 50% of the time and we won them all.

This is one of those situations that the statistics tell a compelling story

Samuel's the man

August 24th, 2009
4:05 pm

okay, RS is a few months past his 18th birthday, he’s still young, strong and fast…..Go DAWGS

Voice of Reason

August 24th, 2009
4:29 pm

Why does RS being 18 matter? He, just like Caleb King has 3 more years of eligibility. Do you really think that his being a year or 2 younger makes him better? He may be the better back, maybe not, but his age is not going to determine that so why bring it up?

bird dawg

August 24th, 2009
4:30 pm

baldwin, daniels??? i think both of y’all mean jackson….dontavious jackson would be the fourth, maybe 5th,depending on ealey, in the mix.. but seriously, who is baldwin, the only baldwin i knew of was the safety that kept getting hurt or suspended..oh well, on to more important things..

i heard from my big 12 friend over the weekend and he says that okie-dokie state has all of their big,famous alums coming to stillwater to see the buttwhipping. you know, all 3, t.boone, barry sanders, and garth….

Voice of Reason

August 24th, 2009
4:32 pm

oh, and I’d rather have a slower, smaller back who gets 4 yards a carry than a bigger faster one who gets 6 yards a carry and then fumbles the ball every drive. Until he proves he can hang on to the ball and not run straight up I am not sold on Richard Samuel.

Voice of Reason

August 24th, 2009
4:35 pm

bird dawg- I was referring to Kalvin Daniels. I didn’t mean Jackson bc he has already had a redshirt and therfore Ace wouldn’t have predicted him to be redshirted this year (would he?)

Denver Dog

August 24th, 2009
4:37 pm

Which Tech running back one the Hiesman trophy,and Doak Walker award last year. HMMM? I can’t remember which one it was

ISN”T IT A SHAME ABOUT TECH

shane#1

August 24th, 2009
4:37 pm

I think King has the talent to be starting tb at UGA and I hope he has a very good year. I do think he has a short window to take the starting job because if Ealey does not redshirt and learns the system and improves his blocking he will be in the mix with King, Thomas, and Samuel. Ealey has an agressive running style that would complement Samuel and Thomas would make a good change of pace. Ealey also seems to have good hands for a running back. So if Caleb wants to make a move he needs to make that move in the first couple of games. I came off a little harsh on King yesterday and I believe he will be an asset to the Dogs this season, I would just like to see him step it up and reach his potential.

41 38 49 38 45

August 24th, 2009
4:56 pm

Samuel will be another Danny Ware till he gets his bell rung…….. The head aches will happen then come the excuses. Mark my words !

shane#1

August 24th, 2009
5:00 pm

Reality Check, good post about the 60% run factor. I know that a team that uses the play action pass as it’s bread and butter play needs to establish the run to be most effective. Meyer and Saban and Johnson also know that to beat UGA you must stop the run. Unfortunately for the Dogs Tech and Bama had very good dls and UF’s d was just dam good all over. When you have a patched up line with two true freshmen {one at center} and you face good defenses that are well coached and they want to stop the run, they will stop the run. Oh, and Bama took a 31 to 0 lead at half time, another good run stopping tactic.

WildBill

August 24th, 2009
5:13 pm

OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy. I believe Coach Gundy has a fire in his gut that will flow into his players and will be a real factor on opening day. I like CMR, but his fire seems, to me at least, to have waned over the years. Visions of Alabama and Florida still are in my mind from last years’ games. Times of utter collapse on UGA’s side were apparent to anyone watching the game. UGA, heed Coach Mike Gundy, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

41 38 49 38 45

August 24th, 2009
5:26 pm

Wild Bill …..You are on to something, CMR seems very cautious when he speaks to the media. He does praise his players after practices but I haven’t seen his confidence of overall improvement in his program. Makes one wonder…….

F. Sinkwich

August 24th, 2009
6:41 pm

I sure hope you’re right, Freddie G. Nothing would make me happier than watching Caleb burst through the line for big gains. So far though I’ve seen mostly up-the-middle for two or so. But I’m old, so my memory may be a problem here.

Buddy El

August 24th, 2009
8:42 pm

Voice of Reason: If you know anything at all about most males you have got to know that a 16 or 17 year-old is not nearly developed to his potential. It is a matter of record that most begin peeking at 19 or 20. RS is still growing and should reach 235 lbs. in the next couple of years. His speed should also increase.

Buddy El

August 24th, 2009
8:46 pm

Evidently Texas Tech didn’t get the word on running more ofton than passing but I will admit TT is an exception.

VegasDawg

August 24th, 2009
11:31 pm

I think our Dawgs will be the Dark Horse surprise of the SEC…since we always do better when everyone else thinks we’re mediocre. I’m also throwing this out there…but look for us to take revenge on Florida..when it happens, you heard it here first!

Big Dawg

August 25th, 2009
7:57 am

Carlton Thomas by the numbers inspring and camp and heart is the back that should be no. 1 then 2.Samuel 3. Ealey 4. King

reality check

August 25th, 2009
8:07 am

Buddy El, I agree Texas Tech didn’t get the word on running more often than passing, but that model applies to them too. Last year the only SEC team they played was Ole Miss. TT ran 14 times and passed 58. They got beat 47 – 34. Their running game was working. They averaged 7.5 yards a carry. They just abandoned the run, even though they were only averaging 6.3 yards per pass.

Ole Miss ran more, 45 plays running to 29 passing. They averaged “only” 5 yards per run, but their passing game averaged 10 yards per pass, partly because TT had to respect the run.

Running the ball works.

DamnGoodDawg

August 25th, 2009
8:30 am

This is the first time I’ve heard that Samuel is not a good receiver. He needs to be able to catch the ball, particularly if he is the #1 back.

G

August 25th, 2009
9:14 am

Still impressive and to go thru spring practice in the sec at 16 and earn playing time , Samuel that is. Orson looks like a beast.

G

August 25th, 2009
9:15 am

How can Samuel not be a good reciever, he returned kicks. In my book that means he has good hands.

Voice of Reason

August 25th, 2009
9:23 am

samuel was 17, not 16. there are a LOT of people on these blogs saying he was 16. He was not.

G- He was a fumbling kick returner though.

BIGBOY

August 25th, 2009
6:22 pm

I will wait until we play a SEC defense before I can say who can play and who can’t.

Mark

August 25th, 2009
9:05 pm

UGA has a stable of backs and the issue is going to be which know the offense and execute their assignments. King, Samuel and Thomas have the reps to know the playbook. If I’m CMR and Bobo I play the hot hand in the second half. As for catching the ball, Cox may be planting a seed in the minds of opponents or in the mind of Samuel. Cox has always been considered bright and I don’t think the fifth year senior is going to say anything that would damage his final season.

[...] to be led by sophomores Caleb King and Richard Samuel.  But all indications are that there will be many carries to go around.  King has suffered a hamstring injury in camp, after an early season-ending injury last fall.  [...]