Look for Caleb King to start at tailback for Georgia against Tennessee Tech on Saturday.
Coach Mark Richt expressed concern on his weekly radio show Monday night about Washaun Ealey’s pass-protection performance and said King “will probably start for us” this week
If so, it would be the first collegiate start for the former Gwinnett County prep star, a redshirt sophomore. And he would become Georgia’s third starter of the season at tailback.
Richard Samuel, who won the job while King was sidelined with a pulled hamstring in preseason, started the first six games. Ealey, a true freshman, has started the past two games against Vanderbilt and Florida, although Richt said after the Vandy game that the choice between King and Ealey to start came down to which play Georgia decided to call first.
Ealey had 17 of Georgia’s 33 rushing carries and 70 of its 121 rushing yards against Florida last week.
“Washaun certainly ran the ball well,” Richt said Monday night. “He still needs to continue to get better in his pass protection, and I think Caleb has earned the right to be the starter because of his ability to run and pass-protect. But Washaun — we will continue to work hard on him and his ability to pass-protect.”
Richt said a problem with pass protection is “very typical” for a true freshman back. “We don’t want to get him in too many situations where he could put everybody at risk if he’s not able to do a good job there.”
But starting King would not signal a retreat on playing Ealey, Richt said.
“We’re not going to back off of playing him at all, although . . . Caleb will probably start for us,” Richt said. “But we’ll still see a good bit of Washaun Ealey for sure.”
Georgia used three running backs against Florida. Samuel had six carries for 40 yards – 33 on one fourth-quarter carry – and King five for 19.