Running backs: How will Ealey and King divide carries, starts?
(Fourth in a summer series looking at Georgia’s football team by position.)
TODAY: RUNNING BACKS
- Returning starters: TB Caleb King, FB Shaun Chapas.
- Others to watch: Although King started the final five games last season, Washaun Ealey was Georgia’s leading rusher (717 yards on 125 carries to King’s 594 on 114). Fred Munzenmaier, like Chapas a senior, is a solid backup at fullback.
- Key change: Richard Samuel, who started the first six games last season at tailback but fell well behind Ealey and King by season’s end, has moved to defense (inside linebacker).
- Key fact: Despite King missing three games with injuries and Ealey missing four games before shedding his redshirt, the tandem combined for 1,311 yards on 239 carries last season –- an average of 5.4 yards per carry. About 25 percent of their combined yards (349) came in the victory at Georgia Tech.
- Key questions: How will Georgia distribute the carries between Ealey and King? And while last season demonstrated there are enough carries for both to thrive, which one will start?
- Recent developments: The question of a pecking order between King and Ealey wasn’t addressed on the post-spring depth chart because King, like other players who were injured at the end of spring ball, was not listed. King missed the final two weeks of spring with a strained knee. Ealey was listed as the No. 1 tailback on the post-spring depth chart, but Mark Richt said that in reality Ealey and King are co-No. 1’s. Richt said Ealey made much progress from his freshman season to this spring in terms of physical conditioning and understanding the offense, and Ealey was pleased with his improvement as a blocker. Richt and Mike Bobo also said Carlton Thomas made strides and can help at tailback.
- Outlook: The King-Ealey tandem, supported by an experienced offensive line, has Georgia feeling good about its running game. At fullback, Chapas and Munzenmaier are known for their run-blocking and (very) occasional forays with the ball (they scored two TDs apiece last season and Chapas had career-high five carries for 43 yards against Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl).
- Your turn: What say you about the running backs?
Links to previous entries in this series: