Tailback competition is low-key in UGA camp this time (UPDATED)

(Updated after Wednesday’s practice with comments from RB’s coach Bryan McClendon)

ATHENS – The most-asked question in Georgia’s preseason practice a year ago was about who’d open the season as the starting tailback. The answer turned out to be Richard Samuel, who’s now a backup linebacker.

There’s an open question this preseason, too, about who’ll be the starting tailback. But it is drawing a lot less attention than a year ago, mainly because the Caleb King-Washaun Ealey tandem had so much success late last season that there’s a sense it doesn’t matter which one of them starts. Both will play, and play a lot.

“I don’t think about it every day, but of course we both want to start,” said King, a junior. “I believe with the competition -– I’m pushing him and he’s pushing me –- we both work hard and get better. I think the competition is good for us and good for the team.”

Ealey, a sophomore, has expressed similar sentiments.

“I think it’s a very healthy competition,” running backs coach Bryan McClendon said after practice Wednesday. But, make no mistake, it is very much a competition.

“Those guys compete at everything,” McClendon said of King and Ealey. “They can come out here and try to throw something away, and they’ll say, ‘Hey, mine went in cleaner than yours.’

“I think it’s healthy. I think they enjoy it. . . . I don’t think it has split a wedge in anything. In actuality, I think it has grown our room [the running backs meeting room] closer together.”

There appears to be no separation between King and Ealey at this point. Both played the same number of snaps with the No. 1 offense in Tuesday’s closed scrimmage, McClendon said. Ealey gained 66 yards on five carries, King 63 on 14. McClendon said the difference in carries was incidental, the result of “how the plays were called.”

McClendon said Georgia needs to play “at the very least”  two tailbacks “because it’s a very physical position in a very physical league.” He noted that neither King nor Ealey has played a full SEC season. Ealey didn’t shed his redshirt until the fifth game of last season, and King missed three games with injuries.

Perhaps the best news at tailback this preseason is that King, who was injured at the start of last season (hamstring) and again at the end of spring practice (knee), is healthy.

He was sidelined from one practice last week as a precaution after “banging my knee a little bit, but the next day I came back fine. So I’m 100 percent.”

A few other notes:

  • Tuesday’s Sanford Stadium scrimmage was closed to the media, but there was agreement among offensive and defensive players afterward that the defense brought a lot of pressure. “They were coming with so many blitzes,” King said.
  • As you might have read, A.J. Green caught two touchdown passes from Aaron Murray, one a deep ball and the other a short route on which Green “juked two guys out,” as Murray put it. Green on Murray: “I thought he did real well. He’s very confident and poised. He went through the reads pretty good.”
  • Offensive lineman Trinton Sturdivant, attempting a comeback after missing almost all of the past two seasons because of knee injuries, didn’t participate in the scrimmage. He has been practicing on a limited basis in a green non-contact jersey.

Click here for more on the scrimmage and here for scrimmage stats.

131 comments Add your comment

SatchelBuzz

August 11th, 2010
12:47 pm

Hunker Down

August 11th, 2010
12:51 pm

Chip,

I have been reading many articles of recent on what I consider an unfair practice by some college coaches of recruiting more players than the 85 limit in anticapation that some players will not meet academic qualifications, be kicked off the team, be medical redshirt, etc. etc. However, as in the case of LSU’s Porter kid when the season rolls around and you have 86 something has to give and kids are being gray shirted and or schollys not renewed. With all the excitement and joy on LOI day comes sadness to a handful of players that are in my mind decieved and unknowledgable. When you learn that you will have to either pay your own way the first year of school or take a gray shirt and be delayed entering a year seems unfair to the recruit to me. I feel the NCAA needs to do their best to protect kids from falling into this trap by the coaches who year end and year out over sign. The media is a powerful voice and would love to see the AJC do an article on this practice of signing over the 85 max and what remedies the NCAA could perform to help these kids.

aLLEN iVERSON

August 11th, 2010
12:53 pm

Practice? We are really talking about practice?

Villa Rica Dawg

August 11th, 2010
12:55 pm

Last year all the buzz was on Carlton Thomas during preseason, but he was a no-show in the regular season. Did he get in the dog house or just under-perform?

Yellow Fuzz

August 11th, 2010
12:56 pm

Did they play on the 45-42 field?

knoxdawg

August 11th, 2010
12:56 pm

Note worthy to me is the absence of tight end catches, namely Orson Charles. Did they just not run plays that would have gotten him the ball?

OEJ

August 11th, 2010
12:58 pm

At this point I could care less. The best player is going to start. It doesnt matter to me as long as UGA goes out there and win.

Yellow Fuzz

August 11th, 2010
12:59 pm

Did they play on the 45-42 field?

Where Tech had THREE backs rush for over 100 yards.

Can’t wait to return to the ole spetic tank stadium of the south (not Shreveport).

Lay off the dog koolaid. hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

run the ball

August 11th, 2010
1:00 pm

If CMB will hand the ball off 40-50 times a game, we could play in the Dome for the SEC. To play in the dome we have to beat SC, Tenn, and Fla. In order to beat those three teams we will have to run the ball effectively, even if everyone in the stadium knows it’s coming. So basically the season comes down to 3 big games (sorry Tech), and how effective our running game will be in those three contests.. If we can win those 3 games we have a shot to play to the BCS. Face it, the winner of the SEC plays for the title. Start preparing for those 3 games now, and EVERY YEAR from now.

I hate losing to Tech but other than pride it costs very little when compared to losing an SEC affair.

King follower

August 11th, 2010
1:02 pm

King will be enrolled at Georgia State by season’s end. Write that down.

Delbert D.

August 11th, 2010
1:02 pm

I wonder if Sturdivant is going to be worked in slowly as a backup as the season progresses.It will be something if he can make it back from those injuries.

Billo

August 11th, 2010
1:04 pm

Got to love the Tech bloggers. Pathetic.

Dawghater

August 11th, 2010
1:04 pm

So did the Dawgs beat the Dawgs at practice or is it the other way around?

SquirrelDawg

August 11th, 2010
1:05 pm

Well , Yellow Turd..if you really want to go there, ……..it is the 51-7 field……1 win in 9 years is nothing to be proud of

Billo

August 11th, 2010
1:06 pm

30-24…nuff said

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:06 pm

Yellow Fuzz, They would of played where they Beat the ACC Champs, but we heard the field is still torn up from the King and Ealey’s visit

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:08 pm

Where can you buy one of those yellow wigs they wear on game day…….I know the chick on campus loves that……….OK, Chicks, there must be four or five

Paul H

August 11th, 2010
1:09 pm

Yellow Fuzz, do you know how sad it is that you have to drum up a score from 2 years ago – your only win this decade?

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:09 pm

ACC last year
in order of finish:
1. Georgia
2. South Carolina
3. Georgia Tech
4. Clemson

We want our rings…….and we want the score on it !

THE #1 Hater

August 11th, 2010
1:10 pm

The offense did great so we will be #1. The defense also did great so we will be #1. With a number 1 defense and offense we are great great great great! Humpers crack me up.

jaxdawg

August 11th, 2010
1:11 pm

It was obvious to me last year, and I think most would agree, that Ealey was and is the better of the two backs. He seems to have the ‘it’ factor and the toughness factor that King doesn’t possess imo. I wish they’d go ahead and set a pecking order of 1. Ealey 2. King and 3. Thomas and just be done with it.

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:12 pm

Saw Johnson at a Charity event this summer at lake Oconee Cooking a big ole fish….

STUDENT ATHLETE

August 11th, 2010
1:13 pm

CALEB KING AND STURDIVANT AND A COUPLE OF OTHER LINEMEN WILL COME DOWN, AS USUAL, WITH HAIRLINE FRACTURES, TORN LIGAMENTS, OR SOME SUCH THING, LONG BEFORE THE SEASON OPENER.
THE FLORIDA GATORS HAVE 5 RUNNING BACKS URBAN CALLS ‘EXPLOSIVE’. GET THE PICTURE.

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:16 pm

How beautiful does the Tech Campus look this summer STUDENT ATHLETE…….awesome as always I bet…….Do they have a coffee table book with views of the Campus ?

SEC Expert

August 11th, 2010
1:17 pm

#1 Hater, actually you are on to something, but I don’t think we will be #1 in 2010, most think 2011 is the year we make a run at all the marbles. Defense will not be great early on as you said, but should be salty by midseason. I think the offense will begin lighting people up as Murray gets experience, but don’t believe we will be statistically #1 if that is what you are driving at. Should put a lot of points though.

Coach Johnson

August 11th, 2010
1:18 pm

When I hired Al Groh last year to run the defense, He told me that there is something about the phase ” Rambling Wreck” that hits home.

FORTY ONE POINTS to your seventeen points

August 11th, 2010
1:19 pm

Afternoon mutties

(((((((((((((((((((((41-17)))))))))))))))

keith

August 11th, 2010
1:21 pm

Does it bother anyone else that our coaching staff, after much evaluation, named a starting running back last year who didn’t make it through the season and is no longer in that position? What does that say about our evaluation of talent?

lamar

August 11th, 2010
1:24 pm

HEY YOU GT NERDS!! I would shut my mouth about GA untill you can beat them! Seems to me like we beat you 9 times out of 10 which goes to show you the old saying “” even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes is true”"! Not to mention Ga was at its worst last year AND THEY STILL BEAT YOU WHEN YOU WAS AT YOUR BEST BY WINNING THE ACC! So, SHUTUP NERDS TILL YOU CAN BACK UP YOUR MOUTH!! GO YOU DAMN HAIRY DAWGS!!

The Truth

August 11th, 2010
1:24 pm

keith

Excellent point.

ROBERT HALL FROM GEORGIA TECH

August 11th, 2010
1:24 pm

If I’m not too worn out from BEATING UP MY GIRLFRIEND, I’ll stop that 3-4 offense.

ROBERT HALL FROM GEORGIA TECH

August 11th, 2010
1:24 pm

Enter your comments here

CLEVON LITTLE

August 11th, 2010
1:26 pm

Wow. Yellow Fuzz just turned into FORTY ONE POINTS to your seventeen points. Amazing how that happens :)

Reality Check

August 11th, 2010
1:27 pm

GT under CPJ=No Excuses
UGA under CMR= Boatload of excuses, injuries, etc.

GT is the only CF program on the rise in the State of Georgia. UGA fans wake up every night with cold sweats thinking about that one. In a few years we will own you like UF does.

Reality

August 11th, 2010
1:28 pm

lamar

August 11th, 2010
1:24 pm
“…WHEN YOU WAS AT YOUR BEST …”

Let me guess, a GA student, working on a degree in English?

CMR Titanic

August 11th, 2010
1:29 pm

Sturdivant is a bust. King is too injury prone and Mike Bozo is still a clown. Sorry Charlie !

UGA owns you tasty bees..

August 11th, 2010
1:29 pm

We all have better odds of buying winning lottery (scratch-off) tickets, than to losing to tech this year. I believe most ticket odds are 1 in :3.18? what’s the odds of UGA beating tech, overall, and separately from the last decade? Weathermen get the forecast wrong more times in ONE day, than tech has beat us in one decade.. They are irrelevent in this state, will be taking our illustrious spot in Shreveport this year,(yes, techies, its between ACC and Big ten conf. now) and i really think its hilarious when idiot tech fans say we will go back there this year, seeing i’ve heard absolutely nothing of UGA going to the ACC.. Run the ball” has it right, we focus on our SEC east matchups, and bring our A game to Jax, we could have a shot at Bama in the dome.

FORTY ONE POINTS to your seventeen points

August 11th, 2010
1:32 pm

CLEVON LITTLE

August 11th, 2010
1:26 pm

Clevon, you can only wish there was ONE mutt hater out here….you seem to think there is one little techmite in his basement with 500 different names—-how wrong you are. Bama, LSU, AUB, Vols and Techies all join together with their disdain for your over rated and over hyped mutts.

Fair and Balanced

August 11th, 2010
1:32 pm

Run the ball successfully and you make a better QB out of Murray in a hurry. These are the keys to the offense. The defense? Can they catch on to the 3 – 4? GA goes 9 – 3 or 10 – 2 depending on the Tech game.

The Real SugarHillDawg

August 11th, 2010
1:34 pm

YellowFuzz, I am truly sorry that you weren’t born with the gene that lets a person know when they say or do something STUPID!

tough choice

August 11th, 2010
1:35 pm

I am wondering. Would I rather have a great life, live in a cool city, have a hot wife, great kids, make lots of money and lose a football game….or have to live in florida, wear jean shorts, tank tops, gold chains, drive camaro’s, and sport a mullet…..I think I will take the former.

GaFan

August 11th, 2010
1:36 pm

@Keith and The Truth

It means that of the two that ended in front of him, one was a true freshman and the other was injured at the beginning of the season.

FORTY ONE POINTS to your seventeen points

August 11th, 2010
1:38 pm

tough choice

August 11th, 2010
1:35 pm
…have a great life, live in a cool city, have a hot wife, great kids, make lots of money….

Hey! We have all this in common! AND win football games!

Smokewagon

August 11th, 2010
1:39 pm

Stu_ _ _ athelete- Urban must have been referring to their knees after trying to run through that weak line.

JB

August 11th, 2010
1:40 pm

Enter your comments here

Gratefuldawghead

August 11th, 2010
1:40 pm

We are Blessed to have both backs! “F” the haters! GO DAWGS!

footlong dawg

August 11th, 2010
1:41 pm

Fair & Balanced…Run the ball… no doubt about the Tech game.. we may get upset once this year by Auburn ??? 11 wins THIS is our year.. Under dawgs go to Junkyard Dawgs !!!!

Video Conformation

August 11th, 2010
1:41 pm

PLEEEEEASE WATCH THIS IF YOURE A FAN OF EITHER UGA OR TECH. or if you just like laughing really really hard!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEdkLVzHUO4

Damon Evans Rules

August 11th, 2010
1:43 pm

Hey, where did Joshua Perry get that Fake ID making equipment from? I’m checking out this little 19 year old down in Athens and I need something to get her in the Cheetah Lounge.

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

August 11th, 2010
1:43 pm

Either RB is fine, both ran the ball down tech’s throat all night long in November enroute to 339+ rushing yards and a 30-24 victory for the Dawgs!