ATHENS — Caleb King, who started Georgia’s final five games last season at tailback, likely will do the same in the Sept. 4 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. But Washaun Ealey will get extensive playing time, too, just as he did late last season.
That was the word Thursday night from running backs coach Bryan McClendon.
“Right now, it’s probably Caleb [as the starter] because he has been more consistent in his pass-blocking throughout camp,” said McClendon, who added that he expects King and Ealey to “share playing time and split series and things like that.”
“It’s a constant competition between those two guys, and they have embraced that to this point,” McClendon said. “But Caleb does sort of get the lean right now just because of his pass protection and his ability to do it and sustain it.”
Last season, King had 594 yards rushing on 114 carries (5.2 yards per carry), while Ealey had 717 yards on 125 carries (5.7 yards per carry).
Darryl Gamble’s strong preseason has earned him a starting nod at one of the outside linebacker positions, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Thursday night. Gamble entered preseason behind Cornelius Washington on the depth chart.
“In base [defense], he’ll be out there,” Grantham said of Gamble. “Those guys are all going to play. We’re going to roll those guys. But he’ll be out there.”
Grantham expressed no dissatisfaction with Washington.
“Actually, Cornelius has done fine,” Grantham said. “He’s going to be in our rotation. Our first three games are at noon, and I think it’s important to keep guys fresh.
“I just think to be fair to everybody . . . when guys make plays and produce, you reward them.”
Coaches and players frequently have cited Gamble for productive performances in practices and scrimmages this month. Gamble, a senior, shifted from inside linebacker to outside in the final week of spring practice.
The combination of Hutson Mason’s progress and Logan Gray’s ankle injury have established Mason, a freshman from Marietta, as “pretty much No. 2 right now” in the quarterback pecking order, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Thursday night.
“He’s No. 2; he’s one play away [from playing in a game],” Bobo said of Mason. “If there was an injury, he’d be in the game.”
Gray has missed the past 11 practices with a sprained ankle, Bobo noted. Before the injury, Gray was working exclusively at wide receiver, but coaches had reserved the option of returning him to quarterback in the event of an injury to starter Aaron Murray.