ATHENS — Georgia, which ranks last in the SEC in rushing two weeks into the season, expects to have its tailback tandem intact for the first time this year Saturday against Arkansas.
Caleb King, who missed last week’s game at South Carolina because of a sprained ankle suffered in the season opener, “should practice this week and be fine,” coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.
Washaun Ealey, who was suspended from the opener because of an off-season arrest, returned against South Carolina but seemed less effective without running mate King.
King and Ealey formed a formidable tandem at the position in the second half of last season.
Georgia is averaging 122.5 yards rushing through two games, ranking 89th among the nation’s 120 major-college teams. King had 47 yards on 10 carries against Louisiana-Lafayette, getting just one carry in the second half after injuring an ankle late in the first. Ealey had 75 yards on 19 carries against South Carolina and lost a critical fumble near the goal line late in the third quarter.
The tailbacks’ absences and inconsistency haven’t been the only problems for Georgia’s running game. A veteran offensive line hasn’t been nearly as stellar as expected.
Richt said the run blocking last week was only “fair.”
“If I had a bunch of freshman linemen, I’d say it was a pretty decent day,” Richt said Tuesday. “But for that group of guys, I think we can do better. We’re challenging our runners to get more out of what’s being blocked too.
“That kid from South Carolina did,” he added, referring to freshman Marcus Lattimore’s 182-yard performance against the Bulldogs.
Georgia offensive tackle Josh Davis vowed that the Dogs’ running game will improve.
“We’re going to run the ball, and we’re going to do it very well,” he said. “When we have an experienced offensive line, we should be able to run the ball. I think [the South Carolina game] was a good learning experience, but it’s not going to happen again.”
Shaun Chapas, Georgia’s starting fullback, is questionable for Saturday’s game because of a sprained ankle, Richt said Tuesday.
Chapas injured the ankle in the first half of the South Carolina game and did not play in the second half.
If Chapas can’t play against Arkansas, Fred Munzenmaier will start at fullback.
From earlier today: