The first thing you notice about Ken Malcome is his physique. He’s not the heavyset kid known around Southwest DeKalb as “Boo” anymore. Upon initial sighting he actually looks taller. To that notion he just laughs and says his body has “been rearranged.”
“I’ve lost a lot of body fat,” Malcome said this past Friday. “I can’t remember what my percentage was the last time they checked it but it’s a lot lower. I got a lot more muscle, a lot more tone. The coaches say I look a lot better from the time I first got here.”
Malcome came to Georgia last year at 6-foot, 215 pounds and weighed 226 when the Bulldogs entered spring practice. He now sits at 220 pounds, which he said is right about where Georgia wants him.
As for the “rearrangement,” Malcome credits that to two things: One, the daily torture chamber that is Georgia’s offseason strength and conditioning program under coach Joe Tereshinski; and two, Malcome is supremely motivated to get some playing time at tailback this fall.
“I feel like I’ve been slept on a little bit,” said Malcome, who rushed for 1,168 yards and 16 touchdowns at Southwest DeKalb before redshirting last season. “I’ve got to be ready Sept. 3rd. That’s all I’ve been thinking in my head.”
Malcome best be ready. After this week’s news that junior Carlton Thomas will have to sit out the opener due to a disciplinary suspension, he’s one of three scholarships tailbacks the Bulldogs have left, and that’s only after Georgia moved Richard Samuel back over to offense from linebacker. Samuel played 22 games at tailback with six starts his first two seasons before getting moved to defense and redshirting last year. So Samuel is now the only tailback with game experience.
“A lot of things have happened this summer,” Malcome said. “We lost Washaun [Ealey] and Caleb [King] and now Richard’s back. But we’ve still been grinding. The current running backs can’t think about all that other stuff. Whatever happens, happens. It’s unfortunate that some of those guys are gone, but we have to look forward and keep moving.”
Malcome said he doesn’t see Samuel’s move back to the position as a lack of confidence from the coaching staff in him or true freshman Isaiah Crowell.
“It’s probably good to have that experience,” Malcome said. “We’re still very young. Richard gives us an experienced back and can help us keep our confidence up.”
Malcome may have already found his way on the field, but minor injuries and difficulty grasping the playbook have held him back. He missed 10 practice sessions in the spring due to a groin injury. He said it’s still an issue but believes he can play through it.
“The groin is cool now,” Malcome said. “I’m still getting treatment on it. I’m going to try my best to get it better for camp. Once you start running on it it’ll start hurting again, but I’ve just got to keep going.”
There’s reason to believe he can. So far at least, he has survived Tereshinski’s run-heavy training regimen.
“It’s rough, real rough,” Malcome said. “I’m not much of a long-distance runner, but I make my times. You get used to it after a while.”
It shows. Soon we’ll find out if it translates onto the football field.