ATHENS – Georgia fans have lost one of their best reasons to come to the G-Day Game next Saturday.
Keith Marshall, the highly-touted tailback out of Raleigh, has been effectively scratched from the lineup due to a hamstring injury suffered a week ago. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound midyear enrollee was unable to practice again Saturday as the Bulldogs conducted their second scrimmage of spring practice. Coach Mark Richt said the window is almost shut on him being able to play in the annual spring game.
“I would say the chance of Keith going is probably not very good,” Richt said. “Right at this minute I’d say he’s doubtful.”
That’s a shame because all spring reports on Marshall had been very positive.
“You can tell why he was the No. 1 running back in the country,” senior receiver Tavarres King said. “That kid is impressive.”
Said running backs coach Bryan McClendon: “Just a super guy, just very conscientious. He’s smart. He’s a sharp kid who wants to to do well at everything. Obviously he has all the ability to match it. When you say the sky’s the limit for a person, I really think that phrase it made for him.”
It looks doubtful for senior tailback Richard Samuel (concussion) as well. That leaves Isaiah Crowell, Ken Malcome, Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis to tote the rock for G-Day.
Williams suffers knee injury
As if Georgia’s secondary situation was not precarious enough, senior strong safety Shawn Williams went down with a knee injury on Saturday.
Williams is the only one of Georgia’s four starting defensive backs that is not suspended for games at the beginning of the season. Free safety Bacarri Rambo (four games), cornerback Sanders Commings (two games) and cornerback Branden Smith (one game) all are expected to miss playing time as a result of internal discipline for team rules violations.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Richt does not believe Williams’ injury is serious.
“We think it’s a non-op situation,” Richt said Saturday morning. “He’s in there doing fine right now. I don’t know [about the spring game].”
Passing game tuning up
There was some rare good news for Georgia on the offensive side of the ball from Saturday’s scrimmage. For the first time all spring, the offense was able to effectively move the football against the Bulldogs’ stingy defense.
Quarterbacks Aaron Murray (8-for-13 for 125 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs) and Hutson Mason (12-19-151-2-2) each was able to pass for more than 100 yards and four different receivers were able to haul in touchdown catches. Senior split end Marlon Brown led the way with 5 catches for 90 yards and a TD redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley also had 5 receptions and a score.
“We threw it and caught it a lot better,” Richt said. “It started out not very good at all but as the scrimmage went on more plays were made at quarterback. You’re trying to make a judgment on whether a play might have been a sack or not and we err on the side of letting the ball get thrown. So there was probably a few of those big plays that might’ve been sacks in a real game.”
Corey Moore shines
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore safety Corey Moore had a big day for the Bulldogs. The Griffin High graduate had a team-best 9 tackles and also had an interception.
He did good,” Richt said. “He’s coming. He’s a very aggressive football player when it comes to coming up to make a tackle. He’s a good athlete. He’s learning a lot and he’s going to get better. And he’s going to have to play for us; he’s going to have to function for us.”
Other defensive standouts included linebacker Ramik Wilson (7 tackles, sack, pass break-up), defensive end Ray Drew (5 tackles, sack), linebacker Chase Vasser (6 tackles) and noseguard Kwame Geathers (2 sacks).
The Bulldogs continue to struggle running the football against stout defensive front. Ken Malcome led all rushers with 29 yards on 5 carries, Isaiah Crowell had six for 23 and Brandon Harton had 6 for 11.
That’s the bad news. The good news is Richt said Georgia’s defensive line, led by John Jenkins, Abry Jones and Geathers, could be one of the best around.
Etc. . . .
Offensive guard Dallas Lee was back practicing after being sidelined for the last week with a concussion. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Zach DeBell (ankle) was practicing in a regular jersey for the first time in a long while and redshirt freshman Xzavier Ward (knee) was working on the side in full pads and a green (non-contact) jersey. . . . Linebacker Amarlo Herrera (shoulder) remains in a green jersey.
Following are the “very unofficial official stats,” as Richt called them, from Saturday’s long scrimmage: