Tailback Ken Malcome is on track for success with Bulldogs

Georgia's Ken Malcome has embraced his role on the team as a power runner who 'can carry the load.' (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

Georgia's Ken Malcome has embraced his role on the team as a power runner who 'can carry the load.' (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS – This past summer, Ken Malcome said he hoped Georgia fans would call him by his hometown nickname of “Boo.” Less than a year later, Malcome has put the kibosh on that.

“I actually kind of stopped that,” Malcome said this past week. “Next year if I have a good year, I’ll let people call me that. I figured I haven’t done anything so I don’t deserve to be called Boo yet. I’ve told everybody just to call me Ken for now.”

Silly as it may seem, such a proclamation is just another sign of the tremendous growth in maturity the Bulldogs are observing in Malcome. The soon-to-be redshirt sophomore from Decatur started at tailback for the No. 1 offense in the G-Day Game this past Saturday. Not even six months before that, Malcome sat in coach Mark Richt’s office informing him of his intention to transfer due to a lack of playing time and general unhappiness.

“I don’t know for sure how he’s going to finish, but he’s on a great track right now,” Richt said of Malcome after the G-Day Game. “It does my heart good to see guys that are struggling, that don’t think they can make it, that maybe make a mistake that’s foolish and they just think it’s over. And then they stick it out; they decide to do it ‘the Georgia way;’ and then all of the sudden you see how good a guy can be; and then you all of the sudden you see him get confidence and you’re happy for them.

“Ken has really blossomed for us, as a football player and as a student and as a person. I’m just real happy for him.”

It’s hard to ignore Malcome’s progress. Here’s what has happened with him since deciding to quit the team the week before the Mississippi State game in late September:

  • He ended up starting the two of the last three games of the seasons and played in six overall, finishing with 174 yards on 42 carries.
  • He led the Bulldogs with 51 yards rushing on 12 carries against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl and would’ve had more if he hadn’t been sidelined with concussion;
  • He played extensively in the SEC Championship game and finished with 37 yards on five carries and caught a 17-yard pass;
  • He got his first career start in his hometown against Georgia Tech. He ended up with just 39 yards on 12 carries but had some critical first-down runs in short-yardage situations late to help preserve the victory.

Accordingly, Malcome didn’t turn in a jaw-dropping performance in the G-Day Game, totaling 32 yards on 8 carries. But he scored two touchdowns and Malcome’s work came against a stout No. 1 Georgia defense. He did a lot of small things well, which continued to draw the praise of coaches and teammates.

“Ken Malcome ran hard and ran through some tackles on both touchdown runs,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “It’s hard to get any running room when you’re using 21 personnel groupings and doing different things with your tight ends and fullbacks. But I saw some creases, I saw him run the ball hard and make some guys miss.”

Said Richt: “Malcome had a run on third-and-one-or-two and he hit the right side and there was nothing there and he either spun off or cut back and just kind of knocked it out and got the first down. Those are the kind of tough yards you’ve got to get to move the chains.”

Understanding what the Bulldogs are expecting out of him has been half the battle for Malcome. After a redshirt year, Malcome found himself bowed up and determined to prove he could be everything to everybody when Isaiah Crowell came in this past summer with the tag as the nation’s No. 1 running back prospect.

Georgia has since added to that number, bringing in the nation’s top back for the second straight year in Keith Marshall, recruiting another highly-touted back in Todd Gurley and keeping Richard Samuel at tailback. But instead of being disillusioned by the situation, Malcome has decided to get better at what the coaches are asking him to do. Now it sounds as if Malcome has adopted the team concept and can see where he fits in, now and in the future.

“I think what I bring to the backfield is I can carry the load,” said the 6-foot, 226-pound bruiser. “I’m a power back and that’s what I plan to be. I know my strengths and weaknesses and that’s what I do. We’ve got a lot of people that have speed and other things. I know what I can do and I’m going to stick to it. I’m trying not to do too much; just go out there and do what Coach tells me to do.”

That is not to say that Malcome is suddenly a mild-mannered, shrinking violet. He still carries himself with the bravado and swagger that characterized his personality as a star running back at Southwest DeKalb. It just has been re-channeled after 18 months of trial and tribulation as just one of many elite athletes at a powerhouse program.

“The motto this year is to be the best backfield in America,” said Malcome, his braggadocio fully intact. “I think we’ve got some time to go before we can say that, but I definitely see the potential for us being the backfield that ESPN and everybody’s talking about. But we’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to cut out the mistakes and other things like that. But that’s why we practice and if we keep it up I really believe we’ll be the best backfield in the nation.”

And maybe if all goes well, Malcome will feel worthy again of being called “Boo.”

– Chip Towers, The UGA Blog

158 comments Add your comment

Augusta dawg

April 17th, 2012
5:23 pm

freedyg

April 17th, 2012
5:24 pm

Augusta dawg

April 17th, 2012
5:25 pm

Dang it. Was first but didn’t go through the first time. Oh well. Fire the person who said fire Richt

kyle

April 17th, 2012
5:32 pm

He isn’t flashy but is strong and runs hard. Hit the wholes well against our first team offense. Should be a very good RB this year for us in the rotation with Crowell and Marshall

GTBob

April 17th, 2012
5:42 pm

He seems like a solid 4th to 5th string RB who will get good playing time vs. Buffalo.

jalex49

April 17th, 2012
5:44 pm

Happy for Malcome. Hope he has a great year and becomes the player he knows he an be. Thanks for stciking with Georgia. Malcome has a lot of fans and people who want him to be successful. They were with him him during his struggles and are really behind him now.

Go Malcome, Go DAWGS!!

ARdawg

April 17th, 2012
5:48 pm

GT Bob,

Your slip is showing

jalex49

April 17th, 2012
5:48 pm

Best of luck Malcome. Your fans are supporting you and would like to see you become an exeptional running back. The talent is there all you have to do is go out and prove it. We were with you and wishing you the best during your struggles and are really excited for you now!

ARdawg

April 17th, 2012
5:50 pm

Malcome has all the potential in the world. I hope he is finally realizing it. He can do great things if he keeps his head on straight. He has the strongest legs we’ve had in a RB in quite a while

bham dawg

April 17th, 2012
5:50 pm

Hope that he keeps coming into form i would love to be able to redshirt gurley. I think with IC, Boo excuse me Ken, KM, and Samuel they should be able to carry the load.

Haha, GT Blob

April 17th, 2012
5:52 pm

Yeah, He sealed the deal against your lowly bees, and if he played for Tech, you guys would be getting a Heisman campaign together for him. Bwhahahahahah, what a joke you and your fans are, GT Bob. Yes, we have a plethora of talent at running back, and no, you can’t have any. We will run this state for years and years. And no, I do not work for any Tech grads as none of them have Education degrees. PS, your on a UGA blog. Get it, loser?

TampaGator

April 17th, 2012
5:57 pm

You gotta love spring success stories. I love fall ones a lot better.

P.S. ESPN came out with its first Top 150 today. Florida and Georgia are off and running.

Florida has 7 commits in the Top 150 and Georgia has 6. Georgia will sign a lot more than Florida this year, as Florida has only 16 players on the roster scheduled not to return next year off a roster of around 80 or 81 players. Looks like maybe 20 or 21 recruits for Florida and I hear Georgia could sign the full amount – 28…or even up to 30 with early enrollees, etc.

GTBob

April 17th, 2012
5:57 pm

Yes, we have a plethora of talent at running back, and no, you can’t have any.

Running back is one of the few positions that we really don’t need anybody. Ken can come over play special teams if he wants to though. At least he will get on the field.

Boo

April 17th, 2012
6:00 pm

GTBob = Gay Turd (I’m a nerd) Bob. I would rather be 4th or 5th string at UGA than first string (with no sting) at Tech.

BobDawg

April 17th, 2012
6:07 pm

Defenses are going to need about 13 players to handle us with our backfield…. That little swing pass to Branden Harton during the spring game, nobody was around him for 30-40 yards…Load up the Box and we will swing it wide… Cover us 4 and 5 wide and we will bust Malcome or IC up the middle….

ATinSAV

April 17th, 2012
6:07 pm

Funny to me how everyone seemed to have forgotten about Malcome last year. He was a 4 star blue chipper and considered to be one of the 10 best backs in the country coming out in 2010. It was clear that at the end of last year he was our best runner, and he showed it again this past Saturday. Look forward to a season with plenty of depth at the position, but I would not be surprised if Malcome continues to improve and perhaps even be the starter next season. Not sure any of the other backs sans Gurley are built to carry the load the Malcome is.

BobDawg

April 17th, 2012
6:13 pm

TG… how many guys did Muschamp sign up this February???

flo-ri-duh

April 17th, 2012
6:14 pm

Now that Richard Samuel has gotten down to RB weight and RB shape I expect him to surprise every one with his speed and power. So, UGA will have two power backs this year.

PT

April 17th, 2012
6:15 pm

I think on game day Tech fans already think he’s already on the roster.

Destin Dawg

April 17th, 2012
6:19 pm

can’t wait !! this will be a great season… Go Ken.. I like the nick name Boo… Go dawgs !!!

WhoCarez

April 17th, 2012
6:24 pm

I think this is awesome I really saw potential with Ken running the ball last year. This year is going to be his break out year especially if IC keeps up his actions that he is notorious for. I could see this guy being our #1 with IC #2 RS #3 then redshirt the freshman an if you need that fourth back I like Harton. And I know the whole Knowshon issue will be brought up, but I say its worth it.

WhoCarez

April 17th, 2012
6:24 pm

I think this is awesome I really saw potential with Ken running the ball last year. This year is going to be his break out year especially if IC keeps up his actions that he is notorious for. I could see this guy being our #1 with IC #2 RS #3 then redshirt the freshman an if you need that fourth back I like Harton. And I know the whole Knowshon issue will be brought up, but I say its worth it.

SimpleDawg

April 17th, 2012
6:36 pm

Boo needs to put his considerable physical talents to work. Continue to challenge himself to get better every day, every play.

He has shown signs of great ability. Determination and toughness need to be his mantra.

Ken, go make Boo a cheer instead of a jeer.

1970 Dawg

April 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Keep up the good work, Ken. These kind of stories make coaching worth it. You can see CMR’s love for his players by his words. For all the disappointments, there are a ton of these kinds of growth and maturity. As for GTbob, does anyone really give a dam- what he thinks?

Lamar

April 17th, 2012
6:50 pm

GREAT STORY CHIP!! I have noticed that all the stories you do is DEAD ON IT! Even if its about a guy that is not living up to his potential! Like you said, Ken is getting the tough yards in between the tackles. Lately he gets hit at the line, but he keeps his legs moving with great balance and moves the pile 3-4 yards. You take a little back like Harton though, he cant run between the tackles and Bobo needs to quit having him try. Harton needs to get the ball on screens to where he can use his ability to make guys miss in space! I sure hope Bobo finally realizes each guys strength , and use them the right way! GO DAWGS!

CHDawg

April 17th, 2012
6:51 pm

I haven’t even seen Marshall or Gurley and I am really excited about TB for the Dawgs in ‘12. Malcome is an NFL type back and he certainly has NFL potential. He is competitive now, but getting stronger, bigger and faster this summer really plays to his strengths. Ken reminds me of LSU’s TBs–very tough to tackle and they just wear you out. IC is still a tremendous talent, and he is just going to get better and better. When I was watching IC on GDay, I had the feeling he could break one at any minute, even though he didn’t. With Malcome, it is fun watching how many tacklers he can carry. Against Auburn, KY, and Tech, there were times when he was pushing a pile with 6-8 defenders in it by himself! He is strong, but he has great balance and lean, and he leverages himself well off of other players after being hit. Malcome and Crowell complement each other beautifully, and it will be nice having both of them in tough SEC games, much like LSU profited with their depth at TB. I hope they move Samuel to FB. Not that he couldn’t play TB, but having his talent on the field with any of our TBs is going to present a problem for defensive coordinators. Samuel can block like a FB, run and catch like a TB, and he can split out. So, DCs don’t know whether we will line up in a power I, or do a quick split to a wide open shotgun. Marshall and Gurley add depth and could contribute more as the year goes on. If we can stay out of trouble and stay healthy we have the deepest TB roster in a very long time. We’ll see how good they can become. I’m encouraged that they looked as good as they did Saturday against one of the top run Ds in the country last year.

Lamar

April 17th, 2012
6:54 pm

Last thing, use Harton like you did in the G- game, throw screens to him and let him do his thing which is use his speed and his ability to make guys miss! I sure hop Bobo gets it and does it when it MATTERS MOST!! THE REGULAR SEASON! I mean to me Bobo dont work good under pressure in a game, and he is WAY TO SLOW AT MAKING ADJUSTMENTS! Maybe he is finally getting it! HOPE SO!

TampaGator

April 17th, 2012
7:04 pm

BobDawg…..

23 new baby Gators this past February. Muchcamp could have signed 28, but lost out of some guys he thought were signing who surprised by signing elsewhere on the last day.

CHDawg

April 17th, 2012
7:12 pm

Andone, counterpoint: I think the committee approach has been vindicated. In fact, I’m not sure a one many show will even work in the current SEC. Defenses are so big, strong, and fast, they can pound any one man severely. The last four years’ champs were all run by committee. Tebow and Co., Ingram and Richardson, Newton and Co., and Richardson/Lacy and Co., along with the four horsemen from LSU last year–they only seem to vindicate it. Lattimore is a glaring example of a successful one man show in the modern SEC, but his injuries have cost SC both years very dearly. He is very tough and gifted, but you wonder if keeping in the game all the time contributed.

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
7:14 pm

Hey Boo Boo, I think I smell an SEC CHAMPIONSHIP!!! But Kingdaddy, Ranger Saban won’t like that! Tut Tut Boo Boo, what he don’t know, won’t hurt him…LOL …

Dont get it

April 17th, 2012
7:14 pm

I have been saying all along…you cant sleep on this kid. Dont forget he had offers from Bama, Aub, Fl…. He seems to be the type of kid that needs it about 25+ times a game. But “andone” is right, Richt seems to like the committe aproach.

Reality

April 17th, 2012
7:15 pm

Please disregard any GT comments on this blog. Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes.

Beast from the East

April 17th, 2012
7:17 pm

Running back is certainly not a problem for the Dawgs this upcoming season. O-line and WR are the only question marks on the offensive side of the ball. WR should be solid if Mitchell returns to play offense after the suspensions are over.

bobwhite

April 17th, 2012
7:22 pm

It would be great to see malcome in the i formation running the toss sweep “downhill” behind a big fb and at least one pulling guard. That was our bread and butter for years but now the brains trust would rather “trick ” the defense by running the draw out of the shotgun even though everyone knows what is about to be called. Let our backs use their athleticism and power every now and then and take advantage of a more athletic o-line

GTBob

April 17th, 2012
7:27 pm

I could see this guy being our #1 with IC #2 RS #3 then redshirt the freshman an if you need that fourth back I like Harton.

Richt is not going to start this guy over 4 other running backs who are much more talented then he is. He isn’t going to use a redshirt on Marshall and only play him for 2 years. There is a reason that Malcome wasn’t getting much playing time before. He should have transferred if he wants to play and he is killing his NFL chances by staying.

Score Check

April 17th, 2012
7:27 pm

Coach Sick Satan = SCUM

Tweak your knee and you are left twisting in the wind

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
7:33 pm

Doggies
Our RB positions will be the strength of our OFFENSE If Bobo will use them properly. I. C. and Ken both ran with authority and purpose. It would be a mistake to overlook Richard Samuel. He actually scared the hell out of the DBs when he went wide. You could see their faces, and they were like” OH SH* T!” I thought I was gonna die laughing. What a BRUTUS. If Bobo calls screens, and sweeps with some play-action passes, we will be hard to defend this year …

Johnson McFarlansworth

April 17th, 2012
7:38 pm

Hey Score Check, Since when was this a “hate on the national championship winning Head Coach Blog”. Go do something else. If you don’t know college football don’t talk about it.

Johnson McFarlansworth

April 17th, 2012
7:42 pm

And hey, “Don’t get it”, If you really think this kid needs 25+ carries per game you need to take up another sport. And when you do watch football, keep your mouth shut and fingers off the keyboard. 25 carries… Yeah right. Crow needs at least 15 and Keith will have 10+. Malcome might get 25 in the first 5 games.

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
7:55 pm

Our whole season depends on teamwork, but what it really comes down to is one man. Our whole season is in Coach Bobos hands. If he doesn’t protect the young O-line with plays that don’t put too much pressure on them, too soon, we will win out. Short to medium passes, screens, hitting the RBs out of the backfield. Use our Running game. Two tight-end sets, get Lynch involved. We have so many weapons, but our Achilles Heel will be Bobo and his play-calling protecting our O-line till they gell. One man who did a good job calling the G-day game. BOBO…

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
8:12 pm

Johnson MC
Go to Carvells recruiting blog so you can talk about the Bammers with your friends. We ate talking UGA football. This is not an Alabama /GA. Article. It’s about a Doggie RB. Go to the bamma blog … Or you can enjoy talking about our running backs …

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
8:17 pm

SugarHillDawg

April 17th, 2012
8:17 pm

Great, is he gonna drop half a second off his 40 time too??

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
8:31 pm

Sugar
Not really a Dawg fan are ya???

Rama-lama-ding-Dawg

April 17th, 2012
8:48 pm

BobWhite –
If you watched the spring game, you may have noticed a big increase in running from the power-I. All of Samuel’s carries came from the deep-back set behind a fullback. Hope it carries over into the season.

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
8:55 pm

Rama-lama
Samuel scared the crap out of the defense on those sweeps. I didn’t think I’d ever stop laughing. He looked awesome …

Dawg Haus

April 17th, 2012
9:03 pm

I love these kinds of stories- hard work pays off in the end. I’m a big fan of the artist formerly known as Boo and it’s nice to see him getting his shot. Go get ‘em, Ken!!

kybodawg

April 17th, 2012
9:20 pm

if carlton thomas had of been there we wouldnt of need malcvome to make those tough runs.

kingdaddy

April 17th, 2012
9:22 pm

Haus
He deserves an at-a-boy. I’m glad he chose to tuff it out. He has a chance to be a big part of something great in this years back-field. Ken is the real-deal and will punish some DBs this year and years to come. He’s a DGD…

CHDawg

April 17th, 2012
9:26 pm

BfromE, exactly right on TB being a strength and O line being the big unknown. However, I think we are very strong and deep at receiver. We add some nice talent in Scott Wesley and return talent in Wooten(from injury), as well as return Conley, Mitchell, King, Brown, Bennett, and several others. Mitchell, Scott Wesley, and King can fly; Conley and Bennett have great hands, and Brown is very tall…A whole lot of talent and speed in that list, but back to A: if we can’t protect Murray *a lot* better than we did last year, then they will be somewhat neutralized–and we graduated three starters off the line. They have their work cut out.