UPDATED: Pecking order in Georgia’s backfield appears unchanged

MORNING PRACTICE UPDATE

Updated with comments from coach Mark Richt . . .

ATHENS – Todd Gurley’s standout performance in yesterday’s scrimmage did not appear to alter the pecking order in Georgia’s offensive backfield.

Take it for what it’s worth, but Gurley was still running as third-team tailback when the Bulldogs went through drills early in Thursday’s practice. Gurley, a 6-foot-1, 218-pound freshman from Tarboro, N.C., was Georgia’s leading rusher in the first scrimmage of the preseason on Wednesday. He had 58 yards on six carries and scored on a 40-yard run.

When the running backs were doing drill work with coach Bryan McClendon Thursday morning, the rotation stacked up like this:

  • First team — fullback Merritt Hall and tailback Ken Malcome;
  • Second team – fullback Richard Samuel and tailback Keith Marshall;
  • Third team – fullback Quayvon Hicks and Gurley.

Again, it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. It’s pretty clear that all six of those players — plus Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis, too — are probably going to see action for the Bulldogs this season.

“They’re really rolling like they’re all co-No. 1s,” coach Mark Richt said. “It’s not like the Nos. 3 & 4 on the depth chart only get reps wit h the second team. WE’ve been repping everybody. The top couple of guys haven’t gone with the 2s.”

Malcome had 32 yards on five carries in Wednesday’s scrimmage, Harton seven for 25, Karempelis four for 15 and Marshall seven for 11. Coach Mark Richt downplayed statistics from the scrimmage based on the varying circumstances and lineups.

Murray on ESPN with Pollack

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and former Bulldog All-American linebacker David Pollack on Wednesday taped an edition of ESPN’s “Inside the Program” on campus. The segment is set to air duringon Thursday’s Sports Center.

Pollack and Murray discussed the ins and outs of the quarterback position, with Murray demonstrating skills including throwing the fade.  Inside the Program is airing all this week on ESPN.

Pollack will serve as an analyst for ESPN’s Thursday Night Football in 2012 and will return as a host on ESPN’s College Gameday.

Injury report

Cornerback Branden Smith was in a green, non-contact jersey due to a shoulder contusion but was participating. Another new addition to the injury report was tailback Brandon Harton, who sat out with a hip contusion. . . . Fellow DB Damian Swann (neck) also remains in green. . . . Players who remain sidelined include DE Ray Drew (concussion), safety Marc Deas (hamstring), outside linebacker Dester Morant (shoulder) and tight end Hugh Williams (hand).

Richt’s “shout out” for Branden Smith

Richt opened his post-practice remarks Thursday by saying he wanted to give a “shout-out to Branden Smith.” He said the senior cornerback has stood out throughout preseason camp and going back to last spring really.

“He has been making plays every day. He’s playing with a lot of intensity every rep,. He l;ooks like a senior trying to lead out there. He doesn’t say much. He just plays hard and makes plays. Ive been really happy with what he’s been doing. He’s stood out. It just seems like something good has been happening with his play.”

Richt was asked if he thought Smith’s exemplary play could be connected to his recent announcement that Smith would not miss playing time despite his March arrest for marijuana possession. Smith accepted pretrial intervention in that case and passed UGA and court-ordered drug tests, so Richt wave the 10 percent competition suspension usually employed for marijuana-use violations.

“He’s known for a little while that he was going to play,” Richt said. “But I think to have it come out in the public probably was a boost for him and his family. But, you know, he had a great spring, too. He’s just practicing really hard. And he had his best summer by far from what the boys were commenting on. His stamina has been better throughout practice, and hopefully it will be throughout the season as well.”

O-line shows improvement

Asked for any insights he was able to make after reviewing video of Wednesday’s scrimmage, Richt said he liked what he saw from the offensive line.

“The No. 1 unit played very well I thought,” he said. “The No. 2 unit had some moments where they put it all together. . . . I saw guys individually getting better. So I think that group’s coming along.”

Some other observations from Richt:

On punt and kickoff return . . .

“The problem with kick return and punt return is we really haven’t gone live where you could say this guy is doing better than that guy or whatever. They’re catching punts in prepractive warmups and drillwork. The closer we get to the game we’ll have more opportunities to put them under a little pressure. Right now we haven’t gotten that far yet.

On place-kicking . . .

“Right now I would say that Marshall Morgan is our extra point and field goal guy. That’s what I’d say.”

187 comments Add your comment

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:08 am

bucket

August 9th, 2012
11:09 am

I don’t think it is odd for Gurley to have earlier success than Marshall considering his body type. I also don’t have a problem with the coaches making him earn a higher spot in the pecking order.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:10 am

And second???

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:12 am

Dang you bucket…

Jax Falcon/Dog Fan

August 9th, 2012
11:16 am

I really hope someone begins to establish himself as the definitive number one at tailback. Running back by committee almost always points to deficiencies in the offensive line.

Dawglasville

August 9th, 2012
11:16 am

It is waaaaaaaaaay to early to worry about the depth chart right now. We all know that Richt’s backs have got to pass protect and that is the hardest thing to learn.

truedawg

August 9th, 2012
11:17 am

well give it 3 more weeks…I see Boo starting the game. By the second half it’ll be all Gurley and Marshal. After that first game you’ll see the real starter come out for the Mizzu game. I don’t care, just put the best players on the field!! GO DAWGS!!!

Keith

August 9th, 2012
11:18 am

Lets just hope the o-line grows with Marshall and Gurley.

BC

August 9th, 2012
11:20 am

Gurley produces 10 yards a carry, and doesn’t move up the lineup??? I really do not understand how UGA doesn’t reward productivity with more reps. It’s not a merit based system. This is why top producing tailbacks like Ealey & Thomas get so frustrated with UGA they end up transferring.

Good to see Malcome in the first pairing, he seems to deserve it so far. No sure why Marshall and Samuel are in the 2nd pairing at this point based on their performances in the scrimmage.

VADAWG

August 9th, 2012
11:20 am

ol wins games……dl wins championships ……… that is all i want our head coach to know????!!!!!????

Matt

August 9th, 2012
11:20 am

Wasn’t Zander Ogletree slotted as a fullback? Is he injured? Turned out to be a scrub?

Skoggy

August 9th, 2012
11:21 am

First! or not? Glad to see Gurley Blowing up!

Eisendawg

August 9th, 2012
11:22 am

Cloonan, you should write a letter to McGarity suggesting he allow you to coach the team from your keyboard. I’m sure with your vast SEC coaching experience, you have a much better grasp of the proper way tp coach the Dawgs. While you’re at it, you might want to contact Frank Wren also, cause I’m sure you can do a much better job than Fredi. lol

Pecking order can and will change all year

August 9th, 2012
11:25 am

These young men working at the running back position or any other position know the the pecking order can and likely will change all year, due to performance or non performance and injuries, etc.

The athlete’s job is to go hard as they can. Many kids lay low in practice like Boo Malcome did last year and just give in thinking that so and so will play ahead of me, so why work?

He learned that injuries, and benching and such can change the pecking order rapidly, SO they better prepare mentally and physically to start.

This is the message of the coach. Position coaching is so important. I sure hope that UGA is staffed by quality guys that will soon be called away from UGA to be HC or Assist HC and not just stay here like a jobs program for static coaches.

Go Dogs.

bucket

August 9th, 2012
11:26 am

Sorry kingdaddy. I almost said “first!” and thought better of it! CMR knows his job is on the line this year. If it becomes obvious over time that Gurley is the best back, he will be the main guy. I always laugh at the posts from people who say that someone is clearly better than someone else, but the coaches just refuse to let them play. Yeah, like the head coach just wants to lose so he can quit making 3 million a year! C’mon man! Gurley just arrived on campus in June and yesterday was the first freaking scrimmage for crying out loud! Let’s at least let the team get through preseason camp before we start anointing starters.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:26 am

Chip, I’d like to see CMB hit Karempelis with some more swing-passes like he did in the spring game. He’s got good hands and does pretty good after the catch…

bwell

August 9th, 2012
11:26 am

What ever happen to Alec O’tree lil brother playing FB. Is he still with the team or what?

Jax Falcon/Dog Fan

August 9th, 2012
11:27 am

BC

August 9th, 2012
11:20 am

Gurley produces 10 yards a carry, and doesn’t move up the lineup??

First, these stats are “unofficial practice stats”. Secondly, take Gurley’s long run out and the rest of his ypc is very pedestrian. Real game stats will tell the truth soon enough.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:29 am

LOL,bucket, we’re always good bro…You are one DGD…

Eisendawg

August 9th, 2012
11:30 am

If my memory serves me correctly, the greatest back to ever play college football did not start the beginning of his first game. But, he sure made a bang when he did get in there! Have no fear, the cream will rise to the top.

bucket

August 9th, 2012
11:31 am

@ BC – if you really believe that is why Ealey and Thomas ended up transferring, then you need your blogging privileges revoked. I just love how people come on here and talk about Ealey and Thomas and others like they were model citizens who got screwed over by the UGA coaching staff. Thomas was suspended for 3 games in one year! Ealey was suspended multiple times before he left. I hope those guys have grown up and I wish them the best, but they have no one to blame but themselves for what happened at UGA.

GTBob

August 9th, 2012
11:33 am

Cornerback Branden Smith was in a green, non-contact jersey at practice

What shade was the green? He didn’t try to smoke it did he?

bucket

August 9th, 2012
11:37 am

GTBob – keep making jokes about a young man that has tested clean for drugs repeatedly over the last few months. He came straight back to Athens after the incident in Alabama and tested clean then also. Real classy throwing stones at young men from behind an anonymous keyboard.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
11:40 am

Chip ,anyway to know who is running against 1st, 2nd, 3rd team D? Are they working on the edge or running inside only or both? Is Jay Rome playing? Any 2 tight-end sets? Sorry for all the questions, but I want to see a change in our offensive philosophy this year. I’m so afraid we’re practicing two up the gut and a bomb —punt,punt,punt…

GTBob

August 9th, 2012
11:40 am

Real classy throwing stones at young men from behind an anonymous keyboard.

If he wants to drop by my office I will be happy to tell him in person the negative ramifications of drug use.

BC

August 9th, 2012
11:44 am

Ealey according to ESPN asked for a transfer because he felt like he had earned the right to be the premiere back with his 11 td season and his 5.4 career yard per carry average at UGA. Thomas averaged 4.95 yards per carry, while Samuel got 2.9 yards per carry, yet Samuel got more carries than Thomas, easy to figure out why Thomas also asked for a transfer. Hope we start rewarding top performers like Gurley, and learn from past mistakes, or expect more transfers.

bucket

August 9th, 2012
11:45 am

Since no one knows where you work GTBob, how bout you just drop by the practice field in Athens and tell him yourself. BSmith will be much easier to find than an anonymous classless blogger. I’m glad we don’t live in your kind of world where people are jailed and suspended even though they pass a drug test.

Dawg Fan24

August 9th, 2012
11:46 am

Cloonan- So the coaches should make the depth chart based on what they see in one scrimmage and just forget about all they have seen in all the spring practices and all the practices so far this season. Being a 3rd stringer Gurley was going against the 3rd string defense while Marshall being a 2nd teamer was going against the 1st team defense. You are obviously a biased idiot and I just hope you are actually a fan of another team and not the Dawgs. Richt has done and continues to do a great job and this alumni is glad we have him.

Frank Lane

August 9th, 2012
11:47 am

Gurley had a 40 yard touchdown, which means that his other 6 carries netted 17 yards less than 3 per carry like the other backs. Plus he is running behind Hicks the monster fullback. No reason to change the lineup yet.

AirForce1

August 9th, 2012
11:47 am

23 days until kick off! Go Dawgs! Missouri game scares me a little.

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
11:53 am

bucket — what about your world where drugs are in the car when a person gets pulled over, but only 1 person in the car was smoking it or knew it was there!!
If the exact same scenario involved a player from Bama player, you’d never take the side of Player — of course as we all know it would never happen @ Bama since Saban has every Officer in the State, including the ones that are Aubie fans, in his back pocket.

Destin Dawg

August 9th, 2012
12:00 pm

Missouri game at night in Columbia will be HUGE !!!! win that one and we’re off to the SEC Champs… Spurrier has lost it… Muschamp is just not H.C. material.. weak as D.C. at Texas.. Go DAWGS.. 3 weeks !!

GTBob

August 9th, 2012
12:00 pm

I’m glad we don’t live in your kind of world where people are jailed and suspended even though they pass a drug test.

His car smelled like pot. A cop searched it and found pot. He pled guilty for possessing pot. Some how this leads to UGA fans arguing that he doesn’t smoke pot.

DawginLex

August 9th, 2012
12:03 pm

Apparently Marshall morgan is now well ahead of Lindley according to Richt

AltamahaDawg

August 9th, 2012
12:05 pm

“Coach Mark Richt downplayed statistics from the scrimmage based on the varying circumstances and lineups.”

Raise you hand if you read that and thought it must be irritating as heck, to know he needed to explain that to some of the folks who call themselves football fans.

Now raise your hand if that was intended for you.

AirForce1

August 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

@ Destin…thsoe Mizzou fans will be pumped. UGA has to come out swinging in that game!

Ghost

August 9th, 2012
12:07 pm

BC , Thomas didn’t transfer he’s still at UGA and not playing football. Ealey was not going to get the carries , he was lazy and afraid of competition. He could’ve transferred anywhere , but Ga Southern didn’t want his attitude and no other ACC or SEC program expressed any interest. He also could have opted for NFL daft after last season, no interest from them either.

UGABob

August 9th, 2012
12:07 pm

I’m just thankful my kids are at UGA and not Tech. They actually go on dates with real live girls that are not inflatable, they have quality friends instead of a pack of nerds and they can go to football games where their team actually will win most of the time and the cheerleaders are lovely to look at.

AirForce1

August 9th, 2012
12:08 pm

@ AltamahaDawg…your right. Everyone getting thier feathers ruffled over a few practice’s.

DawginLex

August 9th, 2012
12:09 pm

UH, BC

Carlton Thomas is still a student at Georgia

Your whole rant about Ealey and Thomas is another EPIC FAILURE

bitter 6TH MAN ON THE "o" LINE

August 9th, 2012
12:10 pm

HICKS is like running behand a D-6 BULLDOZER—-at 50 I could gain 5 yards a carry, Mark Richt has stolen a diamond amond diamond’s

Hicks will prove to be the best running back with all factors considered

———————-IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL————–

AltamahaDawg

August 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

Is that the same world that Derrick Crudup live in?

dwagdawg

August 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

all this talk about pecking order…didn’t realize there were so many peckers around here….

GTBob's Parole Officer

August 9th, 2012
12:13 pm

Bob, give it a rest. Although you know the ramifications of drug use better than most, you aren’t quite ready for the lecture circuit. How’s the new ankle bracelet fitting?

Dawg4life

August 9th, 2012
12:15 pm

Will you all stop whinning about which order there in! Were you there? Did you see the schemes? Ray charles can run thru a scout team D and everyone who has ever played knows that. His stats ont mean crap until its in a real game.

GTBob

August 9th, 2012
12:15 pm

I’m just thankful my kids are at UGA and not Tech.

I don’t know your kids but I am thankful as well. Hopefully they get their life together after college.

WDE

August 9th, 2012
12:16 pm

All in all a good report , no major injuries and while I’m glad to see John Theus is coming along not sure I like the fact he could crack the first team OL this quickly..unless he is really the Hulk.

bitter 6TH MAN ON THE "o" LINE

August 9th, 2012
12:18 pm

@ UGA Bob—-DUDE lighten up on bashing TECH—they are in the ACC FOOL

BOTH GA TECH AND UGA are fine football programs, and as a GEORGIAN IM

———DARN PROUD OF BOTH SCHOOLS—–NOW YOU GOT MY —PTSD bother-in me

Banjoman

August 9th, 2012
12:19 pm

Gtbob squealls like a pig

Stanger

August 9th, 2012
12:21 pm

Thomas will go play some where else next year. He want’s to get his education at UGA then worry about football.