Bulldogs are ‘definitely going to play’ freshman tailbacks Gurley, Marshall

You can count on seeing freshman tailback Keith Marshall in action early and often this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

You can count on seeing freshman tailback Keith Marshall in action early and often this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS — Whether or not they’ll start anytime soon is uncertain, but freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will definitely play extensively this season. Georgia coach Mark Richt made that clear after Friday’s practice, Georgia’s 10th of the preseason.

“I’m not afraid to play them,” Richt said. “We’re definitely going to play them. It’s just a matter of how much.”

Gurley said he’s not surprised to be in position to play his first season. He was one of seven freshmen who play offense who were available for interviews for the first time on Friday.

“They told me to be ready to play,” Gurley said. “But, you know, it depended on me, how well I picked up the system and how I came out whether I was redshirted. . . . I’ve just kept doing what I’ve been doing and I’ve picked up the system pretty good.”

Gurley is currently running third team, though Richt said Georgia has “co-No. 1s” in Ken Malcome, Richard Samuel, Gurley and Marshall. Gurley led all the running backs with 58 yards on six carries and a 40-yard touchdown in the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage.

“I had a good scrimmage but I made a lot of mistakes and I know could have done a lot better,” Gurley said. “But the line went out there and opened some holes for me and I found some space.”

While Gurley had a breakout performance in the scrimmage, Marshall has shown consistency and big-play capability. He also has been with the Bulldogs since January and therefore has a strong understanding of the playbook and how things work in general.

“I think it helped me a lot,” Marshall said of going through the spring. “Academically it helped me a lot to get ahead of everybody else. I’ll probably be able to graduate after my junior year. So it’s definitely helped me.”

Marshall and Gurley were both highly-touted recruiting prospects from North Carolina and surprised many when they decided to attend the same college. But Marshall said that was their intention all along.

“We wanted to go to the same school. That’s part of the reason we both ended up here,” said Marshall, who shares a room with Gurley, Faton Bauta and John Theus. “It’s been great so far. We’ve been together a couple of months now and everything’s been great.”

Both players expected Isaiah Crowell to be in the fold this fall, so they’re not bothered by the crowded depth chart.

“We can really make each other better,” Marshall said. “Especially in the SEC, rarely does one guy carry the load. Trent Richardson had Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy. Everybody needs more than one back to get the job done, so that’s not something we’re worried about.”

Theus in position to start

Of Georgia’s 17 signees in the class of 2012, John Theus appears to be the only one virtually assured of starting in the season opener at this point. The 6-foot-6, 309-pound freshman from Jacksonville, Fla., a former 5-star recruit, has been working with the No. 1 offense at right tackle since the first week of preseason camp.

“I don’t know if I’d name him the starter right now, but he’s definitely lining up No. 1 at right tackle,” Richt said Friday. “He’s getting better every day. He’s got a ways to go but John’s getting there.”

Theus was one of seven offensive freshmen made available for interviews for the first time on Friday. Theus was humble and unassuming when asked about the prospect of starting.

“Me and Watts [Dantzler] are alternating at right tackle and we’re both busting our butts out there,” Theus said. “Xzavier [Ward] as well. This is my first camp, so it’s a grind. It’s my first time out here with the big boys, so I’m learning each day and just trying to get better.”

Dantzler, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound sophomore from Dalton, opened the camp as the starter at right tackle. In the spring, that spot belonged to Kolton Houston, but he remains ineligible due to the presence of an NCAA banned substance in his system.

Now Theus appears solidly entrenched with the No. 1 offense. He has taken the first snaps at right tackle every day this week.

“I come into film and I see a lot that I need to work on every day,” said Theus, who played at The Bolles School in Jacksonville. “It’s a different level out here. It’s just a lot of work and I’m just giving my best like everybody else.”

O-line coming together

The rest of the lineup on the offensive front seems settled, with Kenarious Gates at left tackle, Dallas Lee at left guard, David Andrews at center and Chris Burnette at right guard.

“They’re beginning to jell and play well,” Richt said. “I think Watts certainly has a still chance to compete for a starting position. He could play tackle or guard, which is good. Overall, those guys are improving.”

OL Hunter Long out for 6-8 weeks

Sophomore offensive lineman Hunter Long became the first serious injury casualty of preseason camp when he suffered a broken foot Friday morning. According to trainer Ron Courson, surgery will be required to repair the fracture and Long will be sidelined six to eight weeks. Long was working as a backup at both center and guard for the Bulldogs.

Drew misses 6th practice

Defensive end Ray Drew remains sidelined with a concussion and when he might return remains unknown. The sophomore from Thomasville has now missed six practices.

“When a guy has a concussion he has to get where he has no symptoms and then we begin to exert him away from practice to see if that causes any issues,” Richt said. “If he can do that without any more issues it won’t be long before he gets back to having contact situation in practice. I’m not sure if [he’s] even asymptomatic right now.”

This and that . . .

Marshall is in the competition to return kickoffs, along with Branden Smith, Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Richard Samuel. . . .Freshman fullback Quayvon Hicks said he’s now down to 260 pounds after reporting to camp at 270. He said he weighed 245 when he enrolled in school in June. . . . Of Georgia’s 17 incoming players, only quarterback Faton Bauta appears assured of a redshirt year. Offensive lineman Greg Pyke, defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Blake Tibbs could possibly redshirt due to depth at their respective positions. . . . After eight days of camp, Richt’s goatee remains intact.

MORE GEORGIA COVERAGE

98 comments Add your comment

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
6:06 pm

I will not be posting on here other than this….JUST SO YOU KNOW. Someone likes to post things for me lately. But I did read the artice.

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
6:22 pm

That’s not me up there,this is the real me.

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
6:24 pm

Dang,two imposters.

fan

August 10th, 2012
6:24 pm

Who cares, 24-20

Augusta dawg

August 10th, 2012
6:34 pm

Three weeks from tomorrow. Can’t wait. NFL preseason is like an appetizer. Backs are going to be good which will help Murry. GATA.

Augusta dawg

August 10th, 2012
6:36 pm

Unlike Crowell, which I was disappointed with because he was so talented, these two young pups don’t seem to have those character issues. Sorry to disappoint you sunny.

Russell Hall

August 10th, 2012
6:37 pm

Honey Badger don’t care.

Destin Dawg

August 10th, 2012
6:43 pm

Tampa Gator.. this is UGA article… Floriduh has newspapers last time I checked.. Muschamp is an unproven D.C. where Texas did not do well.. now you got him !!! gators go 5 and 6 no bowl game THIS year !

bucket

August 10th, 2012
6:46 pm

Who didn’t know that? Barring injury these guys were playing after Crowell’s stunt. And Augusta Dawg is correct that Gurley and Marshall are entirely different guys from Crowell. After last season the UGA coaches knew they may need to take 2 rb’s in the last signing class even if that meant offending Henry (which it apparently did) because there was no confidence on the staff that Crowell would still be around for this season (and he’s not.)

Destin Dawg

August 10th, 2012
6:50 pm

this is going to be our year… SEC champs… with Todd Grantham’s shut down defense.. the offense will get good field position… Oline coming together… Go Dawgs !!!

Carew Rowell

August 10th, 2012
7:07 pm

Does anybody believe we can block somebody this year?

sandiegodawg

August 10th, 2012
7:23 pm

glad we got that last minute CMR goatee update

DawginLex

August 10th, 2012
7:40 pm

Sonny

Reporter asked Marshall about all the off field stuff. His response? “I will not be getting into trouble.” in other words he nicely told the reporter to shut up and move on.

I would suggest you do the same.

Destin Dawg

August 10th, 2012
7:43 pm

Any player or coach at Georgia is much better than any player or coach at Florida will ever be. Our waterboy was a number one recruit and Florida’s waterboy is a girl. Gators can’t even swim. Bulldogs can. I have seen them swim.

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
7:49 pm

@Destin Dawg/Tampa Gator imposter…….

I came on here only to read the article and to warn people that you would be on shortly posting as me….which you did twice…and which you have done when I have not posted on blogs (Georgia blogs or not). I will post as you from now if you do not stop trying to represent me on these blogs….but it will be difficult for me to post the same silly, juvenile things that you post….but I will try.

glad to hear it

August 10th, 2012
8:21 pm

I’m glad to hear the O-line is looking better or getting better. Thats the key for us as with any team. Can we please, for the love of god, quit talking about Crowell? The boys who are on the team as of today are the ones who we will go to battle with come labor day weekend. Crowell is yesterdays news. Move the F on. I realize a lot of Tech and Gaytor fans like to come on the UGA blogs and post negative posts to stir the pot, so to speak. But true GA fans are ready to get behind this team and let the chips fall where they may. Get the hell off this blog if you arent a uga fan. we dont need the negativity and neither does this team. This coaching staff has gotten rid of the bad apples. Can anyone name me a player that is on the team that causes anyone to worry? Crowell is gone, Jarvis is the badass of the bunch and no one wants to cross him. I dont think we have to worry about anyone getting in trouble for a while. Richt and company have made it clear what will happen if someone F’s up. I’m on board boys…….let go get a SECC!!!!

kybodawg

August 10th, 2012
8:40 pm

i wonder if tryan mathew will enroll at ala. state

Vance Duly

August 10th, 2012
8:47 pm

Well, this set of comments is off to a roaring start….! Bad news about Long. Hopefully, we’ll have at least 8-9 linemen who are healthy and able to block consistently this year, for a change…. Then, maybe Coach Bobo will get as far as Page 3 of the playbook. I’ve heard that the screen passes, fullback runs, 8 yard pass routes for 3rd & 7, and toss sweeps show up somewhere in the playbook! GO DAWGS!!

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
8:49 pm

Sorry everyone for my paranoia lately. I have been under a lot of stress and need a vacation. My Gators will be tough this year and will make a run at a National title. You can take it to the bank baby!

Grantham's The man!

August 10th, 2012
8:52 pm

Sounds good to me! Glad to hear good news about the Ga O-line.

I really like the idea of Keith Marshall returning kicks! That kid will take it to the house!

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
8:52 pm

Oh yeah, and I was FIRST!

nobody

August 10th, 2012
9:21 pm

Destin Dawg- I thought Mrs. Richt was the watergirl? And Lochte was a gator. BTW Im a georgia fan.

Destin Dawg

August 10th, 2012
9:45 pm

I am a Georgia fan but I am really a FSU fan. No I really a Bama fan. No I am a Georgia fan. No I am a FSU fan. No really am a Georgia fan. No I am really a Bama fan. No I am a FSU fan. But I really like the Georgia waterboy over the Florida watergirl. Really I do because I would love to steal her identity as well so I can replace my schitzoild identity.

Destin Dawg….you really want to do this? (at 8:49 and 8:52)

Tampa Gator

Auburn cheating big surprise NOT

August 10th, 2012
9:45 pm

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn freshman running back Jovon Robinson is being held out of practice while the NCAA investigates allegations that his high school transcript was falsified.

Athletic department spokesman Kirk Sampson said Friday that Robinson’s academic status is being reviewed.

Memphis City Schools said in a statement that NCAA officials contacted the school district Tuesday regarding allegations involving a former Wooddale High School athlete. The statement said schools superintendent Kriner Cash ordered an immediate investigation and that a school guidance counselor resigned after admitting to creating the fake transcript.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported the allegations Friday.

The statement did not identify the counselor or the student.

“Know that the District has clear and strict policies and procedures regarding student transcripts,” the school district statement said. “Academic fraud is not and will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and accordingly.”

Robinson was one of Auburn’s top prospects, and had a chance to contribute in a backfield trying to replace starter Mike Dyer. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder is easily the biggest of Auburn’s tailbacks and would bring a physical presence to the backfield if he’s eligible.

Messages left by The Associated Press at the school were not returned.

Emails sent to guidance counselors, head coach Keith Spann, assistant football coach Michael Collins and the school principal, Michael Kyle, were not returned.

A phone number listed for Spann was disconnected.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
9:55 pm

I like turtles because they do not judge me!

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
9:59 pm

I wish everyone would quit picking on me! All I try and do is share my extensive sports knowledge with the masses. Instead, I have people assume my identity and post under my name. It is not fair and I am getting angry and you won’t like me when I get angry! So, please, give me back my identity!

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
10:01 pm

Techster, I also see that Tech players did not beat any of their inflatable girlfriends! Well what do you know?

TDawg

August 10th, 2012
10:14 pm

TG, does this mean Tech girlfriends are deflated at their boyfriends performance

Tampa Gator

August 10th, 2012
10:19 pm

The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract. A mathematical function called the wavefunction provides information about the probability amplitude of position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle. Mathematical manipulations of the wavefunction usually involve the bra-ket notation, which requires an understanding of complex numbers and linear functionals.

TDawg

August 10th, 2012
10:20 pm

21 days. I think this team will be very good. Lot of questions on offense but a lot of depth as well. If a couple of these backs can be solid chain movers we could be great. Go Dawgs

jj

August 10th, 2012
10:21 pm

Two words. Knowshown and Moreno.

T2go

August 10th, 2012
10:25 pm

Getting pumped!!! That D is gonna be a brick wall!!!! Just need to keep em off the field…hopefully these running backs can help with that. Sounds like Bobo and Richt are ready to shoot the lights out. My concern is quick scoring leaves the D no time to rest…Whatevs…Its always fun watching these guys! Love my Dawgs!!!! Can’t wait.

I hope they give Mizzou a proper welcome to the SEC……BIGTIME!!!

Bobo & Richt (as deion & Terrell)

August 10th, 2012
10:41 pm

Bobo–Ohh they gon play–

Richt–At what level??

Bobo–A HIGH level!!

Richt– I dont need em at 70% or 80%

Bobo–Eat mo chicken, its gonna be a show!!

Grantham's The man!

August 10th, 2012
10:53 pm

There’s alot going on in the state of Alabama about now.

The NCAA is again investigating Auburn, that didn’t take very long at all. It’s just a hop skip and a jump to Tuscaloosa. The real drama is watching to see which Alabama school get’s caught first.

I wonder if Vagas has a betting line on that. What’s the over- under? 3 years bowl ban and 15 scholarships?

Dawg Haus

August 10th, 2012
11:06 pm

Can’t wait to kick it off! Go Dawgs!

Hunker Down!!!

August 10th, 2012
11:29 pm

FEAR THE GOATEE!!!

D Fence

August 10th, 2012
11:38 pm

All ye big uns line up and all ye little uns bunch up, cuz the dawgs are about to whip some a..

zbulldawg

August 11th, 2012
12:51 am

NAW ! you really think the freshman RB’s from NC is really going to play after every thing we went through last year & the start to this year ! BRILLIANT obversation ! And know this WILL be the best & deepest OL UGA has had in a decade !! So get ready you big mouth cry babies CUZ it’s coming & it’s coming REAL HARD & LONG AS IT TAKES !!! GETUSUM

Hmmm...

August 11th, 2012
2:07 am

Seems as tho Mark Richt has lost control of Tampa Gator..

Hmmm...

August 11th, 2012
2:09 am

and also the Honey Badger.. and the Orlando Magic..

Hobnail Boot

August 11th, 2012
7:21 am

Gurley and Marshall = Worley and Henderson. Will they be better? I think so. GOOOO DAWGS!!!

tony

August 11th, 2012
7:22 am

K. Marshall doesn’t strick me as a young man who will challenge or oppose Mr Richt’s football decisions so he shouldn’t have any trouble seeing the football field. I’m not sure about Gurley.

Players will not play if they oppose Mr Richt’s football decisions even if they can help the team win football games.

I believe at some point Z. Mettenburger, W. Ealey, I. Crowell, C. Thomas and K. Malcome all oppose Mr Richt football decisions. Heck, Ken Malcome is clearly a better rb than Richard Samuel but didn’t play against Boise St, SC and he only played 5 minutes in the 4th quarter against LSU.

I think Ken Malcome now realize that if he want to see the football field, he has to except whatever decision Mr Richt might make concerning him. We will see very soon how good Ken Malcome really is – that is if he doesn’t defy Mr Richt’s football decisions.

Arrested Development

August 11th, 2012
7:51 am

Have UGA’s incoming freshmen had a tour of the local jail yet as part of their orientation?

They can pick their favorite cell and go ahead and do the preliminary paperwork to save time when they’re arrested and booked later.

Mark Richt thinks of everything, doesn’t he!

LogicalUS

August 11th, 2012
8:55 am

Welll geez this is news?

Of course these two HS kids are going to play when you are in the dismal shape that UGA is at RB they have to try these two kids in order to have any running game at all.

UGA ranks nearly at the bottom of the SEC at RB ahead of possibly Ole Miss\Ky. Heck even Vandy is better at RB than UGA.

Amazing that could happen since the UGA beaners assure everyone that they have gotten the #1 recruiting class for the each of the past 20 years?

Mark Richt's Goatee

August 11th, 2012
9:08 am

I think we still find a way to punt to the Honey Badger.

gomdawg

August 11th, 2012
9:22 am

Remember the days when we had Worley and Henderson as true freshmen.Sounds like history in the making .GO DAWGS

Destin Dawg

August 11th, 2012
9:29 am

TDawg…..

I did not and would not make that kind of comment about Tech or anyone else. To let you know….AND THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE……I have (for the first time) reported this comment and you actions to the AJC by clicking on the REPORT THIS COMMENT. I informed them of your inapproriate and offensive comment using my name and I hope they will do something ahout your repeated actions of stealing and misrepresenting me on these blogs…..and finally doing it in an offensive way to both my character and my posting name.

Tampa Gator

August 11th, 2012
9:34 am

Sorry…..I addressed Destin Dawg previously at 9:45pm in a post (using his name but clearly identifying myself in the post) and I forgot to change the name back to Tampa Gator. The false Tampa Gator (which I believe to be Destin Dawg) posts repeatedly in my name and does not identify himself……and in this case….did so using inappropriate language that is offensive to me as the real Tampa Gator.

@TDawg….

I did not and would not make that kind of comment about Tech or anyone else. To let you know….AND THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE……I have (for the first time) reported this comment and you actions to the AJC by clicking on the REPORT THIS COMMENT. I informed them of your inapproriate and offensive comment using my name and I hope they will do something ahout your repeated actions of stealing and misrepresenting me on these blogs…..and finally doing it in an offensive way to both my character and my posting name.

WDE

August 11th, 2012
9:54 am

@Tampa Gator hold the line TG having someone swipe your handle is annoying but it will pass, I had a guy swipe mine during the year of the Barn, but I don’t think that bandwagon will be filling back up anytime soon. Like what I’m hearing about both these young TB’s , but the proof is on the field and I for one can’t wait to get back to the States and college football, after spending a good portion of the summer out of the country I have a greater understanding of what our men and women in the armed forces go thru…this suxs without anyone shooting at you…thanks to all the vets and serving members !

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

August 11th, 2012
10:02 am

Georgia’s young tailbacks sound like the perfect snack for an experienced SEC defense. Bon Appetite!!!!!