Georgia ‘wins’ practice game; Malcome likely starter at tailback

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday he's "pretty sure" sophomore Ken Malcome will get the start at tailback in the Bulldogs' season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday he's "pretty sure" sophomore Ken Malcome will get the start at tailback in the Bulldogs' season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt was having way too much fun with this whole “practice game” theme on Wednesday. He excitedly announced that the Bulldogs’ “won” Wednesday’s scrimmage at Sanford Stadium 49-48 over “Buffalo” in overtime.

That may sound somewhat distressing to UGA fans until they realize that Georgia played just one half and its traveling squad spotted the scout team (aka Buffalo) 35 points. Also, one of the Bulls’ touchdowns came after Richt placed the ball on the Georgia 11-yard line.

“But we could have stopped them or forced a field goal,” Richt said with a grin.

Fictional scores aside, Wednesday’s “dress rehearsal” scrimmage was an important component in the Bulldogs’ preparation for the Sept. 1 season opener. Georgia went through their entire pregame routine, including bussing to the stadium and playing under all the constraints of a regular game, with a working clock, referees, substitutions and live kicking.

“To be honest, it was like a real game,” said senior wide receiver Marlon Brown, who led the Bulldogs with 98 yards on 7 catches. “We left from the Butts-Mehre, went to the stadium, went to the locker room, did the team and individual warm-ups, listened to Coach Richt’s speech and went out there and played. It’s good because it’s Georgia versus somebody else instead offense against the defense all the time.”

It was a closed scrimmage but UGA’s Sports Communications staff kept statistics. According to them, quarterback Aaron Murray had a huge day, completing 20-of-25 passes for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Freshman tailback Todd Gurley was the leading rusher for the third straight scrimmage with 54 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Sophomore Ken Malcome added 50 yards on six carries, freshman Keith Marshall had three for 17 (with a 30-yard TD called back due to a holding penalty) and Richard Samuel had three for 10. Marshall and Michael Bennett each had touchdown catches and Georgia had no fumbles or interceptions.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were led my linebacker Mike Gillard with 4 tackles and Amarlo Herrera had 3 stops and returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown.

“I didn’t like that they got spotted so many points,” Herrera said. I don’t like seeing 48 points up there from anybody; that’s way too many. Nobody’s scoring 48 on us.”

Richt said “Georgia” had a chance to win in regulation. But freshman place-kicker Marshall Morgan missed a 57-yard field goal, his only attempt of the day. Murray scored the winning touchdown on a two-yard quarterback sneak.

“But it was kind of unfair I guess because they can’t tackle me,” Murray said.

“Buffalo” scored on its ensuing overtime possession but lost the game when on the attempted two-point conversion.

“It’s always fun to go out in Sanford Stadium and play and go through the whole routine, do all that,” Murray said. “It was fun. I thought it was a great day.”

Malcome likely starter at tailback

Richt was hesitant to discuss the pecking order of the tailbacks or which one might start the opener. But after some cajoling he admitted to reporters after the scrimmage that Malcome most likely will get the nod against Buffalo.

“I’m pretty sure Ken Malcome is going to start,” he said. “But something could change between now and then.”

Richt said he might not make an announcement until the night before the opener and then it may be only to the team.

“I don’t know for sure,” he said. “I even haven’t talked to the staff yet about how we’re gonna do it. Even when we do that I doubt I’ll announce the thing because I don’t even want them to know. I want them to keep fighting and competing. We’ll tell them the night before the game maybe.”

Informed after the scrimmage that Richt was leaning toward starting him, Malcome was unmoved.

“I mean, it’s not that I don’t care,” he said. “That’s what I was already thinking anyway. But I’m gonna keep pushing. I’m not going to let that one little statement go to my head.”

For what it’s worth, here are the tailbacks’ rushing stats in the three scrimmages: Gurley — 19 carries for 199 yards with 4 TDs; Malcome — 16-117-1;  Marshall 15-63-1; Samuel 9-50-1.

This & that . . .

Richt said he was misunderstood and did not close the rest of the Bulldogs’ practices this week because he was mad at the media.”If anything I’m mad at myself,” he said of having a competition period opened Tuesday in which reporters saw Marshall get shaken up on a hard hit.  Richt said only Thursday’s “situational scrimmage” at Sanford Stadium is off-limits. There will be designated media observation periods as per normal routine for Friday’s and Saturday’s workouts. . . . Though the Bulldogs’ starting lineups are pretty much set for the opener, Richt wouldn’t say who the starting safeties are going to be. All-American free safety Bacarri Rambo is thought to be suspended for the opener but Georgia hasn’t made an announcement to that effect. Same for starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.

193 comments Add your comment

Gamecock in Georgia

August 22nd, 2012
8:53 pm

WOW!!!
I’m impressed.

godawgs

August 22nd, 2012
8:53 pm

Gamecock in Georgia

August 22nd, 2012
8:59 pm

no dumb dumb

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
9:05 pm

No turnovers, GATA…

DahlonegaDawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:06 pm

Go Dawgs! Looking forward to a successful season

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
9:08 pm

Chip
Who was on the scout teams???

We Run the East

August 22nd, 2012
9:09 pm

It’s Buffalo. Definetely start your veteran- keep tradition. Not like UGA will be challenged in this first game.

Uga

August 22nd, 2012
9:11 pm

Come on gt fans and start ranting lol. Dummies

claytondawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:15 pm

Sorry, but YAWN…nothing to see here, YET. Ken Malcome at running back? ohhhh, I don’t know about that. I think we’re going to see something different as the season progresses.

PerroGrande

August 22nd, 2012
9:16 pm

No injuries mentioned! Awesome. Sounds like they are having fun. Hey Gamecock, good to see Lattimore is back up to speed! Great RB. Sounds like we were pass heavy on the yardage, but decent on the runs, too. Can’t wait to see how we do…Vamos Perros!

JB

August 22nd, 2012
9:16 pm

Malcome starting ? No surprise. Hope it’s by merit, but with Richt, that’s not always the case. His loyalty to under performing Assit. Coach’s is legendary, but playing players ” who have been in the system and earned it” over maybe a younger player who’s looked better….or is better, is a Richt trait. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad one, it just keeps you at 10-2 and the Capital One Bowl every year playing Michigan St. Just look at our place kicker last year. Did that young man from Calif. on our roster get a chance during that awful season to step in and be our kicker ? No. Worried about ” feelings” is holding this program back.

MODERATOR

August 22nd, 2012
9:17 pm

ATTN: facebook.com/AjcUga is now open for fans of the AJC UGA sports blogs. It is an open facebook group. Anyone can join and post, and obviously, names and faces will be attached to comments now. Comments can still be posted here on the ajc.com site directly but the facebook page is going to be the place for real fans of UGA and others with anything to contribute can and will be allowed to have their voices heard. Go Dawgs.

Joe

August 22nd, 2012
9:20 pm

Guess from “outside the arena” it made sense to redshirt Knowshon Morenon.

Why in the world would Gurley not be starting?

PerroGrande

August 22nd, 2012
9:23 pm

Dawg Fans, let the coaches do their job. They want to win.

PTCDAWG

August 22nd, 2012
9:28 pm

I think this low injury situation is directly due to this team, with a purpose, reporting to camp in good condition. It helps to have a great leader, like Jarvis Jones, making sure everyone is on the same page!

satxdawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:35 pm

Maybe gurley not starting because he hasn’t played a lick of real sec football . Running in pre determined scrimmages is not the same as playing in a game with 90k screaming fans. He will get his chance to take the top dawg spot when the season start . I can assure you if he perform in a real game like in practice he will be the starter . I swear dawg fans find any and every thing to cry about ..go dawgs 9 more days !

Joe

August 22nd, 2012
9:47 pm

Dawg fans find something to whine about because they had to sit through the miserable 2006 season while Knowshon Moreno collected dust on the sideline.

Malcome is a good 3rd team SEC back. Does not have elite speed or quickness.

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
9:47 pm

Start Malcome/Sam., first series. Gurley or Marshall/ Hall , second series. Marshall or Gurley/ Hicks, third series. Harton or Kremp/ Ogletree in 4th quarter. Keep mixing it up till someone “sticks-out”, then start them at Missouri…

Toccoa Dawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:47 pm

PTCDAWG, well put. We haven’t seen true leadership like this since the Davids were at UGA.

Dawg89

August 22nd, 2012
9:48 pm

How do they find guys to be on the scout team? Who wants to be the designated crash dummy? I know some of them are redshirts but I still hope they treat those guys with a lot of respect.

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
9:51 pm

Haters::::::20-25::::::: no ints., no fumbles. Where are all the haters and whiney babys???

Toccoa Dawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:52 pm

kingdaddy all the techies are still playing with their ps3’s or xboxes

GriffingDawg

August 22nd, 2012
9:54 pm

FACEBOOK.COM/AJCUGA? Awesome!!!

Dawg Fan

August 22nd, 2012
9:57 pm

JOE, FYI…..Herschell was 3rd in line as a freshman in the opener against Tennessee behind McMickens and Norris. Gurley and Marshall will get their chance soon enough.

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
9:59 pm

89
Did you catch the article on Geoff Rapp? Excellent walkon. A former Marine who did a tour in Afganistan. He was probably on scout team at LB/WR, 6′2″- 210. Great kid. I read it in The Savannah Morning News, but it was also in Athens Banner. Real good read…

Russell Hall

August 22nd, 2012
10:03 pm

Henry

August 22nd, 2012
10:06 pm

This is going to be a great season! Defense looks good, offense looks better than expected, and these guys are hungry!

living in the past (yawn...)

August 22nd, 2012
10:11 pm

i knew H.Walker….and none of these RBs is H. Walker. ….

TDawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

9 days. Sounds like the Dawgs are really rounding into shape. Doesn’t matter who starts and all I’ve read Malcome has earned it. I’m real excited about the receivers and the passing game. If you’re not fired up right now you are not much of college football fan. We’re undefeated well coached and deep on defense. This team can win some games. Let the big Dawg Eat!!

Henry

August 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

@ Living in the past, we don’t need a Herschel Walker..all we need is a back that protects the ball, runs hard, and picks up first downs.

Birddawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

I can’t wait to yell “Boo” at the game. Cheering for “Boo” Malcome that is!

Larry Von SockThroat

August 22nd, 2012
10:15 pm

facebook.com/ajcuga it’s about time!!!! LIKE THIS PAGE

Henry

August 22nd, 2012
10:18 pm

“I didn’t like that they got spotted so many points,” Herrera said. I don’t like seeing 48 points up there from anybody; that’s way too many. Nobody’s scoring 48 on us.”

FEROCIOUS!!! I like to hear this. I don’t expect teams to score more than 21 against this defense all season long. They should be that good to hold teams in the 10-17 range.

TDawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:18 pm

Good call Birddawg. That will be fun. Hope he runs with the power I am expecting. I think he will be very good.

Henry

August 22nd, 2012
10:20 pm

I’m okay with Ken Malcome starting. He’s a hard runner and was the best running threat we had against LSU in the title game. Gurley and Marshall will get their carries as will Samuel. Samuel can be used for 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2 situations because whose going to stop that truck (6′2, 243 lbs) charging full steam ahead?

bardawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:21 pm

Methinks it’s a brand new world (season)in Athens this year. Looks like the everyone’s attitude is nothing but positive! Can’t wait to see how things shake out this year. I,like all dawg fans, am hoping for something really special.Go dawgs, sic’em!

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
10:27 pm

I guess neither Hutson or LeMay played…
Bravos pull good win. Go Braves…

A. Bishop

August 22nd, 2012
10:32 pm

I just hope that the coaches play the best guy at each position no matter how old they are.

Brainiac (CMR/UGA Fan For Life)

August 22nd, 2012
10:35 pm

@ Joe:

Had you been paying attention you would know that Gurley has made a couple of long TD runs but aside from that he is averaging around 2 yards per carry, isn’t completely familiar with the UGA offensive system and could be a liability on pass blocking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kingdaddy

August 22nd, 2012
10:37 pm

Like to see the rest of the stats. Any catches by tight ends or fullbacks? How did Hall & Hicks play? Lynch just block? Rome still out with hammy? Where did Corn play, DE OR OLB? Any special-teams notes besides missed 57 yd. FG? Punts avg.? No Sacks? Maybe an update???

just a fan

August 22nd, 2012
10:39 pm

I have a set of season tickets in the 300 section for sale if interested please contact me at fantasynfl3100@yahoo.com

Dawg48

August 22nd, 2012
10:41 pm

Kingdaddy, go check out dawgs247. Free articles up on the practice.

Bernie Matt

August 22nd, 2012
10:42 pm

Murray threw 25 passes and they only played a half of football! UGA is in trouble, all this fuss about the depth at RB and Bobo the clown is dead set on pretending he’s calling plays at BYU or the old Houston teams with Andre Ware. What a joke! When is someone in charge going to wise up and make Grantham the Head Coach.

Lawdawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:44 pm

No A Bishop the coaches play the worst player because they wan’t to lose. Of coarse they play who they believe is teh best player, and it doesn’t necesarily come down to statistics in a a scrimage.

holla

August 22nd, 2012
10:46 pm

kingdaddy….go to you tube and watch CMR comments. All stats are there. Sounds like the Dawgs may finally play like they are capable of

Mobile Dawg

August 22nd, 2012
10:48 pm

kingdaddy, I guess we will have to wait to see if Richt and Bobo have become any more imaginative in their use of the tight ends, fullbacks, misdirections, shuttle’s, etc. Wouldn’t it be grand to run an offense where the defense really didn’t know what to expect?

Fatdawg94

August 22nd, 2012
10:53 pm

I guess Rambo and Ogletree are definitely out for the 1st game, didn’t even see there named in the stats. I just hope it is not four games for each.

Fatdawg94

August 22nd, 2012
10:55 pm

I guess Rambo and Ogletree are definitely out for the 1st game, didn’t even see there names in the stats for today’s scrimmage. I just hope it is not four games for each.

I-DOG

August 22nd, 2012
10:56 pm

JB,

Georgia didn’t actually go 10-2 and play Michigan State EVERY year. Sometimes they won the SEC and played in the Sugar Bowl or went 9-3 and played another opponent. Malcome is not a Richt favorite. He was sort of in the dog house his first season and didn’t have the work habits yet. Last year he was hurt with a nagging injury all Spring and through much of the first half of the season.

Gaining 4 extra yards in this scrimmage over Malcome isn’t a reason to start Gurley in the first game. Obviously, Gurley has some talent and is picking up the system well. I’m sure Richt feels more comfortable with Malcome and if Gurley gets 3 carries against Buffalo, then we have a problem. If Malcome gets 12 and Gurley gets 9 or 10, then Gurley has plenty of opportunity to gain confidence and show his teamates and coaches what he is capable of and he will get more looks the following week at Missouri.

tony

August 22nd, 2012
11:19 pm

Ken Malcome should of been the starter last season but his complaining cost him playing time.

http://youtu.be/ElzCj8Jq_v0

Ken is not a speedster but he will pick up several yards after contact and will wear down opposing defenses with his power. His style of running keeps the clock moving while the defense catch it’s breath.