‘Boo’ Malcome first up but, freshman backs ‘ready to give fans what they want’

Ken "Boo" Malcome's steadiness and consistency since the end of last season earned him the start at tailback to open this season. (UGA photo)

Ken "Boo" Malcome's steadiness and consistency since the end of last season earned him the start at tailback to open this season. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – Ken Malcome will start at tailback for Georgia in today’s season opener against Buffalo. But he’s not the player 90,000-plus Bulldogs fans Sanford Stadium are clamoring to see.

That would be the two dynamic freshmen from North Carolina, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

But Malcome earned the job fair and square. His consistent play and tough-running style earned him the nod over the two newbies and grizzled veteran Richard Samuel. But the Bulldogs could not be happier for him for Boo — freshman dynamos included.

“I’m very happy for Ken,” said Marshall, a five-star prospect who was rated the No. 1 running back by ESPN and 24/7 Sports. “I love that dude. He’s kind of like a big brother. He looks out for me and Todd and makes sure we know everything, so I’m happy for him. I hope he does well.”

Said Gurley: “I knew that Ken was the starter coming in. Just to be in the running for the starting position was good with me. That’s my teammate. I love all those guys, and we’re not selfish at all. So congrats to him. Seriously.”

It was Gurley and Marshall that were garnering most of the headlines in preseason camp. Gurley had nearly  twice the rushing yards (199) and touchdowns (4) of the other tailbacks (Malcome 117-1, Marshall 63-1, Samuel 50-1) during the Bulldogs’ three preseason scrimmages. Throw in his dreadlocks and No. 3 jersey and teammates soon were comparing him with former Alabama star Trent Richardson.

Marshall was no slouch either. He averaged 12.4 yards per carry in Scrimmage No. 2, and senior linebacker Christian Robinson was still raving this past week about the “juke move” he used that sent two defenders falling to the ground.

But those inside the Bulldogs’ locker room also say Malcome deserved the start.

“I’m excited for Ken,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “He finished the season off strong last year, had a great offseason, a great summer and he has done a tremendously good job in camp. I know he was pumped up when Coach announced it last week. He was ready to go.”

Said coach Mark Richt: “I’m really proud of him. … The book on his career hasn’t been fully written, but at the rate he’s going, if he continues to progress like he has, it’s going to be a wonderful story.”

A lot of people are rooting for Malcome these days. His story is well-chronicled.

Disgruntled over the lack of playing time, he abruptly quit the team last September. Richt said good-bye, but before he did he told Malcome he could come back if he changed his mind — and his attitude.

“I asked him if we had really seen the best Ken Malcome and he ought to show himself his best and then decide what to do,” Richt recalled. “… I told him that if he wanted to come back, I wanted to see his best, not only in the field but also in the classroom and everywhere else.”

That ended up being a pivotal conversation for Malcome. He came back less than 48 hours later, and he returned a different person.

“I’ve matured,” Malcome said. “You still have problems, but maturity shows you that you’ve got to keep going, and that’s what I’ve been doing. That’s why a lot of things turned around for me.”

Malcome’s turnaround began late last season. The tailback position was weakened by injuries and suspensions. By default, he got his first start in November against Georgia Tech. He finished with only 39 yards rushing on 12 carries, but helped salt away a victory with several hard runs in the fourth quarter.

Malcome also started against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. He got lost in the pass-happy shootout, but finished with a team-leading 51 yards on 12 carries. He’s still waiting to record his first career touchdown.

Malcome said he was as nervous as he’s been in his life before the Tech game last year, but less so for the bowl. As for Saturday, it’s hardly registering a blip.

“I’ve been here three years and I know the offense now, so it shouldn’t affect me,” said Malcome, who was named the team’s most improved offensive player after spring practice. “I’m pretty comfortable this time around, and I think people will see a difference in the way I play.”

But Malcome realizes the excitement in the Bulldog Nation is over the two newbies. He’s excited, too.

“I’ll tell you what, they’re way ahead of where I was as a freshman,” Malcome said.

And they’re every bit as eager to show their stuff.

“I’m definitely looking forward to my opportunity,” Marshall said. “I’m going to try to make the best of it. I’m going to make sure I know what I’m supposed to do and play 100 percent every play.”

Said Gurley: “I’m just ready to get out there and let the fans get what they’ve been waiting for. Hopefully we can give them what they want.”

MORE ON TODAY’S GEORGIA-BUFFALO GAME:

38 comments Add your comment

Just a thought

September 1st, 2012
5:50 am

Maconbulldog

September 1st, 2012
5:58 am

This young man has been waiting for awhile now. Yes he did “quit” for like 24hours and within 24hrs had a some soul searching to do. I am happy he came back to grind it out. GATA Ken.

Maconbulldog

September 1st, 2012
6:01 am

48hrs……sorry

Left Coast Dawg

September 1st, 2012
6:14 am

….and he didn’t say FIRST…..wow!

Left Coast Dawg

September 1st, 2012
6:23 am

So today we’ll get more than just a peek-a-Boo :-)
I couldn’t resist!

CHDawg

September 1st, 2012
6:23 am

I have been high on Malcome since the beginning of last year. One guy on here “accused” me of being his dad because he didn’t see the talent. Malcome isn’t Herschel; he reminds me a little of bit of a Danny Ware/Marcus Lattimore type back–big, strong, enough speed to hurt you. Malcome has good vision, but the thing that is outstanding about him, like Lattimore, is his body lean and balance. Malcome came in several games and pushed piles with 5 defenders. If he stays healthy I look for him to have his breakout (100+) game against Buff or Missouri. The confidence will do a lot for him, the coaches, the team and the fans. Oh yeah, the line could have a small impact, too! I’m excited to see the freshmen and RSIV also. Go Dawgs.

We Run The East

September 1st, 2012
7:11 am

Big deal, this is a preseason game.

Augusta dawg

September 1st, 2012
7:24 am

4 hours 57 minutes gata 

Homepage | MrSEC

September 1st, 2012
7:37 am

[...] 3. Running back Ken “Boo” Malcome quit the team last fall.  He’ll start today at tailback. [...]

ATLNTA

September 1st, 2012
8:26 am

-All the best Ken and your team mates
-May we have a good season.
=God bless ya all
=Thank you

SSG Desert Dawg

September 1st, 2012
8:34 am

Sorry, Chip. I’m just as excited to see what KM24 can do as I am to see TG and KM4. I would love to have 3 great backs pounding away at defenses all year long. #GATA

And?

September 1st, 2012
8:39 am

What a change from the selfish bozos we had just a few years ago! Go dawgs!!! Run baby run!!! :)

BG

September 1st, 2012
8:58 am

NCDawgfan

September 1st, 2012
9:00 am

Can’t wait!! Love to see Boo ground and pound. Let’s see the DAWGS get after it and shut up those ESPN announcers who are already proclaiming the VOLS the team to beat.

NCDawgfan

September 1st, 2012
9:01 am

….and then next week go shut up those obnoxious Mizzou fans. Sick of those idiotic videos and the trash talk.

RiffRaff

September 1st, 2012
9:14 am

Maybe this is the season we have a consistant running attack. Would really help the play-action pass and keep the defenses honest.

7576DAWG

September 1st, 2012
9:24 am

I don’t think anybody will care which of the three run the ball as long as the one who is playing doesn’t fumble or go down when a 180 pound safety touches him with one hand. If he is fighting for that extra yard he will do okay. Malcome always had great potential but the only question was his attitude. Richt is patronizing him a little by starting him but since he has proven he has changed his attitude and has worked real hard he is being rewarded, as it should be. Malcome is more likely not to miss a blocking assignment unlike the Freshman.
After saying that , you will see a better running back in Marshall and especially Gurley. The reason everybody likes them is because they came into the program with the right attitude to begin with , which is a refreshing change from all the self center running backs that we have had the last few years. It won’t take long for us to see for ourselves which running back deserves to be out there.
It will be fun to see a fresh back in the third and fourth quarter , I hope that our offensive line will have the depth to still be able to open the holes late in the game.

t2go

September 1st, 2012
9:26 am

HERE WE GO!!!! Rolling downhill like a 400 lb. ball of meat cleavers!!!! Go DAWGS!!

mike addington

September 1st, 2012
9:30 am

I hope the new guys have the toughness Malcombe has. He’s a ballplayer for sure. And I wish Richard Samuel would run wth the fire he had in the Florida game. He looked like someone had said something ’bout his mama in that game. He was determined we weren’t going to lose. Shame he got hurt on last play of game. No telling what his season would have been like had he not. Oh well. Should have, would have. I’d like for CMR to show the entire team a film of Samuels gritty, angry-attitude running in that FL game and see what determination looks like. GO Junkyard DAWGS

I-DOG

September 1st, 2012
9:51 am

why is the countdown clock for the game on the AJC website incorrect? Everything else I read says the game starts a little after 12 Eastern Time. The AJC has the game kicking off over two hours later?

I-DOG

September 1st, 2012
9:55 am

AJC game clock has the game starting at 2:21 Eastern. Can they really have wrong on this website with their countdown clock? It is almost 10 AM Eastern time and the countdown clock shows the game starts in four hours and some change. That would be about when the fourth quarter will start.

Columbus

September 1st, 2012
10:20 am

Its going to be a GREAT year Dawg fans! Really great barring any key injury. The SEC Championship game SHOULD determine if we get a NC shot….

I have never seen the football program in as good shape for future years as it now and Ive seen over 30 years….Richt is hitting his prime and we might get 2 or 3 shots at the NC.

WDE

September 1st, 2012
10:32 am

Well after watching the game hens struggle vs Vandy and Tenn beat the devil out of the Wolfpack things are going about like I thought . That is to say not according to the script..I thought UT was going to struggle and the game hens cruise. I am hoping for a win today and hopefully no injuries,no predictions of 49-0 just a play a solid game let the O-line gell some, let the backs get some game day experience the D get in some good hits..and let the Big Dog Eat! Go Dogs!

Wallace Butts

September 1st, 2012
10:33 am

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

WDE

September 1st, 2012
10:38 am

@Wallace Butts that would be funny as heck, if it wasn’t so true…well done!

ARdawg

September 1st, 2012
10:44 am

It’s GREAT to be a Georgia Bulldog!

WDE, I said earlier, The Vols and Florida are going to beat some people this year. The East isn’t a given or a duck walk. I don’t think the chickens will be in the mix though

Wallace Butts

September 1st, 2012
10:45 am

Wish it were my quote. I think that it was Will Rogers or maybe Mark Twain.

ARdawg

September 1st, 2012
10:48 am

Wally

That was a Will Rogers quote. He is also credited with “All I know is what I read in the newspapers”

WDE

September 1st, 2012
10:51 am

@ARdawg Amen ! @Wallace Butts Google says it was Mark Twain you still get the style points, ya’ll have a great day and Go Dogs !

ARdawg

September 1st, 2012
10:52 am

Ah Twain, I stand corrected. Rogers does have the latter quote though

Wallace Butts

September 1st, 2012
10:59 am

WDE-Thanks for the Google. We aren’t paying too much attention because we are waiting for the kick-off and can think of nothing else!

Tampa Gator

September 1st, 2012
11:05 am

WDE…..speaking of misinformation………

The two best propaganda organizations in America……..FOXNEWS AND NBCNEWS. Still….the best way to educate yourself today……less TV, newspapers, and internet,……..and more books and self critical thinking activity without outside influrence……oh…..I forget……that is not the American way anymore.

Anyway……none of us can get too excited or too down by what happens today against tune up teams….unless our teams lose today. But Tennessee fans have to be fired up today. South Carolina fans have to be very concerned about their offense (looked like the Gators from last year). And Bama fans have to be a little anxious right now. Enjoy the games…..college football is back! GO SEC.

Tampa Gator

September 1st, 2012
11:08 am

P.S……..I wonder if Dooley would have kicked “DaIdiot” off the Vols if he did not have Patterson on the team. Boy…..that kid is special. Scary special.

Tampa Gator

September 1st, 2012
11:11 am

……….and I wonder if Patterson would have met entrance requirements at any other SEC school?……probably not…..except for Ole Miss……as Ole Miss and Tennessee were the only two schools that would have accepted Dante Phillips after his entrance was denied at Florida (he is on the Vols’s roster). Just saying……since Patterson commitment on signing day was such a surprise..

kingdaddy

September 1st, 2012
12:00 pm

Tamp,
With the Mainstream media and Hollywood” in the tank” for our current POTUS, Fox News serves as a checks and balances. Your backhanded shot at Fox News just shows your lack of respect for opposing opinions. Watch MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, or Current T.V. and tell me honestly how “Fair & Balanced they are, lol. When every Network is leaning to the left, there is only FOX NEWS TO COUNTER BALANCE THE NEWS. You may not agree with them, but name another “Conservetive Network? Just ONE??? It’s called freedom of speech ànd if some had their way, there would only be one political party. Welcome to USSA…
BTW, Good Luck with Bowling Green…

Tampa Gator

September 1st, 2012
12:22 pm

kingdaddy….

Suggest a re-read of my post for you……and maybe a little less watching of ALL the news networks.

kingdaddy

September 1st, 2012
12:57 pm

Tamp
I read a lot of diversified sites and issues. You dodged my statement. I guess you think the best defense is a good offense. It’s no big deal either way. I served my country for your right to have your own free opinion. We’ll leave it at that. I wished your team well and I’m enjoying the game, how about you???

kingdaddy

September 1st, 2012
1:57 pm

Sloppy end to the half. Lynch makes good hit. Booing, really…Conner Shaw will destroy this defense. Glad we will have our starters back. This is why UGA needs to run the ball and keep their offense off the field. I love the passing game, but it lets their offense back back on the field too quickly. So far, UGA does not look like a #6 ranked team. Defense not ready…