Should Richard Samuel IV be Tripped (again)?

From Seth Emerson’s mailbag:

With the recent enrollment of Keith Marshall and the recent commitment of Todd Gurley, Georgia looks stack at the running back position in terms of depth. Richard Samuel has been a team player ever since he stepped on campus. Do you think the coaches might try to switch him to fullback or to a h-back position.? He is a great blocker and can catch passes out in the flats if need be. I just do no see his getting much playing time next year as a running back.
– Patrick

This wasn’t the only question along these lines ….

How hard do you think it would be to switch from HB to FB for a guy like Richard Samuel? It didn’t seem to be a big deal for Figgins to go from TE to FB. I know TE’s block like a FB would, but still. I also know he’s already switched positions once, then back again, but FB is the place I think he could get on the field more. I think getting Samuel on the field is important and we are stacked at HB and hurting at FB. He’s also got the size and strength. How nice would it be to have the option to use him as a runner and receiver as well? 
– MoGA

I’m with both of you on this. Samuel has the size to be a fullback, and the need is greater at that position than at tailback. So I’ve been a bit surprised that Richt has been so adamant that not only is Samuel not moving there, but none of the current tailbacks are. (Ken Malcome has the size for it too.)

It’s always possible that Richt feels guilty about moving Samuel around so much that he doesn’t want to ask him to do it again. In that case, Samuel might be the one to force the switch – if he really wants to do it. I haven’t heard that he does…

Those are pretty common sentiments these days.  Maybe I’m just being a contrarian, but I’m not exactly convinced it’s such a hot idea.

And, no, I’m not saying that out of sympathy.  I’m saying it because I don’t see much in Samuel’s track record that suggests such a move would benefit the team.

First off, unlike Figgins, Samuel has never been asked to run block in Georgia’s offense.  So if you make the change, you’re asking him to learn another skill set in a relatively short time.  (And before you go down the “it’s not that hard to learn how to run block” road, do you remember what Georgia’s running game looked like last year?)  If it turns out that he’s not able to contribute much as a run blocker, what use is he at the new position?

Second, deployment at fullback doesn’t play into what strengths Samuel has as a rusher.  Granted it’s a small sample size, but in those games I can think of when he made himself an effective factor, he was a back lined up in an I-set who was given the ball with enough space in the backfield so that he hit the line of scrimmage with a full head of steam.  He’s not shifty.  He’s not one of those backs who’s at full speed after one step or so.  He’s a classic run between the tackles power back.  He can’t hit the line with the same kind of authority from the fullback position.

I’ve never felt that Bobo’s made the best use out of Samuel’s abilities.  The real shame of him getting hurt in the Florida game was that it was the first time since the ’09 South Carolina game that we saw a glimpse of what he could give when he was used correctly.  Richt’s  Dawgs are always going to need a power running game.  I’d rather see the effort put into finding out whether Samuel is the guy for that than throwing him into a new role simply because he looks the part.


Filed under Georgia Football

49 responses to “Should Richard Samuel IV be Tripped (again)?

  1. ScoutDawg

    Yep, and he DESERVES the chance to be THAT guy. DGD. Would love to see him be the guy in the NFL that we all thought TJ Duckett was going to be… Smashmouth.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Didn’t Richard get injured on almost the last play of the Fla. game?


  3. CharlotteDawg

    I don’t really know but honestly and callously I don’t think he should be toting the rock again, ever. You feel bad for the guy but the bottom line is for all his physical tools and hard work the guy is not shifty and goes down at first touch. If this was a pro team or Bama he’d have been cut because he can’t contribute and is more or less dead weight on the roster even with zero depth at the position which again underscores how little he can contribute. I will of course be grateful to him for his contributions in the Florida game but people quickly forget that A) Florida’s front seven was the exact opposite of physical B) he only averaged about 3 yards a rush and C) from my novice perspective any of the backs on our roster would have gotten those yards with the holes being opened up for the guy. i don’t doubt that the kids got a ton of heart and more frustrating for him and the fans: immense physical tools but just like in the movie Rudy, no amount of desire or heart is an adequate substitute for competence or ability. We’ve had three years to see this guy in action and I can remember at most a handful of plays where he excelled: the run at arkansas, the last few rushes against uf, and maybe Carolina in 09. I think that should be a pretty representative sample that the guy ain’t going to be a good running back, ever.


    • ScoutDawg

      Jeeze Dude drink a beer or something.


    • Dawgwalker07

      “I think that should be a pretty representative sample that the guy ain’t going to be a good running back, ever.”

      I think your post is a pretty representative sample that no one liked you in high school and you’re still bitter about it.


      • StirBaby's ManPiece


        I agree with you 100%. If we played against a team with a Richard Samuel in their backfield I would be ecstatic. Who needs a good run defense when your running back is blind, clumsy and soft?

        He’s worse than Tripp Chandler’s hands. EPIC Fail. To disagree is futile. He’s had more opportunity than any other back in the Richt era to prove he can do anything more than receive a handoff and fall down.

        Foreach of the five carries that he’s ever looked impressive, there are 10 that made you wish for Michael Cooper, to say nothing of Knowshon, Musa, Lumpkin pre-injury, Thomas Brown, etc.

        This experiment should have been over a long time ago. Bulk him up, and move him to right guard, it’s all he has the feet for.


      • Raleigh St. Clair

        He’s made very good points and all you can offer in response is a sophomoric personal attack?

        Maybe you’re bitter because you have realized that in the adult world no one cares how popular you were in high school if you’re a simple idiot.

        See how easy that was?


    • AthensHomerDawg

      You kinda like to beat that drum a lot.


    • Silver Creek Dawg

      He should have NEVER been a RB.

      Dude was a BEAST at LB and should have stayed there.


  4. LB

    Samuel runs too high up. Not good for fullback.


  5. Dang fellas–pretty harsh–what I saw in that last drive against Fla. looked pretty good to me-I say keep him where he is-with a little better run blocking he along with Boo will take the steam out of opposing defenses and make it easier for our faster shifty backs–dead weight ? give me a break -he is a DGD


    • Cojones

      Correct, and not a player to incur pity. Looks like some are setting up to disagree with Richt and Bobo for playing him next year. I pity those detractors. Some of you are just trying to get me to break my New Year’s resolution to pare back on the curmudgeon posts.


  6. russell

    Manpiece, i would agree Samuel is blind and clumsy but not soft. Yeah he goes down first contact but he will also deliver a lick. He is a DGD but let the competition begin. FB seems to be the best fit , except as a pass catcher.


  7. Spence

    Saying tripped and RS4 together is appropriate. While I appreciate him as a DGD, he almost invariably goes down on first contact. I rewatched the UF game and it was his best game (obviously) but the line (especially Bean) did a great job.

    Point being, I wish him the best but he is probably now the 5th best option at Rb. If he is better suited somewhere else, so be it.


  8. Turd Ferguson

    I’m torn. On the one hand, his 4th-quarter performance against Florida was truly special. And if there was any kind of guarantee that he’ll consistently perform at that level from this point forward, I’d say he should not only remain at RB, but that he should be the starter. On the other hand, of course, there is no such guarantee. And his OVERALL performance at RB last season leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. But then, I don’t think there’s enough reason to believe that he’d be good enough at another position to justify the move.


  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Well, he was switched, red shirted, and switched again for a reason – there are other players who do a better job than him. It’s not a question of whether we like him or appreciate his services – we do. Certainly can use his help on the special teams. Good coaches find ways for each player to contribute to his maximum potential.


  10. Rebar

    I disagree with any analysis that says Samuel is soft, or that he goes down at the first touch. Go back and look at the ’09 game against Carolina. Richard delivered some good shots to would be tacklers in the first half, but wasn’t used at all in the second half. The Florida game this year was another example of Samuel being selfless and a damn good dawg. He came to Georgia when he was 17 years old, and he has done anything that was asked out of him; moving to another position whenever he was asked to without complaining. In high school he played both running back and linebacker and has done whatever was asked of him by the coaches. Some of the comments above bother me that no one is recognizing his great heart and desire to serve this team in whatever capacity he is asked to. He should be part of the competition at running back, and no, I don’t think he should be moved to fullback. I do think he and his effort should be better appreciated.


  11. Cojones

    Turd says it pretty much as it is. I was ready to disagree with Blut concerning IV in the fullback position, but he added the correct assessment about the I Power formation for him to run out of. He shows the best power hitting the line that I have seen from a running back since Musa who made a living at it. I agree also that he should be in the starting lineup and think that Richt will place him there, not out of pity or appreciation for last year, but because he is a weapon.

    Charlotte, you are wrong about big open holes in the FU game. Sometimes the opening was no more than a small crease to get through and once in the backfield with a good head of steam, he punished some people just as Musa used to run. You need to take another look at the overhead cameras from behind on his last two runs especially. Beginning his run further back than the FB position allows is the right fit for him and hope to see him running downhill next season. There is a need for him in the backfield that will compliment other running back’s abilities when they run in tandem. Look for him as a regular fixture next year in a split backfield that interchangeably runs Marshall, Crowell and Gurley with him.

    Whoee! I’m getting excited about that lineup for a ground game that can beat some folks up even if the O line is not a complete piece of work. I figure the bugs can be ironed out by the time we play SC. That leaves us to get our act together for Mizzou, but that game will feature more Murray, Bennett and King to score enough to win because their pass D won’t be up to that bunch’s speed and prowess. The ground game with IV running downhill will benefit us more as the season progresses. Geeez!. I’m getting amped just thinking about it.


  12. Macallanlover

    I am pretty much up to completely trusting the coaches on this one. For a team that was down to their 6th and 7th string RBs for one game, and almost there for the GT game, I am just glad to have options.

    I love RS4 for what he has given to UGA, and hope some truly good happens for him, He is strong, fast, and athletic; hard to see how something didn’t work out for him but except for one huge play against Arky and one key drive against UF, it just hasn’t happened. Has to be a special place for DGDs like him….just not sure where.


  13. Cojones

    Don’t look now, but Sanders Comming was arrested this morning for domestic violence stemming from a public altercation with his significant other (last night) who was with other people. Hope it isn’t as stupid as that and there are extinuating circs, but that’s not a charge that commands public sympathy. It will be interesting to see how Grantham deals with it after Richt has his say.


  14. AthensHomerDawg

    Well…. I don’t envy the middle linebacker who has to make a living taking down DickSamIV after he has passed the line of scrimmage.


  15. Cojones

    Sugar Fallin says there’s a “rumor” that Mike Thornton,275lb DL is proposed by Richt and Bobo to be FB. Don’t know whether someone is just pushing him or whether this is true. Anyway, I like the alternate thinking and hope the FB for IV doesn’t come up again.


  16. UGAmutt

    Samuel should be used as a first and second down back out of the I in situational drives only. Other than that he should be a STs guy and a gunner on punts. He’s got more heart and guts than 10 Crowells, but his running style is awkward. Stiff as a board, high center of gravity, and he almost wobbles in the open. If he has an up back, he hits the hole with head of steam and keeps his legs churning, which is adequate. You can’t teach guys how to drop their hips, lean with balance, see the creases, or use patience to allow those holes time to develop. This guy either slams head first into a wall with his eyes shut or gets tripped by a fingertip tackle en route to the line of scrimmage. He runs like a frigging linebacker, I thought that’s why we moved him in the first place? Ask him where he wants to be…he’s smart and selfless, he’ll make the right call. I’d prefer his leadership and influence on Marshall and Gurley over Boo and IC any day.


  17. fishookdawg

    I agree with charlottte dawg. To me he needs to move to FB or back to inside LB. I hate to see him get moved around but to stay in one position he needs to show he’s the best at that position and to me he has not done that. He reminds me of Kinte Tripp. A guy with all the physical tools and lots of talent, but never put at the right position.


  18. UGAmutt

    Anderson,Kiante Tripp, RSIV, Nick Marshall, Blake Sailors…these guys are all whiffs by our coaching staff at evaluating talent and putting them in a place to succeed. Not encouraging when youre talking about a team next year that has the talent and schedule to compete for a NC.


    • AthensHomerDawg

      Help me out here with the whiff meme. You realize that evaluating talent is not a sure thing, right? Not like we are running out of scholarships each year, right? Have you seen our special teams? Do you know what a fine job Sailors has done there? AND HE’S A WHIFF???? “Don’t believe I would have told that…son!”
      “Blake Sailors joined his brother, Josh, as a WALK-ON player at the University of Georgia. Blake’s 4.28 forty helped him get a shot; he now starts on special teams for the Bulldogs”


    • Normaltown Mike

      Why is Nick in that category? Wasn’t he a true freshman this year? Where is the whiff?


    • BCDawg97

      Marshall’s been in the program for 1 year. Let’s not say whiff on him just yet.


  19. Reed this

    The fact of the matter is that RS4 brings something to the team. He should be used sparingly to either soften a D up at the beginning, or grind out the clock at the end, of games. He isn’t a 20-25 carry guy. He damn sure isn’t a FB. He is a CONTRIBUTOR and that is how he should be used.

    I love the guy. Love what he’s done for UGA during his time here. But if enough of our other RBs outperform him in spring and fall, he shouldn’t get 1 snap in a meaningful game. Throw him at the softies on the schedule (exception Buffalo…we need Marshall, Gurley, or whoever doesn’t redshirt to get their feet wet in that game) and rest the guys who have gone through the brunt of the SEC schedule for those soft games. Again, let him CONTRIBUTE…do not make him the focal point of the offense. He is not the answer at RB.

    This is not hate for RS4. This is opinion which has been formulated over the past 3 seasons watching him all-too-often underwhelm on the field.


  20. Chadwick

    I do not think Samuel is FB material. First, his pad level stays high. Second, he does not appear to have good balance. Last, he has never been a blocker at the point of attack. It is easier said tthan done. I like Samuel, and he has sacrificed a lot for his team, but he is not a fullback. He should remain at running back and be used downhill, between the tackles. In that capacity he is a load.


  21. Scott

    We are not stacked at running back. Given the normal course of injuries and suspensions, We will need all of these guys next year.


  22. Will Trane

    Fullback. Just why in hell do you have to have a full back? Answer that question Patrick and Emerson. Question arises for them only because of the current projected numbers at running back.
    Would the OC guru be able to design, coach, game plan, and game manage a two back set where there is not this lineup…center, qb, fb, tb. Everytime if hear this set, I think of a “V”. With the personnel of 2011, just how productive was that. You limit the gaps and running lanes. To be very successful you had better have so very good interior linemen and depth to run out of that play after play in the SEC. Think of Bama and LSU.
    And how ofter does Georgia run with a “H” back? For thought, go back to Auburn a few years…the year they won 13 games and did not get an invite…seems they had two very good running backs. Do you recall how they employed them…sometimes put them on the edge. Now think of that long run against BSU. Where did the runner line up and how he went in motion. I’d say if you get Crowell or Marshall in a run gear just prior to the snap you create alot of lane across the field, put a defense on its heels for a sec, get them out of position,,,and with those two guys skills…well you just may not need a FB per se for blocking.


  23. “I’ve never felt that Bobo’s made the best use out of Samuel’s abilities.”

    Unfortuneately, I can use that statement on a whole slew of players more often than the contrary…