Boy, could the current state of Georgia’s receivers versus running backs be much different now?
The first week of preseason basically confirmed what we already knew here, which is that Georgia is simply loaded at tailback. Todd Gurley, first of all, is reportedly ready to roll and in the best shape of his college career (that’s per Bryan McClendon). For now, there’s no reason to push Gurley’s workload in the preseason.
But the competition behind him could be a heating up a little, as each of the five-star freshmen have shown some strong signs already. There were behind-the-scenes rumbles of Sony Michel really impressing in practice last week. Nick Chubb evidently saw it and raised with a starring role in Saturday night’s scrimmage. Additionally, Keith Marshall has been full-speed ahead coming off knee surgery, and you’ve still got Brendan Douglas competing hard.
So it will be fascinating to see how the Bulldogs will choose to divide up carries when the games start. Again, that’s a very good problem for Georgia to have, but we’d advise you to not assume anything beyond Gurley being the No. 1 option if healthy.
At fullback, Quayvon Hicks‘ move to tight end (though he could still play fullback if needed) has left little question that the job of lead-blocking fullback is Merritt Hall‘s to lose this preseason. Walk-on Taylor Maxey has done some good things and could be pushing for a backup role in certain situations.
In what seems now a familiar trend for this unit, no other area of Georgia’s team right now looks tp be as banged-up as the wide receivers. Malcolm Mitchell remains out for now after minor knee surgery right before camp. Justin Scott-Wesley has been working in a limited capacity at practice, but he’s not all the way back from last fall’s major knee surgeries. Chris Conley has been limited at practice this past week. Charlie Hegedus has also been out with what is believed to be a minor ailment. Freshman Shakenneth Williams wasn’t practicing Friday, and Jonathon Rumph reportedly missed the scrimmage with an unknown issue too.
So … all these absences surely hurt the offense’s firepower during the scrimmage and have made evaluations difficult while already testing the depth at a position that needed to get deeper from last season and appeared to have done that. Blake Tibbs, Reggie Davis and Kenneth Towns look to be benefiting from extra reps at the moment, while freshman receiver Isaiah McKenzie‘ rapid emergence became one of the stories of the first week of practice.
The good thing, of course, is that the big names on the receiving corps should heal over the next few weeks. But right now it’s easy to see how Bobo might be tempted to go with a heavy dose of the run early on.