Contributed Photo Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey stretches for yardage against Kentucky.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia has a rich tradition of tailbacks that includes Garrison Hearst and Knowshon Moreno, but none had rushed for five touchdowns in a game until Washaun Ealey in last Saturday's 44-31 win at Kentucky.
"I'm going to try and put that behind me," Ealey said. "We've got to keep moving forward. We've got a lot more football to play, so I'm not going to dwell on that."
The Bulldogs even had a running back named Herschel Walker who never had five scores in a game.
"Yeah, I hear that name a lot," Ealey said with a smile.
All of Ealey's touchdowns were from within 3 yards, but the 5-foot-11, 215-pound sophomore from Stillmore, Ga., was busy all over Commonwealth Stadium, rushing 28 times for 157 yards. Ealey left the game in the fourth quarter with what coach Mark Richt said Wednesday was a bone bruise in his right knee, but he returned to rip off a 41-yard gain.
It was the second consecutive 100-yard game for Ealey, who was benched after committing costly September fumbles at South Carolina and Mississippi State and received just one carry Oct. 2 at Colorado.
"He's been improving each week since he came back and got another opportunity," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "He's running harder and hitting the hole harder, running through tackles and not being as picky looking for that perfect run. He's hitting the hole like he's supposed to, and I think we've improved running the ball because of that."
Ealey has practiced this week but has been held out of contact drills as a precaution. He is teaming again with junior Caleb King, who rushed for 100 yards at Colorado but missed the past two games because of a suspension.
Bobo said having the two tailbacks back together is a good problem and that King is eager to get back in the mix. A starter had not been named as of Wednesday evening.
Running the ball against Florida this Saturday in Jacksonville could go a long way in determining the outcome. The Bulldogs have surpassed the Gators on the ground once in the past four meetings, with that occurring in 2007, when Moreno rushed for 188 yards in Georgia's 42-30 win.
The Bulldogs will enter with momentum, having rushed for 409 combined yards the past two weeks. They will face a rested Gators defense that includes end Ronald Powell and tackle Sharrif Floyd, two of the nation's top five signees this past February.
"The thing most impressive about Florida's front is that they're playing about nine guys," Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels said. "The kids they've got playing in there are athletic, and they've got size and strength. Some of those freshmen were highly recruited kids, and you're going to know their names.
"When we're studying film, we'll check out who's playing what and where. You see those kids. They show up."
Odds and ends
Severe weather Wednesday forced the Bulldogs to practice inside for 90 minutes. ... Richt said sophomore cornerback and punt-return specialist Branden Smith, who has suffered two concussions this season, has been cleared to play and will see action.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...