Freshman running backs already look strong for Dogs

Freshman running backs already look strong for Dogs

August 23rd, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports College08football

Georgia freshman tailback Todd Gurley goes through a drill in Athens.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray didn't hesitate earlier this week when asked which new players would provide the most thrills this season.

"Oh, our two freshman running backs, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall," Murray said. "They've had great summers, and they are two young guys who have followed the leadership of Richard Samuel and Ken Malcome. They are definitely going to get some stats for us and do some great things."

Wednesday's simulated half at Sanford Stadium was the third case in point.

Gurley tallied 54 yards and a touchdown on six carries as Georgia rallied for a 49-48 overtime victory over the scout-team that was simulating inaugural foe Buffalo. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt spotted the scout team a 35-0 lead and gave it a 67-yard gain to set up its first score.

"We had a barn-burner today," Richt said.

Freshman Faton Bauta, who is expected to redshirt this season, quarterbacked the scout team.

Gurley wound up leading the rushers in all three preseason scrimmages. The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder from Tarboro, N.C., has amassed 199 yards on 19 carries, or 10.5 yards a carry.

Marshall rushed three times for 17 yards Wednesday and had a 23-yard touchdown reception. The 5-11, 216-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., notched 15 carries for 90 yards (6.0 per carry) in the scrimmages.

Richt praised all his tailbacks and may not release a pecking order. Malcome had six carries for 50 yards, and the redshirt sophomore had 16 rushes for 117 yards (7.3 per carry) in the scrimmages.

Malcome started two of Georgia's last three games last season, the only starts the 6-foot, 224-pounder from Decatur, Ga., had all year.

"I'm pretty sure Ken Malcome is going to start, but something could change between now and then," Richt said.

Richt refused to name the starting safeties for next Saturday's opener, thus continuing to keep folks guessing as to whether All-America senior Bacarri Rambo is suspended.

Murray had a stellar showing in the simulated half, completing 20 of 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Marlon Brown had seven catches for 98 yards to lead all receivers for a second time in the preseason.

Sophomore inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera had a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown, while senior inside linebacker Michael Gilliard amassed a team-high four tackles.

The Bulldogs will go through a situational scrimmage today, which will include scenarios that may not have been covered Wednesday.