Georgia tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall bolted out to such impressive college careers two years ago that they were quickly morphed into "Gurshall" in honor of Bulldogs legend Herschel Walker.
They made it known before last season that they had grown tired of the "Gurshall" label, and their time as a tandem gets more increasingly distant by the day. While Gurley has rushed for 329 yards and 9.4 yards a carry through Georgia's first two games, Marshall has seven carries for 10 years on his road to recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October at Tennessee.
"It seems like every time he has gotten the ball, there hasn't been a lot of space," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday in his weekly news conference. "He hasn't had room to go anywhere. Sometimes it's the luck of the draw when you get the ball handed to you, but sooner or later there is going to be some space for him when he gets it, and I think he'll do well.
"He's ready to go. Is anybody 100 percent after an ACL injury when they're just starting to get going?
Marshall, a 5-foot-11, 219-pound junior from Raleigh, N.C., had six carries for 8 yards in the opening win over Clemson and one carry for 2 yards in last Saturday's loss at South Carolina. His lone rush against the Gamecocks was late in the second quarter, after Gurley already had nine carries, freshman Nick Chubb two and freshman Isaiah McKenzie one.
Richt says there is no pecking order behind Gurley.
Chubb has eight carries for 104 yards (13.0 per carry) through two games, while fellow freshman Sony Michel has 10 for 51 (5.1). Quayvon Hicks has five carries for 44 yards (8.8) as a fullback, while McKenzie has two for 17 (8.5).
Gurley and Marshall combined for 2,144 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns as freshmen, with Marshall ripping off 164 yards against Tennessee, 105 against Auburn and 104 against Florida Atlantic. Marshall entered this season averaging 5.8 yards a carry for his career, and he could get back in that neighborhood this weekend against winless Troy.
"I would be surprised if he doesn't have some nice runs in this game," Richt said. "I don't know if anybody really feels totally comfortable in the beginning, but he's practicing, he's been in games, he's been hit hard and all that kind of stuff. So I think he's confident in his knee and will be able to play well."
Chubb fractured his left thumb last week but had four carries for 34 yards against the Gamecocks. He underwent surgery Monday and has not practiced this week, but Richt said he could play Saturday if he feels like it.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.