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“We’ll let you know when we decide to let you know,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said after Thursday’s closed two-hour practice. “I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m not telling anybody that right now.”
Freshman Todd Gurley has led Georgia in rushing in each of the scrimmages. He ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries on Wednesday.
“The power and the speed has surprised me,” Bobo said. “You never know until they get here. ...I knew he was physical, but the speed along with his physicality has been impressive.”
Redshirt sophomore Ken Malcome, redshirt senior Richard Samuel and freshman Keith Marshall are all in the plans to play, running backs coach Bryan McClendon reiterated.
“Those guys are pretty much going to hash it out themselves,” McClendon said.
Gurley has something that highly-touted freshman Isaiah Crowell, dismissed this summer, didn’t last year, according to McClendon.
“The thing is I do think we have a lot more depth,” he said. “He doesn’t have to carry the entire load so to speak. You’ve got guys that can go in there and there’s no drop-off to their play, which is really exciting. That alone makes the situation entirely different than what we were last year. As much as we like it or not, there was a significant difference between our first and second unit last year at that position. This year there’s not.”
McClendon said that Marshall, who had 62 yards, had some good runs and that Malcome even with the fewest yards with 35 was “one of the best one of them out there.”
McClendon didn’t dismiss the notion that the older tailbacks--Malcolme and Samuel—could get the first shot in the Sept. 1 opener against Buffalo.
“That may be the case,” he said.
Safety Moore boosts stock in scrimmage
Corey Moore had developed a reputation in practice as a hard-hitting safety, but the sophomore showed defensive coordinator Todd Grantham his ability going after the ball in the scrimmage on more plays than just the time he dove to make an interception on quarterback Aaron Murray.
“I think Corey was one of the most improved guys from the scrimmage,” Grantham said. “He made some plays in coverage. He’s always been a physical player in the run game and that showed up (Wednesday). He’s a guy that has kind of gotten it and he’s working really hard.”
Grantham said that enhances the 6-foot-2, 214-pound Moore’s value. He’s competing with former walk-on Connor Norman (limited Thursday with a shoulder contusion) and freshman Josh Harvey-Clemons at safety.
“Corey was one of the more productive guys,” Grantham said, “meaning guys you’re looking at to fill a role for you.”
Safety Bacarri Rambo is expected to be facing an early-season suspension that has not been announced.
Harvey-Clemons had four tackles, a sack and an interception.
“He’s still young and learning what to do, but he came out today and had a great practice and improved on some areas that he could have played better yesterday,” Grantham said. “I’m really pleased with his progress and we’re going to keep developing him and getting him ready to play.”
Grantham said that Harvey-Clemons also worked at nickel corner.
More reps for LeMay
Redshirt freshman quarterback Christian LeMay got “a lot more reps” in Thursday’s practice as coaches prepare him for the backup role, Bobo said.
The plan is for LeMay to serve as the backup to Murray when Murray is healthy.
“The dynamic we have there is Hutson is No. 2 if injury happens, but if it’s finish a game right now it would be LeMay or (walk-on) Parker Welch,” Bobo said.
LeMay has completed 5 of 11 passes for 79 yards with two interceptions in the two scrimmages.
“There’s definitely improvement from last year, but still has a lot to work on and improve on,” Bobo said. “I like his attitude. I like how he’s progressed.”
Murray scrimmage `outstanding’ despite pick
There was a lot of running for Georgia players after practice for the lack of ball security in the scrimmage.
Despite an interception and a fumble for Murray, Bobo said the Bulldogs' starting quarterback actually had an “outstanding” scrimmage.
“The one interception he had was a protection blowdown and he had to run up in the pocket and the DB made a great play,” Bobo said. “The one interception was really not his fault.”
Bobo said some of the quarterback fumbles may not have happened if quarterbacks were allowed to be tackled.
“We’ve got to protect the ball at all times,” Bobo said. “It was more of `OK, we’re sacked and we just kind of sat there and relaxed and then you ran up and hit the ball down type of thing.”
Mason and LeMay did fumble on the run.
This and that
Former walk-on Merritt Hall remains “the solid No. 1” at fullback, McClendon said. “Quayvon (Hicks) and Richard are rolling in there as well,” he said. Junior Zander Ogletree is still getting work, but is now fourth at the position.
McClendon said senior punt returner Branden Smith “is probably the most comfortable he’s been back there.” Malcolm Mitchell, Damian Swann and Sheldon Dawson are also getting work there.
Former Georgia offensive lineman seems poised to start at guard for Virginia Tech for its season opener against Georgia Tech, according to The Washington Post. The 304-pound Benedict has dropped 30 pounds since arriving last summer.