With pretty much every Georgia tailback headed to a one-game suspension or to the injured list, we’re faced with the practical challenge of fielding a running game this weekend. The good news is that Georgia is up against the nation’s 111th-best rushing defense rather than an SEC foe. Hopefully the line can create holes that random members of the Alumni Band could run through. But in terms of who will actually carry the ball, reports have focused on these three options. It’s not a stretch to imagine all three being used at some point.
1) Stick with the tailbacks on the roster
Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis are the two tailbacks on the roster who could see playing time. Harton is a former walk-on, and Karempelis still is. Neither are especially big guys (5’6″ and 5’9″, respectively.) We’re more familiar with Harton – he had some carries in garbage time against Coastal Carolina.
2) Use the fullbacks
Ogletree and Figgins haven’t carried the ball much, if at all, this year, but they’d be an option to run the ball especially in short-yardage situatins.
3) Look to other positions
Here’s where the fun starts for those of us playing fantasy coach. There are plenty of talented guys on the team who would love a shot at carrying the ball. It’s not likely to be someone from elsewhere on offense. Receivers are thin enough as it is, especially with Mitchell still out. They’re also not likely to waste the redshirt season of someone who hasn’t played yet. So we look to the other side of the ball. A couple have already carried the ball this year. Rambo has been an effective option quarterback for the scout team; we know he can run the ball.
Of the names fans and media are throwing out over the past day, one name – Nick Marshall – intrigues me the most. Follow my thinking here:
- I’d be hesistant to use a front line defensive player on all but a couple of carries. You don’t want to risk losing Boykin, Smith, and Rambo if the game can be won with other players. Even Swann is seeing more time on defense, so I’d hesitate to pull him over.
- Marshall has already burned his redshirt.
- The coaches have already considered Marshall on offense. I know this is mostly offseason recruiting bluster, but Marshall’s possible use in a “Wild Dawg” look was a topic back in May.
- Marshall, though a defensive back now, was an accomplished running quarterback in high school who would be comfortable running the ball. This isn’t high school, but it’s not as if he’s going up against Alabama’s run defense on Saturday.
If Marshall gains some experience on Saturday, this needn’t be a one-game experiment. With Samuel down for a while, there’s still a need at tailback going forward.