Last year was the first time since 2008 where the Georgia Bulldogs won double-digit games. This year, they look to build off of that success and compete for an SEC title for the first time since 2005. Georgia returns 16 starters from a season ago, including nine from a defense that finished the year ranked fifth in the country.
The Bulldogs may not be the favorite to win the SEC this season, but they certainly have the talent on both sides to get the job done.
With fall camp underway, here is all of the latest news, injury updates and more involving your Georgia Bulldogs.
With a lack of experience at the running back position, many have been wondering what the backfield is going to look like for the Bulldogs. But with the season set to begin sooner than later, the picture is beginning to look a little clearer.
Ken Malcome, the running back with the most experience, has been named the starter for the season opener. With players such as Richard Samuel, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, all competing behind him, it remains a mystery on who will become the main backup. (Via ESPN)
I don't even know for sure. I've not talked to the staff about how we're going to do it yet. Richt said. Even when we do it, I doubt I'll announce anything. I don't want the guys to know. I just want them to keep fighting, keep competing. We'll tell them the night before the game maybe.
Malcome had 42 carries last season, rushing for 174 yards. Samuel is the only other experienced back, playing fullback most of his career, carrying the ball 192 times throughout his career for 768 yards and four touchdowns. Both Gurley and Marshall are freshman, and have yet to play a game for Georgia.
With Isaiah Crowell being dismissed from the team during the offseason, the running back position has opened up a few question marks for this Georgia offense. And while the Bulldogs lack experience at the position, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo says he is not ready to tell anyone who the starter is going to be just yet. (Via Marc Weiszer of Scout.com)
“We’ll let you know when we decide to let you know,” Bobo said. “I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m not telling anybody that right now.”
Ken Malcome has the most experience, but players such as Richard Samuel and true-freshman Keith Marshall are all battling for carries as well.
No offense for Malcolm Mitchell just yet
Malcolm Mitchell proved to be a valuable weapon on the offensive side of the ball last season, hauling in 45 passes for over 600 yards and four touchdowns. But he has switched to the cornerback position in order to help a defense that is limited early on due to suspensions.
And while Mitchell would prefer to play both sides of the ball, he says that he has yet to be included on the offensive side of the ball. (Via Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“I’m just going with it,” said Mitchell, “Coach [Mark] Richt and the coaching staff are good at preparing and planning things, so I’m just letting them figure it out and I’ll do what they say.”
Cornelius Washington played linebacker the last two seasons, but this year he will likely line up at the defensive end position. Although Washington has been productive, (Five sacks last season) the coaching staff believes he can become an even better player on the line. (Via Marc Weiszer of Scout.com)
He’s really gone out there and really been focused. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner said of the practices that followed the scrimmage. I told him to take his game to the next level, he’s got to make sure he’s a master of the little things to separate him from everybody else.
In a recent scrimmage, Washington had three sacks.
Running back by committee
With Isaiah Crowell no longer on the roster, the running back position has talent, but a lack of experience. Ken Malcome will likely be the starter, but at his point, it may be whoever is running the ball the best at the moment. Head coach Mark Richt recently spoke on the depth at tail back. (Via Marc Weiszer of Scout.com)
I think they’re all pretty good backs. Richt said. I think they’re all going to get their opportunity to play throughout the year. Who’s going to be the starter? I don’t know. We’ll be anxious to see all of them really. I will be.
Progress of John Theus
Probably the biggest concern for this Georgia team is the offense line that allowed 33 sacks last season. One of the key players that is expected to fix that in 2012 is true-freshman John Theus. As of right now, head coach Mark Richt is cautious about the newbie in fall camp.
“I don’t know if I would name him the starter right now, but he’s definitely lining up No. 1 right tackle,” coach Mark Richt said Friday. “John’s getting there. He has a ways to go, but he’s getting there.” (Via Marc Weiszer of Scout.com)
Richt also went on to say that he likes to the progress of his offensive line, particularly the projected starters. Theus at right tackle, Chris Burnette at right guard, David Andrews at center, Dallas Lee at left guard and Kenarious Gates at left tackle.
That’s been the lineup that’s probably been together the most snaps with the ones and they are beginning to jell and play well. Richt said. Watts (Dantzler) certainly has a chance to still compete for a starting position.
Malcolm Mitchell banged up
Malcolm Mitchell, who is expected to play both sides of the ball this season for Georgia suffered a left shoulder contusion that has limited him during the weekend. While it doesn't appear to be a serious injury, it is something to keep an eye on considering he will be such a big part of this teams success on both sides of the ball.
Aaron Murray expected to be even better
Quarterback Aaron Murray should already be considered one of the best quarterbacks in this conference. He has thrown for over 6,000 yards and 59 touchdowns in just two seasons of playing time. But while his numbers look good, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo says that he would like to see his completion percentage improve this season.
He’s a fourth-year guy in the system. Bobo said. I just want to set the standard higher a little bit higher than 62. I think we’re capable of reaching that. To be the elite quarterback that he wants to be, we’ve got to complete passes at a higher percentage. (Via Marc Weiszner of savannahnow.com)
Murray only completed 59.1 percent of his passes last season, which was lower than the 61.1 he completed in 2010.
Ken Malcome confident in the running game
The Georgia Bulldogs lost arguably the best playmaker on the offensive side of the ball in Isaiah Crowell, who was arrested on weapon charges during the offseason. While many would now question the lack of depth at the running back position, projected starter, sophomore Ken Malcome, says that his team is just fine.
“I think this year people will see Georgia get back to the running game,” Malcome said. “A lot of people say we fell off a little bit even though we lost Isaiah, but we’re full strength now.” (Via Marc Weiszer of dogbytesonline.com)
Malcome has rushed for 174 yards in his career, and will lead a ground attack that features 5-star recruit Keith Marshall along with Richard Samuel and Todd Gurley.
Malcolm Mitchell looking good at cornerback
Malcolm Mitchell emerged as a playmaker at the receiver position last season as a freshman, but with suspensions on the defensive side of the ball, he will be used in the secondary early on. Georgia safety Shawn Williams has compared him to first-round draft pick Morris Claiborne and says he has a bright future on this side of the ball.
Because he's big, he's physical, he has those long arms, and he's really fast. You can't run by him. Williams said. And he's gonna be sitting there at the line and pressuring you all day. So he's a real good corner. (Via Seth Emerson of The Ledger Enquirer)
There are even talks of him playing both sides of the ball this year.
Georgia lost both its starting punter and kicker during the offseason, which means that special teams is something the coaching staff has to pay attention to this fall. As of right now, it looks like Collin Barber has secured the punting position.
I thought Collin had some balls with some outstanding hang time. Richt said. I think he understands that part of it. I think it’s kind of a natural for him. He gets the ball up good. I think his operation time was pretty good (Via Seth Emerson of Macon.com).
Meanwhile, the kicking position could still use some work, as Marshall Morgan and Jamie Lindley continue to battle it out.
“I thought that our extra point/field goals were not what they need to be yet,” Richt said.
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries, and everything else that involves your Georgia Bulldogs.