Marshall A "Dual-Threat Issue," Richt Says

Georgia coach Mark Richt talks about facing former Bulldog Nick Marshall, who is now the starting quarterback for the Auburn football Tigers.

Athens, Ga.--Georgia coach Mark Richt knows all about Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall and what he can do on the football field.

Previously a defensive back with the Bulldogs before transferring to junior college to play quarterback, Marshall is one of the main reasons why Auburn is leading the SEC in rushing yards. The junior is a player Georgia knows it must contain this weekend in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry as the Tigers and Bulldogs meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

Coming off a 214-yard rushing performance that earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Marshall has 734 yards and seven touchdowns this season on just 104 carries (7.1 yards per carry). While he has only been called on to throw the ball 159 times this season, completing 58.5 percent for 1,301 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions, Richt knows Marshall is the complete package athletically and will be a challenge for the Bulldogs.

"If a guy has a situation where he doesn't finish here at Georgia, a guy that signed with us, my goal for him is to find a new home and have success at it," Richt said. "He's a very talented guy and dangerous runner. He's got a strong arm. He's definitely a dual-threat issue."

Starting his college playing days at cornerback for the Bulldogs two seasons ago, Marshall is now one of the top offensive threats in the SEC. Richt said because of his athletic ability Marshall would be doing impressive things if he were still on defense.

"I think he would be an all-conference type of guy," Richt said. "He would have a very bright future at that position, but he's a dynamic guy. He's got multi-skills and is using a lot of them as a quarterback right now."

Marshall is far from the only weapon for the Auburn offense with Tre Mason running for 103.8 yards per game and 16 touchdowns in 10 games.

On the outside Sammie Coates is one of the top deep threats in the country with 648 yards on just 26 receptions (24.9 yards per catch) with five touchdowns. Throw in a big and physical offensive line and Richt said it's easy to see why the Tigers are among the top offensive teams in the country and scoring 38.6 points per game.

"I think the big thing is you have to be disciplined," Richt said. "You have to be in the gap you're supposed to be in and play the responsibility you're supposed to play. It's not a whole lot different than playing a triple-option football team in that everybody is going to have an assignment. If you start freelancing and making up your own stuff then you're in trouble.

"The other thing is you've got to be able to tackle in space and you've got to defeat some blocks once in while," he added. "They're always in good shape as far as numbers go because they can run. If your quarterback can run all of the sudden that's one less defender that you have free. Guys have to defeat blocks. Guys have to tackle well. Guys have to be very disciplined in their gaps. That's a great challenge."

Kickoff for Auburn (9-1, 5-1) vs. Georgia (6-3, 4-2) is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on CBS.


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