Q&A: Samuel Somewhere in the Backfield

ATHENS – Is Richard Samuel a tailback or a fullback?

Perhaps the more appropriate answer is he's a running back. The general label works for now at least.

A fifth-year senior from Cartersville, Samuel doesn't seem to know where he'll play in his final season at Georgia.

In one breath he indicates he wants to be a tailback, but in another he says, "I'll play wherever is best for the team."

The media met with Samuel recently to discuss his position for the long-term, last year's heroics in Jacksonville and more

How do you view spring and how much is fullback playing into things?

I don't know. I'm a fullback – I mean not fullback, but running back.

As in both?

What do you mean?

As a running back do you mean tailback or fullback or both?

Tailback, from what I've known talking to the coaches.

Have you talked to the coaches about playing fullback?

Not too much. I've been up in the air, but I've talked to coach (Mark) Richt and coach (Bryan) McClendon and I'm strictly a tailback. There's not going to be a switch or anything.

Would you be interested in playing fullback if it meant being on the field a little more?

Kinda depends. It depends on whatever exactly they'll be using me for. Like a couple years back we had a package where we had both two running backs in the game. In case they bring that package back that would be fine then. Talking about zones, not zones but power, I doubt the coaches would use me as the lead blocker up in there that type of way.

Just looking at the roster people would say you would definitely play at fullback and it could be tough with all the depth at tailback. Why would you want to stay at tailback?

I'd say because of the fact that I know what's needed at this level. Some of the guys coming back -- we have young guys, Carlton and Isaiah coming back. But I've shown and am able to know what it takes to make it through a game and to play tailback at this level. Some young guys, they've never played at this level before or been able to compete at this level.

Do you think people kind of forget about you too quickly when they start talking about all the new guys?

I feel like they do, but it doesn't bother me. I know my work ethic and what I do on the practice field is going to go over to the game field, and I'll show that I'm still there.

Talk about what you can bring to some of those younger players…

I can be able to show what kind of practice and what needs to be gone through in preparation in every day to get better.

How frustrating was it for the running backs last year with all the injuries and all the off-the-field stuff that went on?

It was a little frustrating at times. We had a whole bunch of different situations going on. You look at the roster and you figure out, OK who can we play or who can we put in there that won't be a drop-off in talent or a drop-off in ability?

What have you seen out of Keith Marshall so far?

I've gotten to know him, you know what I mean? He's a good guy, and he works hard. He's seems like he wants to learn a lot. He's always talking to me about plays or certain things to get better and get ready for the spring practice.

Are you taking on a leadership role for not just the running backs, but for the whole team? Or what is it going to take for you become a team leader?

For me I'll have to say become more vocal. I'm going into my fifth season. I've seen many guys come and go as leaders. Seeing how what it takes, how a guy is supposed to approach practice, approach things off the field and on the field. I feel like I can step up into the role to say, OK this is how it needs to be done. I've been here for this long, these other guys have been here for this amount of years; I've seen everything done. I believe I can help guide the young guys to how things should be done here.

Is there a sense of keeping each other accountable?

Yeah, I know as a running back group we've set up little meetings to try to keep each other accountable. Throughout practice or throughout workouts we pick each other up and let each other know that if one person is slacking you have to get on that person and get them up because you're as good as the weakest person in your segment so when one guy goes down you have to get the other guy ready. It all works hand in hand.

How much do you weight now?

235 I think.

Last season all the talk was about recovering as a program after the losing season. What is the mantra of this offseason?

I would say this offseason it's more of we're looking at things as it's our team, it's our time, our season. We're trying to get to a player-driven team. We got back on the map last year, but we have to get better. We just can't be complacent with the amount of wins we had last year. We have to fix the little errors or concerns or problems and get better.

When you saw the SEC schedule, did you think you should be the favorite to win the Eastern Division?

You get excited about your schedule, but you also have to respect your opponents. It's not always the best man who wins. It's the best man who came to play that game. You have to respect the schedule, but also we're excited about the schedule we have. It's all about coming Saturday and playing the game.

How tough was your ankle injury to get over?

It was real tough. I was supposed to come back for the SEC Championship game, but I had to go back in to get more surgery done. That set it back, so it was real tough. Plus the bowl game – I dunno, it wasn't fully 100 percent, but I wanted to contribute somehow. I had to push through it.

Are you 100 percent now?

Yeah.

Have you felt more love from the fans since being the hero of the Florida game?

Just a tad bit. I haven't really focused on it. Most I've heard or seen people talk about it was the determination I had throughout the game to help the team win the game. Besides that I haven't really paid attention to it.

Now that you've graduated are you going to continue your education?

Right now I'm taking classes. During the summer and the fall I'm doing credit interns to get some kind of experience. … Right now is laid back. I have a full year to just focus on nothing but football.


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