Q&A: Malcome 'Growing Up'

ATHENS – Ken Malcome is somewhere in the mix at tailback, trying to do the right thing and gain some attention from those that call the shots.

Isaiah Crowell is healthy. Keith Marshall is the new kid in town. Richard Samuel isn't moving to another position (yet). And Carlton Thomas left the team.

All those angles left Malcome somewhere in the middle during the first practice of spring drills, not unnoticed but somewhat under the radar.

The 6-foot, 226-pound redshirt sophomore met with the media Tuesday to discuss his own progress, mat drills, the departure of Thomas and more.

How are you feeling about your standing with the team now?

KM: "It's starting to feel like high school again. I got all the jitters out, I know what to do now and the coach depends on me now and players see that, so I feel good about spring. I had a pretty good day (Tuesday) so I'm going to keep going from there."

Why do you think Mark Richt mentioned you and Isaiah Crowell as two players that were turning the corner?

KM: "I'm thinking, I guess growing up, being two running backs the team can depend on. To look for us when we need something to be done we can be the two backs to do it."

How did you do in mat drills this offseason?

KM: "Honestly I didn't want to come back (*Note: Perhaps Ken shouldn't make jokes like this ). I couldn't even do it. I was getting Cs and Ds and Fs all the time. I manned up. My last mat drill I got two As. That right there kind of helped me get a boost. I knew I could do it – I just got to go do it. There's no complaining about it, just do it and you'll be all right."

How difficult are mat drills?

KM: "Mat drills, the hardest thing I've ever done in sports. The hardest thing, the only thing about it though I realized that matt drills – they're (the coaches) are not trying to break you. They're trying to see how tough you are. My first couple times I was hurting, barely making it, but my last time I just had to do the best thing for me and just fight through it. It is hard though. A lot of people don't understand. They think its just agilities, but they'll send you back for anything. They'll send you back 10 times and then send you back 10 times in the next group. Keep doing the same thing, and they won't let you leave. By me getting two As I felt like I grew. I think they see that too."

How badly were you hurt in the bowl game?

KM: "Yeah I separated my shoulder and (had a) concussion, but I mean after I got my shoulder messed up I didn't too much think about it. It was hurting, but once you're in the game you're trying to play. I wasn't going to come out that game no matter what happened to me. I just had to fight through it."

What do you think about the whole tailback situation with Carlton leaving?

KM: "I mean, it's hard because me and Carlton Thomas are pretty close friends. We growed on each other, but I knew he had to leave. It was something that he wanted to do, so I wish him the best of luck. It's thinning out a little bit, but if he was still here it would still be the same. We'll still be competing more. Just because he's going doesn't mean everybody isn't going to compete the same. I'm competing with Todd (Gurley, set to enroll in June), Isaiah, Keith, Richard – on a day-to-day we're on each other's back. If one messes up he'll get on me, if he messes up I'll get on him. At the end of the day we're still going to be running backs. We just have to do what we have to do in practice."

Was last year a lesson that you can't ever have too many running backs?

KM: "Yeah, but I mean I feel like (Tuesday) we had a good rotation. I think it's kind of good for us because we'll all be fresh… Having more than two running backs could be good for us. Having three or four running backs to sub in and out to stay fresh, I think can help us win more games."

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