Samuel vying for backup spot

ATHENS – With a Heisman candidate locked in as the starter it would seem that there wouldn't be much interest in the running back position this preseason.

Normally that would be true, but not in Athens where two of the Dawgs' most talked about players are blue chip running backs that have yet to see the field.

And while one would think that Caleb King, the all-everything recruit from the class of 2007 would have the backup spot locked up because of his edge in experience, early indications are that this is not settled.

The thorn in King's claim to the no. 2 spot has been a strong showing from true freshman Richard Samuel, who enrolled in January and has been trying to establish himself as another option.

"I'm looking to show that I have what it takes to play. That I understand what they're asking out of me," Samuel said.

Enrolling in January gave Samuel the opportunity for an easier transition from high school than someone enrolling in the summer.

"It helped me out a whole lot. Now we're going over everything all over again. Understanding what they want, who to block, how to do things right, which routes. It makes it easier to go through that during spring first than in fall camp," he said.

The ability to block, which head coach Mark Richt has always looked for in his running backs, is another adjustment Samuel has had to make.

"It's pretty tough," Samuel said of the complex schemes. "First of all there's bigger and faster guys. Second of all you have to know whether to block or run a route. It's a whole different scheme than high school."

Samuel said that he thinks the coaches have been impressed with the consistent work ethic that he's displayed ever since arriving on campus.

"I'm just showing that I'm willing to work hard," he said. "I'm willing to do what it takes to get what they want done. I just want to show that they can trust and depend on me."

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