Fumbles Could Cost Samuel Starting Job

ATHENS – Richard Samuel figured to lose some carries after Caleb King returned to the lineup for the first time this season against Arkansas, but after two fumbles during the game, Samuel could be in danger of losing his starting job.

"I don't know if we are ready to move him from the No. 1 position, but I would say if that kind of thing continued, we'd have to really consider whether or not he should start for us," head coach Mark Richt said. "You can't have two a game, that's for sure, and continue to play the kind of football you need to to win.

Samuel had the first 100-yard game of his career against Arkansas, picking up 104 yards on 16 carries, including one for an 80-yard touchdown, but he coughed the ball up in crucial situations twice.

In the first quarter, Samuel mishandled a pitch from quarterback Joe Cox that was recovered by Arkansas to set up a touchdown. In the second half, Samuel lost the football after being hit at the end of a run. He scrambled to recover the ball, scooping it into his chest before the Razorbacks could grasp control.

Ball security has been an ongoing issue for the sophomore tailback, who had problems with fumbles last season, including one on the first carry of his career. Coaches had hoped Samuel had rectified the issue during preseason practice this year, but the tailback said he still has some work to do.

"I approach it as focusing more on the ball itself – the little fundamentals of protecting the ball and looking the ball in," Samuel said.

Complicated the backfield situation further was the strong performance by King in his first action of the season. The sophomore ran for 59 yards on 11 carries, often looking more explosive than Samuel.

"There will definitely be a plan to play both of them," Richt said. "Caleb did very well. He ran the ball well. He pass protected well and secured the ball well. He showed no signs of the hamstring becoming an issue for him, so it was a very good performance."

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