Upgrade or Downgrade? Running Backs

ATHENS – Upgrade or downgrade? Dean Legge looks at each position at Georgia to see if 2010s' Dawgs will be better than those of 2009.

Today: The Running Backs

2009 Starter: Was Richard Samuel then became Washuan Ealey and Caleb King
2010 Possible Starters: Washaun Ealey and Caleb King
Outcome: Upgrade

If one thing was clear about 2009 it was that Georgia had some questions to answer at running back. They didn't answer them until about the Vanderbilt contest. From that point forward the Bulldogs were a stout running team.

Last year's early-season starter Richard Samuel has smartly moved to linebacker where he could be a force. With Georgia now using four linebackers instead of three, Samuel may well start at linebacker if things fall his way in 2010.

What must the coaching staff have thought entering the Oklahoma State game? Richard Samuel, who was likely your third-best option at running back, was your starter. Not only that he took up a large part of the offensive playbook during the disappointing loss to the Cowboys. Sure, he nearly got 100 yards on the ground, that day, but numbers don't always mean you are productive as you should be. Samuel didn't see the holes that were there. That, combined with poor production from the team on the turnover front (both offense and defense failed on turnover production that day) cost Georgia the win.

At the time the coaching staff was a bit stuck. Caleb King, who seemed to be the starter coming into the fall, was hurt with a hamstring and Washuan Ealey was struggling to pick up the blitz. By the time the two of them got to where they needed to be the conference was lost, and the team was fighting to stay above .500.

So why is it an upgrade if the same two guys are returning who played the season before? Because they only played half the season as the de-facto starting backs. Ealey and King, while not nearly what NFLer Knowshon Moreno is, are a powerful punch the Dawgs' new signal caller can lean on for a productive 2010. If, and it's a big if considering the lack of experience of the quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot, the starting quarterback can cut the turnovers of Joe Cox in half and throw his deep ball as well expect the Dawgs to have a powerful rushing attack and a pretty good record in 2010.

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