October 28, 2009

King aims to forget missed block

If there's one Bulldog who might feel he has a bit more to prove in Saturday's game against top-ranked Florida it's probably running back Caleb King.

Flash back to last years' contest.

Georgia was driving for an early score when the Bulldogs faced a fourth-down play inside the Gators' 10-yard line.

Instead of reaching for a field goal, head coach Mark Richt decided to go for the touchdown. Quarterback Matthew Stafford went back to pass, but never for the chance to make a throw as King missed a crucial block allowing a sack to end the Bulldog threat.

King wouldn't see the field again for almost a month.

It's not a memory he particularly cares to recall.

"After it happened, we watched the film and after that I just erased it," King said. "That was pretty much it. It's everybody else that wants to harp on it."

Still, King admits it was a lesson learned.

One thing about the Bulldogs, if you're a running back and don't block, you don't play. That's a fact King said he learned the hard way.

"You've got to block if you want to play in this league," King said. "If not, you're not going to play, no matter what."

For a player who admits he wasn't asked to lay a single block his entire high school, that hasn't been an easy thing to do.

Imagine going from that to being asked to at least disrupt a 250-pound defensive end or pick up a 240-pound middle linebacker on an all-out blitz, and you'll begin to understand why King struggled to much to get that part of his game down.

"It's a different mentality you have to have. You have to from point A to point B fast," he said. "You can't even be a half-step off. Do that, and trust me, somebody is going to put you on your back."

That's why there's a small part of King that is hopeful for purging the memory of last year's failure once and for all.

The general consensus is for Georgia (4-3, 3-2) to have any kind of offensive success against the Gators (7-0, 5-0), the Bulldogs will need a strong effort from King, and whoever else gets a shot to run the football in Saturday's game.

It won't be easy.

Florida's defensive line of Carlos Dunlap, Omar Hunter, Terron Sanders and Jermaine Cunningham is considered one of the best in the SEC and a huge reason the Gators are conference's second-best rush defense team, allowing just 94.6 yards per game.

That's just a tick fewer yards than Georgia (108) is averaging on the ground this season, a number that still ranks the Bulldogs last among the league's 12 teams.

Georgia is coming off a 173-yard rushing effort against Vanderbilt, but nobody is going to confuse the Commodores' defense with that of the Gators.

Still, King said that backs are taking the approach that their effort two weeks ago was a positive first step to getting the running game back where it needs to be.

"It was huge for the backs to be able to show that we can run the ball effectively," King said. "We think we can bring what we did two weeks ago and bring the same kind of effort to Florida."

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