June 16, 2010

Position Breakdown: Running backs

Running backs coach Bryan McClendon was unable to suppress a slight chuckle when asked if confidence was ever an issue with Washaun Ealey or Caleb King.

What do you think?

"With Washaun, you saw the progression. Some stuff came real easy, some stuff not so much. With him coming from that great program at ECI, you knew he was durable, you knew he was going to struggle a bit pass protecting, but you saw all the right things," McClendon said earlier this year. "But as far as his confidence, I don't think that's ever going to be a problem."

It's no wonder.

After being buried on the depth chart to start the season, Ealey was barely an afterthought until finally getting his chance midway through the season, when he combined with King to give Georgia what turned out to be a fairly impressive backfield tandem.

As UGASports continues its summer series examining each of Georgia's positions, we look at running back where Ealey and King will attempt to live royally running behind what should be a solid offensive line.

Check out these stats.

During the regular season Ealey rushed 112 times for 639 yards and three touchdowns, with King chipping in with 98 carries for 534 yards and five scores.

Not bad for a couple of players who coming into the season were technically third and fourth on the depth chart behind current linebacker Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas.

"The biggest thing that helped them turn the page was that no matter how they felt, when [they] came out there, no matter how they looked at every game, whatever chance they had to step on that field they knew they had to get better," McClendon said. "They sort of took that upon each other. They both feed off each other, which is a great thing to see. But I think they're working hard, I don't want anybody to start crowing those guys the next so-and-so, but they are some talented guys. They're still young, there's still a whole lot of football for those two to play so we're going to see how that goes."

3 Washaun Ealey 5-11 205 Sophomore
4 Caleb King 5-11 212 Junior
30 Carlton Thomas 5-7 180 Redshirt Sophomore
27 Dontavius Jackson 5-10 205 Redshirt Sophomore
24 Kendrun Malcome 6-0 215 Freshman
45 Brian Brewer 5-10 215 Senior
36 Wes Van Dyk 6-0 208 Junior
29 Alex Parsons 5-9 215 Junior

Will both Caleb King and Washaun Ealey rush for 1,000 yards?

They'd sure like to, and that's been a stated goal by the pair, but for as good as they have the potential to be, it just doesn't seem likely simply because it's so hard to do.

It won't surprise us a bit to see one of the two eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but just not sure if there will ultimately be enough touches to go around for both to accomplish the feat.

What kind of shape are King and Ealey going into preseason drills

It's not like Ealey was in bad shape before, but the Twin City native has gotten in even better condition if that's possible.

Ealey reported for summer workouts in chiseled shape and determined to carry as much of the load as he can.

But King isn't taking a backseat by any stretch. King still gets points as one of the Georgia's top weight room warriors as well and like Ealey, will be primed for an excellent year.

How much will Thomas, Jackson and Malcome possibly play?

Although Ealey and King will obviously get the bulk of the carries, there will be opportunities for the trio to get in the game.

Thomas will get looks in passing situations as well and occasionally serve as a change-of-pace to King and Ealey.

At this point, Jackson projects to be a safety valve in case of injury while Malcome is a big-bodied runner whose tough between the tackles. He could get his share of short-yardage carries.

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