Published September 23, 2012 - 5:40pm
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Freshmen are supposed to be seen and not heard, right? Well, Georgia’s two freshmen are making some big noise in the SEC and having a massive impact through four weeks.
With Aaron Murray coming back, we knew that Georgia would have a formidable passing offense, but we were unsure the impact of replacing Isaiah Crowell with two freshmen in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They have, however, managed to erase Crowell from Georgia’s memory.
If you look around the SEC, is there a better running back duo than Gurley and Marshall? The two have combined for 670 rushing yards and nine touchdowns through four weeks. Alabama’s duo of Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon have combined for 486 yards and six touchdowns. LSU’s duo of Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue have 613 yards and eight touchdowns. I realize Michael Ford has taken carries away from Blue and Hilliard, but so has UGA backup Ken Malcome. I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want Gurley as my top running back by the way he’s playing this season, either.
Gurley and Marshall ate up Vanderbilt’s defense and combined for 26 carries for 212 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 8.15 yards per carry.
Todd Gurley is the beast of the two, and he’s the total package. He toted the rock 16 times for 130 of those yards with two touchdowns. Gurley has the rare combination of size, speed, power and vision. He’s a long strider when he hits the open field, and he can run through tackles and outrun defenders along the way. Gurley has rushed 44 times for 406 yards and six touchdowns. He’s averaging a nasty 9.2 yards per carry. That’s unheard of. Gurley now leads the SEC in rushing with 406 yards.
His counterpart Marshall carried 10 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Dores. Marshall is the burner of the two and is shifty in space. He was the higher-ranked prospect coming out of high school. Marshall has totalled 42 carries for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
These two freshmen are playing well beyond their years. Gurley, specifically, looks like he’s ready for the next level as an 18-year-old. It’s amazing what he is doing right now.
I like what Mark Richt is doing by alternating both, as well as working in backup Ken Malcome. Freshman usually hit a wall at some point in the season because their bodies have never experienced anything like the gauntlet they will go through from the middle of the season to the end. It’s usually in the latter third portion of the schedule when some hit the proverbial wall, and Richt is hopefully eliminating that wall by not using either too much in any one game.
These two guys have to be licking their chops at facing an 11th-ranked SEC rushing defense in Tennessee next week, the same defense that gave up over 330 yards rushing to Florida.