Georgia football-running backs-nfl-2022
Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) makes a 59-yard kickoff runback, which was called back for holding, in the second quarter at the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. (Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

‘We like to grow NFL backs here:’ Georgia football poised to get even more out of its running backs in 2022

Georgia’s rushing attack was good in 2021. When it needed to pick up yards, whether it be late in games against Clemson or Alabama, it proved capable of doing so. But great would not be a word used to describe Georgia’s ability to run the ball last season.

If things work out the way they might in 2022, there’s a real chance Georgia may once again have a great rushing attack on the offensive side of the ball.

Talent in the running back room was not the issue last year, as we saw James Cook and Zamir White both get drafted in last month’s NFL draft.

McIntosh has already shown he can be an effective pass-catcher while adding in the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. While he may not have the straight-line speed that Cook possessed, Georgia has already shown it can get McIntosh the ball in a variety of ways.

Both McIntosh and Milton had impressive receptions in Georgia’s spring game, as both had 30-yard receptions on the afternoon.

“I thought Kenny caught a nice play on a wheel route, so did Kendall.  In college football you become a weapon by how you receive the ball out of the backfield,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the spring game. “They want to grow with that.  They want to be able to showcase their talents catching the ball out of the backfield.  That’s what the NFL asks about.”

Injuries played a part in how the offensive line performed last season. Jamaree Salyer, Tate Ratledge and Warren Ericson all missed time last season due to injury, while Sedrick Van Pran spent much of the second half of the season playing with an injured wrist.

Those injuries may have ended up benefiting this team. It gave players such as Broderick Jones and Xavier Truss a chance to get more first-team reps than they normally would’ve. Now Jones is the obvious starting left tackle for Georgia.

The Bulldogs do still have to figure out the offensive guard position as Ericson, Ratledge, Truss and Devin Willock are all competing to start. But Georgia and new offensive line coach Stacey Searles potentially have four players who could start at either of the two positions. That’s a rare luxury in the modern age of college football.

In the last five NFL drafts, Georgia has had five running backs taken. Running backs Dell McGee clearly knows what he is doing. And with some small tweaks — be it an improved offensive line, better injury luck for Milton or a higher usage rate for McIntosh — Georgia seems poised to once again maximize the talents of its running backs.

“We like to grow NFL backs here, so to do that you’ve got to use them in the passing game,” Smart said.

More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation

NextRobert Beal makes Georgia football pass rush an underrated strength …
Leave a Comment