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Why Brian Herrien becomes even more important as Georgia running back
Georgia’s running back room has a lot of talent. It also has a lot of injuries at the moment.
Zamir White’s status is well documented. The No. 1 running back in the 2018 recruiting cycle has suffered two knee injuries since his senior year of high school. While he is making progress, he’s hardly a known quantity at the college level.
Then there’s James Cook. The sophomore running back was a top 50 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class. But he missed the Sugar Bowl with an ankle injury, and as Kirby Smart revealed on Tuesday, Cook is still recovering from surgery.
And there’s also Georgia leading rusher from the 2018 campaign in D’Andre Swift. The junior running back finished with 1,049 yards, but he was slowed to start the season as he recovered from surgery on both his groins. Former Georgia running back Robert Edwards revealed that Swift has been battling an ankle injury this spring.
To cover up for some of the injuries, Georgia has experimented with moving outside linebacker Walter Grant to running back. But there is still one guy we haven’t mentioned, and it’s becoming more and more clear he’s going to be a key member of Georgia’s offense in 2018. It’s senior running back Brian Herrien.
As a junior, Herrien finished third on the team in rushing with 250 yards. But when he was given a time to shine, Herrien impressed in games against Tennessee, Auburn and Texas. At 6-foot, 210 pounds, Herrien isn’t the bruising running back that Elijah Holyfield was, but he was still an effective runner for Georgia in 2018. And he’ll likely have to be even more of that in 2019.
Given that White, Swift and Cook are currently battling injuries in the spring — and have dealt with them in past — Georgia is going to need at someone it can turn to as a consistent option. And Herrien certainly looks like that guy in 2019.
Holyfield filled that role for Georgia in 2018. Going from his sophomore to junior year, Holyfield pushed his output from 293 rushing yards to 1,018. Herrien may not make the same jump given that White figures to play a larger role at some point this season. But it’s clear Herrien is going to be a guy Georgia turns to more often this season, whether Georgia’s backfield is fully healthy or not.
Herrien may not have the hype of some of Georgia’s other running backs. But that doesn’t matter when Herrien has proven he can be counted on when called upon. Expect that to happen a lot more in 2019.
Dan Mullen is at it again, takes another shot at Georgia football
In March, Florida coach Dan Mullen seemed to take a swipe at Georgia. Well he’s done it again in April, this time over Georgia’s scheduling.
Earlier this week it was announced that Georgia would be playing Florida State in the year’s 2027 and ’28. Mullen isn’t impressed by the addition of another Power 5 opponent, as he pointed that the Gators play the Seminoles every year.
“We play Florida State, so people are trying to catch up to us, with how tough our schedule is, to be honest with you,” Mullen said. “We play Florida State every year, right? Georgia is playing them. They’re trying to catch up to us, I guess. Toughen their schedule.”
There are a lot of way to dissect Mullen’s comments. The Florida coach also added that the Gators are playing a “tough” non-conference slate in 2019, as the Gators take on Miami and the Seminoles.
“We play one of the toughest schedules. It would be hard-pressed to find somebody non-conference next year. We’re playing Miami and Florida State.”
As for finding a tougher non-conference schedule, Bulldogs fans can look at their own. Georgia’s two Power Five opponents in 2019, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, combined to go 19-6 in 2018. Miami and Florida State went 12-13. And Georgia Tech also beat Miami, while Notre Dame pummeled the Seminoles.
The Gators pretty much don’t play non-conference games outside of the state Florida.
Other than playing Michigan in Arlington, Texas to open the 2017 season — a game Florida lost 33-17 — the Gators haven’t played a non-conference regular-season game outside of Florida since Syracuse in 1991. It was Steve Spurrier’s second season with the Gators. Florida lost that game, 38-21.
We wrote yesterday that the rest of college football should adopt Smart’s scheduling policy.
Clemson and Dabo Swinney have scheduled similarly tough games, as have a number of other elite programs. It’s clear Mullen doesn’t see eye to eye with Smart on this issue.
This really shouldn’t come as a big surprise, given Smart and Mullen seem to disagree on just about everything, like two feuding siblings.
When Smart spoke about Georgia’s scheduling philosophy, he didn’t mention what other schools are doing. He was trying to look out for what’s best for Georgia football. He didn’t feel the need to take a swipe at another program.
“I also think that at the University of Georgia you should be able to recruit the finest, best players in the country out of your own state and across the country,” Smart said. “Our academic institution is so highly thought of, so I want to have the best players, I want to play the best teams. Kids come to this college to play big games. They do not come to play, I would never name anybody, but they don’t come to play anybody they haven’t seen before. They want to play the best teams, so we want to go schedule the best teams.”
As far as chasing Florida, the last two times Georgia and Florida have met, the Bulldogs have won by a combined 78-24. And Mullen is 1-9 in career games against Smart.
As a reminder, there are 210 days since Georgia and Florida meet in Jacksonville and 888 days since the Gators have beaten the Bulldogs.
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— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) April 4, 2019
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