ATHENS — Georgia linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson had a good quip about the Auburn rushing attack when speaking to reporters this week.
“They’ve got four ball handlers, we’ve got five or six linebackers,” Dumas-Johnson said. “We have depth in our room and we believe in every single guy in our room. They’ve got four, we’ve got six linebackers. It ain’t a big problem to us.”
Georgia might not have that same number of ball handlers when it comes to their own running back room.
Injuries continue to be an issue for this group. Kendall Milton and Roderick Robinson both missed Georgia’s game against UAB. Milton is dealing with an MCL issue while Robinson has a high ankle sprain.
“Roderick hasn’t gone much,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said following practice on Tuesday. “He’s been in the training room dealing with the high ankle, but Kendall was able to go some today and did some stuff. Again, I saw him out there. I didn’t get to see how much he did or how he looked doing it. I’ll evaluate that on tape. But he was able to take reps and go and cut and do some things.”
It seems more optimistic that Milton will at least make the trip to Auburn this weekend and Georgia will make a decision on his availability closer to game time.
In the event Milton can’t go, Georgia’s run game will look something like it did on Saturday against UAB. Daijun Edwards carried the ball for Georgia 12 times, finishing with 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. He continues to look like Georgia’s best back, showing some impressive wiggle in between the tackles.
He was spelled by Dillon Bell and Cash Jones on a first-team basis. Bell has shown playmaking ability at both wide receiver and running back. Jones meanwhile is Georgia’s preferred pass-catching running back, while also earning some red zone carries for Georgia as well.
It will be worth seeing how much Georgia uses Andrew Paul. He did not have a carry in Georgia’s last SEC game against South Carolina. But against UAB, he had 7 carries for 31 yards.
“He’s really improved tremendously at his pass pro, picking people up. He’s thick, he’s heavy,” Smart said. “We’ve got some guys that we feel like are different than him in terms of weapons. Whether it’s Cash, Dillon, Kendall, Daijun, those guys are playing there too. We feel like Andrew has done a good job and continues to improve.”
Defensively, Auburn hasn’t been the stoutest defensive front, with the Tigers ranking 74th in the country in rush defense. Georgia won’t have Amarius Mims out at right tackle as he is still recovering from ankle surgery but inserting Dylan Fairchild in at left guard seems to have stabilized the offensive line. Xavier Truss is likely to continue to play right tackle for Georgia.
Saturday will be Georgia’s first road game of the season, making it Carson Beck’s first-ever road start. Many eyes will be on the Georgia quarterback to see how he handles the hostile environment.
But a strong or even capable running game for Georgia should make things much, much easier for the Georgia quarterback.