FIVE THINGS TO KNOW …
1. Is it time for Keith Marshall to get more totes? That has been the assertion of several fans lately. And Georgia coach Mark Richt does not disagree.
At least that’s what he told an in-person guest who inquired about it as Richt conducted his radio call-in show on Monday.
“I think you’re right, we need to get him the ball a little bit more than we have been,” Richt said.
Marshall, a 5-foot-11, 212-pound junior, has played in every game this season, including the Florida game this past weekend. However, his work has been extremely limited throughout.
The one-time star got four touches – three rushes and one reception — against the Gators and finished with 22 total yards. Trouble was, all his opportunities came on one offensive series in the second half against Florida. After the Bulldogs faced fourth down and then failed to convert with a fake punt in the third quarter, Marshall left the game, never to return.
Since having 10 carries for 73 yards and scoring two touchdowns against Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener, Marshall has averaged just 3.7 carries in the seven games since. Expect more going forward.
“Yeah, I’ve seen him improve basically weekly,” Richt said Tuesday. “I think he’s in a good position to get more totes. That would be my guess going into this week.”
2. Georgia’s confidence in Marshall is a good thing since starter Sony Michel is going to be playing hurt on Saturday. The sophomore from Fort Lauderdale broke a bone in his right hand on his first carry from scrimmage against the Gators. It was a 27-yard gain but was nullified by a holding call on fullback Quayvon Hicks.
Michel emerged at Tuesday’s media day with a small cast on his right hand. He said he does not expect it to limit his abilities to carry his duties against Kentucky.
“Yeah, I’m just going to play,” Michel said. “No excuses once I’m on the field. I’m going to be carrying the ball probably in my left hand, just to be on the safe side.”
Michel has been the starter since Nick Chubb was sidelined for the season with a knee injury on the first play from scrimmage against Tennessee on Oct. 10. Michel is the leading active ball-carrier with 553 yards and 4 touchdowns and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
At this point it would be a relative victory if Michel can just get out of the first quarter without complications. Michel had to hustle off the field to the locker room to attend to hip and groin injuries after the Bulldogs’ first possession of the Missouri game and then was hurt on the first play against Florida this past Saturday.
Georgia has turned to junior Brendan Douglas to fill in the gaps. He is averaging 4.0 yards on 22 carries.
3. The Bulldogs had managed to avoid off-the-field trouble for the last year — that is, until early Wednesday morning. Freshman Natrez Patrick, a linebacker, and Chauncey Rivers, a defensive back, were booked into Athens-Clarke County Jail in the wee hours on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. AJC reporter Seth Emerson is working the story and the police report will not be available until sometime Wednesday afternoon.
4. In light of Georgia’s monumental offensive struggles of late, it would follow that the Bulldogs’ defense is probably feeling a little pressure to keep opponents out of the end zone.
The Bulldogs’ offense accounted for just 9.75 points a game in October, a month in which it went 1-3 with losses to Alabama (38-10), Tennessee (38-31) and Florida (27-3). They won the Missouri game 9-6 on three field goals.
UGA has failed to score a touchdown in the last two games, which hasn’t happened since the end of the 1969 season. It’s been 29 offensive drives since Georgia reached the end zone.
“I feel like we definitely want to alleviate as much stress as possible, to take some of the heat off the offense,” senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “Because I know in the last couple of seasons the offense has done that for us. There’s a couple games last season where I know for a fact that’s happened. At the end of the day you’ve gotta be there for your brother, you’re gotta be there for your teammates. You’ve got to try to help them out as much as you can.”
Georgia averaged 41.3 points a game — tops in the SEC — a year ago.
5. The Bulldogs’ basketball season gets underway in earnest this weekend. The Georgia men plays host to Armstrong Atlantic in an exhibition game Friday night at 7 at Stegeman Coliseum.
Coach Mark Fox is expected to introduce two new post starters in that game in forwards Yante Maten, a sophomore, and freshman Derek Ogbeide.