ATHENS — This has become pretty familiar to Brendan Douglas. Start the season low on a star-studded Georgia tailback depth chart. And by midway through the season, he’s still getting significant carries in big games.
“Seems like it happens every year,” Douglas said.
Not “seem like,” it does. At least during Douglas’ three years at Georgia.
Two years ago, it was after injuries to Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Last year both of those two were knocked out again, in addition to Sony Michel. And this year it’s after the loss of starter Nick Chubb. After getting a combined 10 carries in Georgia’s first six games – six of them in mop-up duty against Southern – Douglas got nine carries in Georgia’s win over Missouri. Last week, with Michel resting a minor groin injury, Douglas actually got some first-team reps.
The surprise is that Marshall has ceded some carries to Douglas. Head coach Mark Richt said part of that was “situational,” and expressed confidence in Marshall, who only had five carries against Missouri.
“He’s a guy who when he gets ahold of it has a chance to take it to the house,” Richt said. “Unfortunately once he’s gotten through the line of scrimmage he hasn’t been able to make the last guy miss this year. And sometimes we haven’t gotten him to the point of being able to do that. But he’s a good back, he’s definitely a guy that we believe in and is gonna get carries. And if he gets hot he’s gonna carry it even more.”
Still, the coaches like Douglas’ straight-ahead, bullish running abilities. He may not be big or fast, but he is averaging 4.83 yards per touch in his career. And it appears likely Douglas will remain a factor the rest of the season.
The better Douglas (and Marshall) can play, the more Michel could not only be rested but be used as a receiver, a role he excelled at before Chubb’s injury.
“I’ve been really blessed to have a little bit of athletic ability,” Douglas said. “I don’t know if it’s a certain thing, really, but I think the coaches know that I’m prepared and I’m ready to play whenever they need me.”