ATHENS — Quayvon Hicks is under no illusions. He doesn’t expect to unseat Sony Michel or Keith Marshall and become Georgia’s new starting tailback.
But the full-time fullback is pretty pumped about getting to be a part-time tailback at least for a few weeks in his last season as a Bulldog.
“Playing the position at 260 pounds, I just pound the rock,” said Hicks, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound senior who played defensive tackle at Pierce County High in Blackshear. “I do what I do best. It’s just like fullback. It’s a man position. You’ve got to be a man.”
Georgia coach Mark Richt surprised a lot of people Tuesday when he said that Hicks, who is the Bulldogs’ starting fullback, would also be cross-training at the tailback position this week. Georgia is of course one player shorter at the position after losing star tailback Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury this past Saturday.
And Richt indicated it’s not just an experiment for specialized situations. He’s prepared to put in Hicks in any situation. Hicks worked there
“Mainly because he’s played a lot of plays in his career,” Richt said. “We’ve trained him in the past at that position, and he’s got some pretty good running skills. He’s a physical back and he’s also probably a better pass protector as well. So that’s the kind of guys we want to go into a game with.”
Hicks knows a thing or two about cross-training. Since being switched to fullback shortly after arriving as a freshman in 2012, he has also had incarnations as an H-back and a tight end while also remaining a constant on numerous special teams.
He has always distinguished himself as a play-maker, peeling off runs or catches of more than 30 yards in each of the last two seasons and scoring three touchdowns in his career.
Hicks got some looks at tailback in preseason camp this fall, and Georgia coaches liked what they saw. So even though they have Brendan Douglas, A.J. Turman and Tae Crowder also waiting in the wings, they’ve remained intrigued about what Hicks might be able to do as a primary ball-carrier.
“Just playing my role,” said Hicks, who has a career yards-per-carry average of 8.3 (19-157). “Since I’ve gotten here, that’s been my thing. … You have to be selfless, so wherever I’m needed, whenever your number is called, you have to be prepared to answer. You have to be ready. It’s not a big deal to me.”
Hicks said the truth is, he’d rather not be needed. He’s not different from a lot of Georgia fans in that he has a special affection for Chubb and appreciation for what he brought to the position. And he’s similarly confident that Michel and Marshall are more than capable to getting the job done in Chubb’s absence.
That said, he’s excited about the opportunity and challenge of possibly getting on the field in the Bulldogs’ marquee position.
“The tailback position is pretty easy,” he said of learning the responsibilities. “You’ve got to be fundamentally sound, just like fullback. There are a lot of technique things. But once you get to the secondary or that second level, it’s all on you. It all depends on what type of runner you are. Obviously Coach Richt has a lot of confidence in me being at that position. But that’s not my focus. My biggest focus is that I’m doing everything I can to help this team win.”
Hicks said there were no meetings or even conversations with the coaches about their plans for him. They essentially just said, “here’s what you’re going to be doing this week.”
“It’s a business,” Hicks said. “It’s all about trust. It’s just like corporate America. A manager or a supervisor goes down or someone’s sick, there’s always somebody else who can fall into that place. It might not be a Nick Chubb or a Todd Gurley, but whatever gets the job done and helps the team win, that’s what it’s all about. In other terms, whatever helps the company out and keeps everything flowing.”
In Hicks’ case, that’s 260 pounds of help.