Zamir White knows the benefits of a bowl game better than most. For much of the 2019 season, he served as the third-string running back behind D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien.
But in the 2020 Sugar Bowl against Baylor, Swift was limited to just two plays and Herrien did not play at all. That then thrust White into the lead ball-carrier role.
He played well against Baylor, rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. He’s held that lead role into the 2020 season, as he led the Bulldogs with 740 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games for Georgia.
“I feel like that game helped in my confidence, just getting back out there as a starter, just being back in my groove, just getting the reps,” White told reporters on Zoom on Tuesday. “That game was definitely a big part of my starting out.”
White wasn’t the only Georgia running back who found success this season, as the Bulldogs also turned to James Cook, Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton. Freshman running back Daijon Edwards even found success late in the year, as he topped 100 yards in the final game of the season.
But still, White is the tip of the spear for the Georgia rushing attack. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is certainly aware of that.
“They have an extremely good offensive line,” Freeman said. “Good stable of running backs, White is the lead carrier, done an unbelievable job.”
While much of the talk centers around what JT Daniels can and is going to do in the future for Georgia, White is also worth focusing on.
As is Daniels, White is a redshirt sophomore who has an NFL decision to make. He has an injury history as he’s torn two ACLs, but he’s playing well to end the season as he rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the past two games.
He was also non-committal in what his future looks like after the game against Cincinnati.
“I’m just trying to, like, focus on this season right here, just end right with a win,” White said. “So, like, I’m not really focused on that right now.”
White along with his Georgia teammates are very focused on the game against Cincinnati. It will be an intriguing matchup as the Bearcats have the No. 1 defense in the country in terms of yards per play allowed.
And Freeman and his defense have their eyes on stopping White and the Georgia ground game first and foremost.
“We have to understand we have to stop the run, do everything in our power to stop the run, or it can be a long day,” Freeman said. “It’s our job, the way we prepare, obviously schematically, we got to do things to make sure we stop the run.”
The game against Cincinnati could be White’s final game for Georgia. Even if Cincinnati and the Peach Bowl aren’t the ending most had envisioned for the 2020 Georgia team, White is still preparing for the game just as he did last year against Baylor.
He knows it’s an opportunity to either build on his NFL resume or show what the Georgia offense could be with him and Daniels both returning for another season.
“It’s an exciting time, especially for me,” Monken said. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to have a legit off-season, be able to study what we did, what the difference is that we want to change as we move forward.”
Georgia running back Zamir White and Kearis Jackson talk Cincinnati
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