Posted: 10:00 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Ten@10: Talking tailbacks, Grantham, TV debuts and ice buckets 

By Chip Towers

Together again: Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are both healthy again and ready to be the first and second punch in a five-punch backfield. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

Together again: Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are both healthy again and ready to be the first and second punch in a five-punch backfield. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

THE TEN AT 10

1. I had a brief audience last week with Georgia tailback Todd Gurley, who acknowledged reports that he is currently in the best shape of his career.

“Yeah, I’ve been feeling good,” the 6-foot-1, 226-pound junior said. “I haven’t been really getting tired at all. I’ve been feeling great.”

After an injury-riddled sophomore season, Gurley has been able to participate in every practice and workout since offseason workouts began in February. Coaches Mike Bobo and Bryan McClendon challenged Gurley to exhibit leadership by example heading into what’s expected to be his final year in college. Gurley has been able to answer that without a misstep to this point.

Gurley is the subject of a profile written by AJC’s Steve Hummer that will appear in our college football preview section, which comes out this weekend. Be sure to check it out.

Brendan Douglas could be saying, "don't forget about about me," but he's not. (UGA photo by Sean Taylor)

Brendan Douglas could be saying, “don’t forget about about me,” but he’s not. (UGA photo by Sean Taylor)

2. Gurley’s solid body of work has been talked about a good bit during this preseason camp. What has been less discussed has been durability displayed Gurley’s cohort in the backfield, Keith Marshall.

Marshall, who is coming off an ACL reconstruction last December, also has been able to get through Georgia’s preseason camp without any setbacks. At one point consideration was being given to redshirt year for Marshall. Now it appears he is not only firmly entrenched as Gurley’s backup, but he may be getting close to becoming 1-B to Gurley’s 1-A once again.

It’s easy to forget that, before both of them got injured a third of the way into last season, Gurley and Marshall were averaging 17.1 and 12.7 carries a game, respectively.

“I’m definitely glad he’s back and I’m proud of him,” Gurley said of having Marshall back in the fold. “He’s been having a great camp. He’s been able to finish a lot of his runs. Last year at this time, if somebody would have grabbed his legs, he probably would have (gone down). But he’s definitely driving his knees a lot more and finishing his runs.”

I haven’t had a chance to talk to Marshall during this preseason and am not sure if he’ll make himself available before the first game. The last time I heard anything from the former 5-star tailback was when he talked to Dawg247’s Gentry Estes during the Bulldogs’ visit to Camp Sunshine back in July.

“It was just a bump in the road,” Marshall said them. “You’ve got to get over it. I’m not doing to dwell on it. Three years down the road no one is going to feel back for you because you tore your ACL. . … After it happened, I focused on rehab and getting back stronger.” “They look just like me and Keith, doing the same things we’ve been doing. They’re pressing their tracks, hitting it full speed, just bringing it every day.

3. Of course, Georgia ended up playing a total of 11 games without either Gurley or Marshall, and Gurley was limited to fewer than 10 carries in two other games due to injuries. Freshman backups Brendan D0uglas and J.J. Green came through big time for the Bulldogs during that stretch, averaging 58 yards a game between them. But Georgia appears even better equipped to withstand such a scenario this season.

Though Green has moved to defense, Douglas is back and has been as solid ever working third team behind Gurley and Marshall. And, of course, Georgia’s two 5-star freshman signees Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have generated plenty of buzz in camp.

“They look just like me and Keith,” Gurley said. “They’re doing the same things we’ve been doing. They’re pressing their tracks, hitting it full speed, just bringing it every day.”

How Georgia might work in the freshmen with three established veterans ahead of them — or if they’ll even try — is one of the biggest mysteries heading into next week.

“We’ll see what happens,” Douglas told reporters after a recent practice. “It’s up to the coaches. If they want me to play I’m ready to go. It’s fine. I love competing and we’re competing for the job. But, then again, we’re helping each other out and trying to make each other better.”

Todd Grantham says he "laughed off" SI's report of significant friction between him and Bobby Petrino. (AP photo)

Todd Grantham says he “laughed off” SI’s report of significant friction between him and Bobby Petrino. (AP photo)

4. Interesting read about Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and his new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in the Sports Illustrated college preview section. According to reporters Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans, who cited sources “with ties to the team,” there is “significant friction” between the former Georgia defensive coordinator and his new boss. The sources claim that that their working relationship is so bad that Petrino would have fired Grantham before the season opener if it wasn’t for his iron-clad, five-year, $5 million contract.

Of course, that news came as no surprise to Georgia fans and observers, who watched Grantham up close the last three years in Athens. Both Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz of The AJC weighed in on the situation yesterday. Bradley has included a poll with his blog if you’d like to cast a vote.

So far, though, FootballScoop.com is the only outlet to have talked to Grantham about it. In a telephone interview with Scott Roussel, Grantham said he “laughed off” the report and insists that he and his family are very happy in Louisville.

5. There’s a great event for fathers in Norcross on Saturday that I’m hoping to drop in on. It’s called “All Pro Dad Live” and it will be hosted by former NFL coach Tony Dungy, Atlanta-based comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and Georgia coach Mark Richt inside the Long Forum on Greater Atlanta Christian School campus.

Dungy and Richt are longtime friends and spokesmen for All Pro Dads. The stated purpose of the live event is “to remind men of their importance in the family model, to encourage and equip men to become better fathers and to create community and share some laughs.” In addition to the three headliners, other speakers include Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Danny Wuerffel, current and former NFL executives Mark Dominick and Troy Vincent, Fox News anchor Bret Baier and FedEx COO and President Michael Ducker.

The all-day affair starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at THIS WEBSITE.

6. Georgia’s women’s soccer team is slated to make a little history this week. The Bulldogs’ season opener on the road against Ole Miss this Friday will be aired on the SEC Network. That will make it the first in-season live sports event of any kind to be broadcast on the new network, which debuted August 14. Georgia and the Rebels are slated to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.

That’s one of three soccer games the Bulldogs will have nationally televised this fall. They’ll also be on the SEC Network against Vanderbilt on Sept. 21 (3 p.m.) and on ESPNU against LSU on Oct. 19 (3 p.m.). Depending on where UGA finishes during regular-season league play, the SEC Network will also televise the first, quarterfinal, and semifinal rounds of the SEC Soccer Championships Nov. 3-9 in Orange Beach, Ala. The finals will air on ESPNU.

Like pretty much all other sports, all other Georgia home games will be carried live on the SEC Network’s digital platform, SEC Network + (plus). IMG’s Kevin Copp and Lisa Boyd will provide commentary for those games.

Coach Steve Holeman’s soccer team is coming off a 3-0 win over Auburn in exhibition action this past Saturday at the UGA Soccer Stadium. The Bulldogs got goals from sophomores Alexa Antetomaso and Rachel Garcia and freshman Kelsey Killean. Freshman goalkeeper Louise Hogrell recorded the shutout.

7. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is now making its way through Georgia’s athletics department. First senior offensive tackle Watts Dantzler, whose father Danny Dantzler died of ALS five years ago, enlisted Coach Richt to help him and his mother and two others answer the challenge on the Woodruff Practice Fields. Then on Sunday, Chuck Dowdle called out Cindy Fox, Kathryn Richt and Suzanne Yoculan Leebern. They answered the challenge on Monday, and now they’ve called out gymnastics coach Danna Durante, basketball coach Mark Fox and Coach Richt. It’ll be interesting to see what they’ll come up with to top them.

8.  I didn’t see this video of Stephen A. Smith speaking at Columbus State back when it originally was recorded at the end of July. Nevertheless a portion of it was being re-circulated via social media this week because of what the controversial ESPN personality said about the arrests of UGA football players over the last half a year. It’s probably not what you’d expect. So for what it’s worth, here it is. …

9. Speaking of videos, UGA has put together a pretty good one that chronicles the football team’s time working this summer with “The Program,” a group of special forces and Navy SEALs veterans who put the Bulldogs through the paces for two days this summer.

10. This & that: You hear us media types talking glowingly all the time about Georgia’s Hall of Fame sports communications director Claude Felton. Claude works pretty hard to stay behind the curtain, but Bulldawg Illustrated published a nice piece about him on Tuesday. … Did you see where former Bulldog Blair Walsh made a 70-yard field goal in pregame warmups this past weekend?  … Crawford Berry is a diver from Alpharetta who is transferring to Georgia from Darton State. He recently was named the 2014 David Rowlands Male Student-Athlete of the Year for all sports in the NJCAA. Berry spent two years at the Albany school and swept the 1- and 3-meter springboards at the national meet each season. He is the first participant in swimming and diving to win the award, which began in 1993.

101 comments
SimpleDawg
SimpleDawg

Good perspective by SAS. Thankfully, UGA deals with these transgressions and doesn't sweep them under the rug.

Georgia has a stable of running backs unequaled in CFB.

I never thought Petrino and Grantham would be a good match.....Too much ego, too much blather, too little self control in both..... When the bomb goes off, there'll be a mushroom cloud visible for hundreds of miles.

Go Dawgs!

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Did they close the AJC today?

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

From accounts taken from Tuesday's practice, it seems that Hutson Mason is throwing the ball around beautifully, hitting receivers in stride, something Murray never quite mastered. It looks like it may be coming together nicely. I sure hope that Gurley is being honest about Marshall having learned how to avoid being breathed on and toppling to the ground. I now believe that Coach Pruitt will field a nasty defense on August 30th. From accounts from Clemson practices, their QB leaves a lot to be desired. At least there will be a week off and new 2014 film of Spurrier's squad to study before that trip to the chicken coop. Oh yeah, and it seems that Richt's buddy Tony Dungy has turned out to be a typical idiot media pundit. Will refuse to recite "Redskins" on his show. What an idiot.

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

OH-IDIOT is a tech troll.  Why would an OSU fan spend his all his time on a UGA blog?  Answer: they wouldn't.  However, a tech fan would.

TampGator1
TampGator1

I must say....the Braxton Miller injury.....is the kind of bad karma that OH-IO deserves....but not Braxton Miller.  Still top 5 without Miller....OH-IO?  We will see.  But no excuses....OH-IO.....after all your rants about Florida and Georgia last year and leading up to this year.  And that is only one key injury that might take your team down a bunch of notches.....not 8 or 10.....like Florida and Georgia last year.  Not saying I am sad to hear the news for OH-IO.  Make no excuses this year.   

HotDawg
HotDawg

Kudos to Stephen A. Smith for his UGA comments.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

I agree it is sad about Braxton, but hysterical for THE OS fans and THE King Urban!!! The Suckeyes spent so much time running-up scores on terrible teams they forgot to pull Braxton and give their back-up QBs some experience. Now their QBs have only thrown 2 passes in their careers. Where are the obnoxious OS fans when we need them. Go Spartans, Wolverines and Badgers!!!

Columbus68
Columbus68

I hate it for Miller but could not be HAPPIER FOR URBAN MEYER AND OHIO STATE.  Dont feel sorry for them, They only got the easiest schedule in the nation.  Their express path to the playoffs just ended and the playing field got leveled for the rest of us.  That being said, with that schedule, they can EASILY make it into the playoffs.  But will get creamed when they get there.  But what am I saying?  Apparently the Miller injury will not make a difference because they were going to get creamed when they got into the playoffs with him!  OSU, still a pretender.  They have a great record because of their easy schedule.  They still BARELY win most games.  Just like Notre Dame 2 years ago, when they play a real team, they get demolished.  BIGGEST PRETENDERS THE LAST 2 YEARS....AND THIS ONE....OHIO STATE.  WHAT A JOKE!

DawginCO
DawginCO

It's too bad that for those of us who have been here for a while, our first thought when hearing the news about Braxton Miller is to want to rub the jerk that was once Buckeye 's face in it.  The kid deserves better than that.  It's not his fault some whacked out jerk off fan likes to act like a complete slime bag and troll a team's blogs that Ohio St has played (and lost to)just once.


I don't like Ohio St., they are always overhyped (kind of like Notre Dame) but you can't wish a kid that came back for his senior season anything but the best.  And while it will be amusing to see the team's struggles this fall, I sure wouldn't ever want that at the expense of a kid's whole season and possibly his future as well.  I sure hope he can recover completely and at least take a stab at the NFL.

CallingOutWhiners
CallingOutWhiners

So we have Georgia with a Healthy Backfield. ......Check.......

We have Ohio State and Urban losing their quarterback for the season.......he was worth a couple of wins.

We have a True Freshman Epps at Ole Miss getting arrested for driving without a license, and weed. ..DUMMY

We have and SI report about Petrino and Grantham and their dislike for each other.......one is an offensive guy who teams have never played defense and a defensive guy who wants every athlete on the defensive side...

One has a history of making foolish mistake after foolish mistake and the other is known for his hand gestures.

Gasoline and Dynamite......maybe they can explode in the ACC in the future?


And finally the SEC Network is still not available on Verizon Fios.....

awreed79
awreed79

#2 - Last paragraph - Copy and paste fail!

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ColumbusDawg " Hitting receivers in stride, something Murray never quite mastered" are you kidding me? How many SEC records did he break last year? And Marshall falling down when he gets breathed on? Something in that coffee this morning. AM hit a NFL TE 2 nights ago in stride, bet you any amount HM will never do that.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@TheBigWally I've said that plenty of times myself. I wonder if in his little mind he thinks if he portrays to be a fan of another team like Ohio State, 1) he can get the attention/bad talk off Georgia Tech and on the team he's portraying to be fan of and 2) He can somehow pretend to be a fan of a team that is highly ranked as if to have some kind of pull on the blogs here over the Bulldogs and he chose Ohio State because Urban Meyer (who had a very good record vs. UGA while at Florida) is the coach of the Buckeyes. It all makes sense. I don't think a real Ohio State fan would troll UGA blogs constantly either. But he's hellbent on claiming he's an OSU fan. Haha.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@TampGator1 Ohio State still top 5 without their Heisman candidate QB? Laughable. They might win 8 games this year. They didn't even win their conference WITH him last year. Michigan State is the defending Big 10 champ. Now without him they'll likely fall from grace. Remember, they are replacing 4 of 5 O-linemen from last season, their leading rusher (Carlos Hyde) now plays in the NFL and they also don't have their leading receiver from last season. Buckeyes won't be all what they're hyped up to be. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@TampGator1 OH-IO took way more crap than he gave out, he had the entire SEC insulting him. Cut the guy some slack.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

@HotDawg Really...what did you think Steven would say in Columbus? Richt arrest record is clear and Smith isn't going to make a difference. Maybe it makes you feel better.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Smith is spot-on and I appreciate his candor. Go Dawgs

PigIron
PigIron

@Buzz-Off  "The Suckeyes spent so much time running-up scores on terrible teams they forgot to pull Braxton and give their back-up QBs some experience."

I haven't really followed OSU well enough to know if that is even true, but I do agree that such behavior represents a boneheaded move on the part of a Head Coach.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Buzz-Off So if our QB J.Thomas had a season ending injury you would think it would be hysterical for us? 

DawginCO
DawginCO

@Columbus68 They won't make it if they don't win the Big Ten CG.  They have to go through Mich St to even get there.  Being shown up 2 years in a row by Sparty will most definitely cool the hype around the Suckeyes.

PigIron
PigIron

@DawginCO


He should qualify for a medical redshirt. Perhaps he will be back at OSU next year?

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

I agree and wish Braxton a speedy recovery. I also hope THE OSU gets pounded this year. They have the most obnoxious fans in America!!!

DawginCO
DawginCO

@gtcaryd  He is right.  Murray was good but he had trouble hitting guys in stride.  Sure he got it to them but they usually had to slow own or reach back for it.  It been talked about many times.  As for Marshall, you must not have watched many games (surprise).  Marshall is fast and all but he was easily tripped up.  He'd hit a hole and a defender would reach out and knock his foot and he'd tumble to the ground for a couple of yards.  It happened several times each game.

Sorry but he is absolutely correct and if both accounts are true things will be even better for a potent Dawg's offense this year.

The_Real_KJ
The_Real_KJ

@DawgGoneIt Hard to say, there are a LOT of delusional Browneyes out there... it goes all the way to the president ("little sisters of the poor", "I hope [Tressel] doesn't dismiss ME!").  You would think a team that's been Steubenville'd by the entire SEC would be wary of talking trash in this area of the country.... but you'd be wrong, unfortunately.

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@DawgGoneIt You got it.  He got exposed last year.  Another techster came on here to  tell everyone he was really an OSU fan.  Now think about that stupidity. Why would a tech fan come on here to claim someone else was really an OSU fan? (they didn't think that one out too well).  When OSU was playing Northwestern on National TV last year, he was on here yacking away about Ga. He didn't even know OSU was on TV, til someone on here told him, then he disappeared real quick.  He's a tech fan and hates Ga. and the SEC.  

DawginCO
DawginCO

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  Yeah it does.  The problem isn't lack of discipline.  If that were the case they would all still be on the tem with no consequences.  Sorry but that is the way it really is.  Maybe it makes you feel better to try to equate this to poor discipline and thinking that Richt is a softy.  You've been riding it since I first started reading these blogs.  I think his players would tell you otherwise.  I think I'd take their word over yours.  They know the deal and you just speculate from a biased viewpoint.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@gtcaryd nope.  GT isn't massively overrated and doesn't play a soft schedule to pad their win totals.   The love affair between the press and Urban Meyer only magnifies my loathing for Ohio St.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@DawginCO @Columbus68 That Back-up QB is like a box of chocolate, you never know what youe gonna get. Remember Manny Mauk?

DawginCO
DawginCO

@PigIron  He needs to play and look healthy if he wants the NFL to give him a look.  If I were him I would not try to go straight to the NFL after recovering.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Buzz-Off 


OH-IO does not represent Buckeye Nation.....I can clearly tell you that.  He is the polar opposite of most of them.  Most are great fans who support their team as well as any fan base in America.  They are SEC quality fans.....rabid to the core.  OH-IO is something completely different.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@gtcaryd Yes. He actually came back for his senior season after not entering the NFL draft. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@DawginCO @gtcaryd So you are going to stand by that statement, Hutson Mason is better than AM? So you think HM will play in the NFL? Sunshine lolipops and rainbows..........you know the rest.....15-0 baby, yeah. lol

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@DawgGoneIt That's a shame. Hopefully he can heal and get drafted, AM seems to be doing very well.