Ten@10: Todd Gurley on track to run down Herschel Walker’s TD record

After Saturday's game against South Carolina, Georgia tailback Todd Gurley is averaging 164.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

After Saturday’s game against South Carolina, Georgia tailback Todd Gurley is averaging 164.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. To use an old Southern saying, Todd Gurley is starting to get into some tall cotton.

For you transplants out there, that means his production has been bountiful. For example, the junior tailback scored another touchdown (should’ve had at least one more, but that’s another story) against South Carolina this past Saturday. That gave him five this season and 38 for his career.

Do you know how many players have scored more touchdowns than that during their UGA careers?

That’d be one. Some kid from Wrightsville named Herschel Walker who played back in the 1980s.

Gurley had 131 yards on 20 carries in the 38-35 loss to South Carolina. A lot of folks would argue he should’ve had one to three more carries, which would have amounted to no more than four more yards. But , again, that is another story.

Remember this guy? (UGA photo)

Remember this guy? (UGA photo)

2. With Gurley, it seems we’re always talking about what he could have had rather than just what he has. And what he’s got is pretty good.

Gurley’s 100-plus-yards performance was his 15th as a Bulldog. He now has 2,703 rushing yards overall, which places him fifth on Georgia’s all-time list. And he should run down No. 4 real soon. Knowshon Moreno has 2,734.

I’ve often said that it’s unfair to compare any Bulldog back to Walker.  But, as pointed out by stats expert Dave McMahon, Gurley actually compares favorably to Moreno. In fact, the two have had almost identical statistical ledgers with roughly the same amount of work to this point.

Moreno, who was redshirted his first year, played just two seasons for the Bulldogs before turning pro. Gurley is actually in his third season at Georgia, but he has missed more games and had less carries. Take a look:

  • Moreno: 498 rushes for 2,734 yards – 5.5 ypc – 30 TDs – 53 receptions for 645 yards – 2 TDs
  • Gurley: 422 rushes for 2,703 yards – 6.4 ypc – 31 TDs – 58 receptions for 562 yards – 5 TDs

Gurley has had two other touchdowns on kickoff returns. Moreno, a former No. 12 draft pick who now stars for the Miami Dolphins, did not return kicks for the Bulldogs.

It’s unlikely anyone will ever duplicate Walker’s career rushing mark of 5,259 yards on 994 carries in just three seasons. Teams simply don’t give the ball to one player like that anymore. But Gurley has a shot of running down Walker’s scoring record.

Walker scored 52 TDs, or 14 more than Gurley at this moment. With at least 10 games left to play, that’s an average 1.4 the rest of the way. With good health and a little durability, that’s doable.

Troy coach Larry Blakeney said Todd Gurley reminds him of the last Bulldog to wear the number 34. (Photo from Montgomery-Advertiser)

Troy coach Larry Blakeney said Todd Gurley reminds him of the last Bulldog to wear the number 34. (Photo from Montgomery-Advertiser)

3. At least one coach believes Gurley compares favorably to Walker. That would be Troy’s Larry Blakeney, who is bringing his Trojans into Sanford Stadium this weekend to try to stop the Bulldogs’ star  back.

“He is big. He is fast. He sees well,” Blakeney said at his news conference on Monday. “Somebody asked me on the telephone if he compared to Knowshon. This one is compares to the one that everyone talks about, Herschel. He is a different style runner, but he is big and powerful and sees everything. Herschel was more in-and-out, circle because he was so fast. This guy, he looks backside. Usually those big linemen give him a place to run, too. He’s a great player in my opinion.”

4. Blakeney might be just buttering-up the Bulldogs. The fact is, the Trojans (0-3) don’t have a shot this Saturday. They’ve been a decent non-power conference FBS opponent in the past. Not this year.

Troy’s three losses this season have come to UAB (48-10), Duke (34-17) and Abilene Christian (38-35). You may recall that Abilene lost to Georgia State earlier this year to break the Panthers’ 16-game losing streak.

So what could Blakeney possibly be hoping for against Georgia?

“The team we’re playing this week is probably not a team you want to think about rectifying (against),” said Blakeney, a former player and longtime assistant coach at Auburn. “We have to try and find a way to sneak up on them and try to come out there with some kind of victory. I have looked at both sides of the ball and they are very, very good: very athletic, very big and very fast. All of the things that Georgia should be, they are.”

5. Some may recall that Georgia originally was scheduled to play South Alabama this season rather than Troy. The Bulldogs and South Carolina essentially swapped opponents with the help of the SEC office in 2013 when all the league’s schedules had to be reworked.

Troy originally was slated to play at South Carolina on Nov. 22. South Alabama, which was scheduled to play Georgia on Nov. 8, will now play the Gamecocks on Nov. 22. UGA has not rescheduled South Alabama for another date.

So for Troy, there is the $900,000 UGA agreed to pay for this game.

Georgia and Troy have played only one other time. The Moreno-led Bulldogs won 44-37 in 2007.

6. ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy published an interesting story based on a poll of coaches this past weekend. In a weekly feature called “#1QFor128,” every FBS coach was asked if they had a son playing college football and they were no longer coaching, which current FBS coach would you want him to play for?

Georgia’s Mark Richt, to no one’s surprise around here, was the No. 1 choice. But he was not alone in first. He tied with Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.

Richt and Stoops each received 8 percent of the votes. However, only 44 of the 128 coaches actually responded. Minnesota’s Jerry Kill and Stanford’s David Shaw tied for third with 7 percent of the votes and Duke’s David Cutcliffe was fifth (5 ).

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer received 4 percent of the votes, thus ruining the integrity of the poll.

A broken thumb didn't hold back Nick Chubb much against the Gamecocks, but it'll keep him out against Troy (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin).

A broken thumb didn’t hold back Nick Chubb much against the Gamecocks, but it’ll keep him out against Troy (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin).

7.  Freshman tailback Nick Chubb underwent surgery Monday to insert pins into his broken left thumb. Richt said on his radio show Monday night that there’s a chance Chubb could play Saturday against Troy on Saturday. I have no idea why the Bulldogs would even consider that for a second. And, frankly, I don’t believe that they really are.

Why would you risk injury against an 0-3, non-conference opponent when you have four other tailbacks who can carry the load? Isn’t that why you keep recruiting blue-chip prospects at the position?

By the same token, Richt has yet to update on the injury status of wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley. But, again, does he really need to?

Mitchell (knee) and Scott-Wesley (knee, ankle) have missed both of Georgia’s games so far and haven’t participated full speed in a practice since last fall. Scott-Wesley has emerged briefly from the training room to jog around next to the wide receivers and watch them go through drills. But neither has run a pass route and caught a football delivered at maximum velocity by a quarterback in weeks.

A lot of receivers are expected to get in the game against the Trojans. Neither Mitchell nor Scott-Wesley should be among them.

It's unlikely UGA will get back Justin Scott-Wesley this week. (UGA photo by Ted Mayer)

It’s unlikely UGA will get back Justin Scott-Wesley this week. (UGA photo by Ted Mayer)

8 As for Scott-Wesley, it is still unclear whether he will be suspended, has already served a suspension or hasn’t completed his suspension yet. Pressed on that subject 13 days ago, Richt categorically refused to say.

“When I think he’s ready to play, that’s when he’ll play,” Richt said. “… I always reserve the right to decide when a guy plays.”

Here’s the deal: Scott-Wesley, already sidelined then for the season with a knee injury, was arrested in his dorm room on Oct. 30, 2013, for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Two days after the arrest, Richt told the AJC that the Bulldogs will “discipline him according to our policy.”

UGA’s marijuana-use policy calls for a player to be suspended one game for a first-time offense. But it’s unknown if this instance was Scott-Wesley’s only infraction. A second offense calls for a four-game suspension and a third invokes dismissal.

Then there’s the matter of Scott-Wesley’s injury. Can he actually serve a suspension if he’s physically unable to perform? One wouldn’t think so. But, again, Richt’s not saying.

Scott-Wesley appeared nearly fully recovered from last fall’s reconstructive knee surgery late in preseason camp. But then he apparently suffered an ankle injury the week before the opener against Clemson and his availability was again in question.

In any case, it wouldn’t seem prudent to play Scott-Wesley against Troy, even if he’s cleared.

9. The Bulldogs returned to practice Monday for the first time since Saturday’s 38-35 loss to South Carolina with a crisp, 90-minute workout in shorts and helmets at Woodruff Practice Fields.

“Nobody likes to lose, but I didn’t see anyone hanging their heads out there today,” Richt said afterward. “The guys got right back to work and were focused today on what they needed to do. Troy is a fine opponent with talented players on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to work hard this week on our fundamentals and continue to correct our mistakes.”

Georgia coaches decided the captains for the Troy game based off their performances against the Gamecocks this past Saturday. They were center David Andrews and Gurley on offense, defensive end Toby Johnson on defense, and freshman tailback Sony Michel for special teams.

10. This & that: Georgia freshman Wayne Montgomery defeated Oklahoma’s Alex Ghilea, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, to win the Southern Intercollegiate Championships Division I singles title Monday morning at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. … Hugh Royer, a UGA golf letterman from 1956-58 and team captain his senior year, died recently. He was 78. Royer was a 14-year PGA Tour player, Georgia PGA past president and longtime head professional at Bull Creek Golf Course in Columbus.


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