Brendan Douglas fighting to stay in the mix in UGA’s backfield

When Brendan Douglas arrived in Athens last summer, he had no idea — and therefore, no expectations — about the Georgia football season that awaited.


Chris Starrs

As a freshman tailback, he was well aware that playing time would probably be sparse as long as Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall stayed healthy. But Gurley suffered an ankle injury in late September and Marshall went out for the season with a torn ACL a week later, providing the 5-foot-11, 202-pound Douglas an opportunity to contribute.

“I pretty much came in to work hard and to do what the coaches tell me to do,” Douglas said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen because I had those two great running backs ahead of me. I didn’t expect things to happen like they did, but the coaches had me ready for it, so it was alright.”

Playing in 12 games, the Augusta native ran for 345 yards and three touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 172 yards and another score. Critical fumbles in both the Missouri and Vanderbilt games marked down moments for Douglas, but as far as he’s concerned, that’s all in the past.

“It’s something you’ve got to move on from eventually,” he said. “It shouldn’t happen – it’s not acceptable. It was disappointing and I was disappointed about it, but then again you’ve just got to move on, get over it and working on it every day.”

And as the Bulldogs’ Aug. 30 opener against Clemson moves closer, Douglas again doesn’t harbor any expectation as to when or if he’ll be called upon. Besides a healthier Gurley and Marshall, Douglas is also sharing practice time with high-profile freshmen Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, making for at least one spot where Georgia has an enviable surplus of bodies.

“I don’t know — we’ll see what happens,” Douglas said. “It’s up to the coaches, and 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.

Quarterback Hutson Mason, who says he considers Douglas a starter alongside Gurley and Marshall, added that he greatly appreciates what Douglas brings to the field.

“Brendan is that quiet bulldozer,” Mason said. “He does a lot of the dirty work. It may be that around campus that a lot of people don’t know Brendan Douglas, but he’s a tough downhill runner. He’s going to get that short yardage for you, those touchdowns in the red zone.

“A lot of guys have a respect for him because they understand he’s not the flashy guy who’s going to put up two touchdowns and 150 yards a game or get you a lot of fantasy points, so to speak. He’s just going to do that dirty work that you need on third-and-short.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt — who pointed out last week that Douglas had yet to miss a summer practice — echoed Mason’s confidence in the running back.

“He knows what to do and he’s ready to play in big games,” Richt said.

In addition to being teammates with Gurley and Marshall, Douglas said that in some ways he’s their student.

“It’s great. You learn from them so much, just watching them play and seeing what they do,” Douglas said. “You just want to try to carry it over from their play and learn from them — watching their film and seeing what they do.”

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