Isaiah Crowell made strides this spring, but so did Ken Malcome.
The sophomores exit spring practices neck and neck for the starting tailback job.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve just got competition at that position,‚Äù offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. ‚ÄúI think that‚Äôs going to make them better, make our offense better. We‚Äôve got depth. It‚Äôs hard to have just one back in this league. You‚Äôve got to have two or three and I think we‚Äôre working our way to that.‚Äù
Malcome got the nod as starter on the Red team in Saturday‚Äôs 32-31 G-Day win over the Black team. He rushed for 32 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
‚ÄúToday showed what kind of back I am and what I‚Äôm trying to prove,‚Äù Malcome said.
Crowell ran for 39 yards on 10 carries.
‚ÄúI thought they ran well,‚Äù coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúI thought they got yards after contact. They had some tough yards.‚Äù
Crowell, Georgia‚Äôs leading rusher last year, said he did not miss a practice repetition this spring because of injury after he had trouble staying on the field during a turbulent season.
He lowered his head and gained six yards on his first carry of the day, drawing applause from fans.
‚ÄúI heard them cheering and I appreciate that,‚Äù Crowell said. ‚ÄúI know when you do stuff good, they‚Äôll be on your side, and when you do stuff bad, they won‚Äôt be on your side. I understand that.‚Äù
Malcome quit the team briefly last season, but returned to start two games and rush for 174 yards.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know for sure how he‚Äôs going to finish, but he‚Äôs on a great track right now,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs really blossomed for us as a football player and as a student and as a person. I‚Äôm just really happy for him.‚Äù
Backup QB still TBD
Christian LeMay had his best scrimmage of the spring, completing 7 of 10 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and interception, but he hasn‚Äôt won the backup job in Georgia‚Äôs complicated situation behind Aaron Murray.
‚ÄúRight now there isn‚Äôt any decision about who‚Äôs going to be the backup,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúLeMay‚Äôs come a million miles from last year. ‚Ä¶He shows flashes, but we‚Äôve got to become more consistent.‚Äù
Hutson Mason is headed for a redshirt season if Murray remains healthy.
Walk-on Parker Welch was 5 of 11 for 48 yards with an interception.
LeMay called his day ‚Äúdecent,‚Äù and said ‚Äúoverall, I showed what I can do.‚Äù
Richt said LeMay showed some very nice touch at times. The first crossing route he threw he hummed that one in there. ‚Ä¶ Hutson has a really uncanny ability to stand in there and cut that ball loose under pressure and find the right guy.‚Äù
Mason completed 9 of 12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in combined action for both teams in what might be his final appearance playing before fans this season.
‚ÄúHe needs to stay on the ready,‚Äù Richt said.
Mason said he gained a lot of momentum and confidence on the second drive of the second half, when he completed all four of his passes, including a 53-yard strike to Michael Erdman.
Mystery man Samuel
Who was that No. 19 toting the ball for the Black team Saturday?
Turns out it was senior Richard Samuel, who played for the Red team wearing his regular jersey No. 22.
‚ÄúThey didn‚Äôt bring my jersey down so I had to borrow whatever number they had,‚Äù Samuel said.
The new number suited him well on a day he led all rushers with 43 yards on eight carries, including a two-yard touchdown run.
‚ÄúI enjoyed it,‚Äù Samuel said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs the kind of type of runner I wanted to show. That with all these backs out here, I could still run hard, I could still do the job.‚Äù
The storyline on Samuel this spring had been his work at fullback before he missed some practice time due to a concussion.
‚ÄúRichard proved today that he‚Äôs a valuable runner,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúHe can absolutely bring a good change of pace to our running game with the physicality that he has and he has speed, too, of course. We feel like he can play the fullback position. He‚Äôs smart enough, too. He‚Äôs willing enough too and I just don‚Äôt know how that thing is going to shape up.‚Äù
Update on contracts
Georgia announced a week before spring practice began that Richt had agreed to a three-year contract extension and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham would get two more years added to his contract, but those deals still not have been finalized.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs all between the lawyers,‚Äù athletic director Greg McGarity said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôre going through it and I guess it just takes time to go through that stuff. There‚Äôs no rush, there‚Äôs no urgency because everybody‚Äôs agreed upon the content of it, it‚Äôs just a matter of two legal entities getting together and then giving us something that we can call a draft.‚Äù
McGarity said he hoped certainly ‚Äúby the end of June we‚Äôd be all done with the end of everything.‚Äù
This and that
Former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, was among former players on the sideline. ‚Ä¶ Tailback Brandon Harton had six catches for 57 yards. ‚Ä¶Defensive end Ray Drew was credited with a sack for both the Red and Black team.