November 7, 2009

Ealey continues to make impact

For the third straight game, freshman Washaun Ealey continues to play a major role in the backfield for Georgia.

After rushing for 71 and 70 yards in the Bulldogs, the former ECI freshman enjoyed his finest outing to date, picking up 89 yards on just seven attempts and scoring his first two career touchdowns in Georgia's 38-0 whitewashing of Tennessee Tech.

"I'm just getting more and more confident," Ealey said. "We've all been working hard, I've been working hard; it's all starting to pay off."

It certainly did against the visiting Golden Eagles.

The Bulldogs rushed for a season-high 304 yards, as Ealey was one of three Bulldogs (Branden Smith 72, Caleb King 71) who rushed for at least 70 yards.

"It like I said earlier in the year, this guy has a chance to be a very good back for us. He runs extremely hard in practice, but he's still getting confidence, getting his feet wet," Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "There are big shoes for all these running backs to fill, we just want to go out and play like we know we can play and stop putting so much pressure on ourselves."

Ealey got Georgia on the board early in the first quarter when took a handoff from quarterback Joe Cox and scored on a 7-yard run to give the Bulldogs a quick 7-0 lead.

But it was his touchdown early in the second and that really opened the eyes of head coach Mark Richt.

With the ball at the Tennessee Tech 44, Ealey hit the right side of the Bulldog line. The play seemed to be bottled up, but all of a sudden, Ealey pushed through and was gone, scoring from 44 yards out and a 28-0 Georgia advantage.

"He did run well. He had that one short-yardage play where he broke it for a touchdown. There was a big wad of bodies in there but he stuck in right where he needed to and he broke it. Every once in a while, that's all you really need, a little bit of a push. Everybody's kind of got their man and they're trying to create this hole, but sometimes you need a little more energy behind it and that's what happened on that one," Richt said. "He got right where he should be. There was no crease, but once he hit it, he was gone and that's the sign of a guy maturing. He still has to keep getting better on his pass protection. I saw one time he might have got away with one but he's getting better."

Ealey said he's trying his best to get down that aspect of his game.

"I missed one (Saturday) again," he said. "I really don't feel too good about it, but it's something I've just got to keep working on to get better."

Until he does, Richt said King would continue to start.

"Caleb did a great job, too," Richt said. "All our tailbacks had some good moments, but you've got to block and right now that's something Caleb doing a little better job of doing."

Smith has no doubt that Ealey will get that part of his game down.

"When Georgia recruited him, they knew they had something special. Everyone wanted to compare him to Knowshon (Moreno) a little bit, with the No. 24 and all that. He's a good running back. Hopefully the next few years he will do a great job for us."

Ealey said he 'd do his best.

It was a lot of fun out there today," Ealey said. "I kind of brought back memories of high school. I'm definitely feeling more comfortable."

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