November 17, 2009

Running game picking up steam

After struggling all year to find a consistent running attack, it appears that Georgia is making considerable gains.

Since cracking the century mark in rushing just twice in their first six games, the Bulldogs have posed four straight of at least 125, capped off by last week's 169-yard effort against Auburn.

Head coach Mark Richt credits two factors for that transformation.

First, is the installation of Josh Davis into the starting lineup at right tackle, which allowed Clint Boling to move to left tackle and Cordy Glenn back to his normal position at left guard.

"I think when we made the change in the line up front it really helped," Richt said during Tuesday's press conference at Stegeman Coliseum. "We wanted Cordy at guard all year long. Cordy is a tremendous power guard, but we had to move him outside because Josh was still not healthy. Therefore, once Josh came through we just decided to get him out there and see what he can do. Everything just clicked better. That group as a whole has just played better, they've come together and missed very few assignments."

The maturation of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King has also been a significant reason why.

Ealey exploded for 98 yards on 18 carries against Auburn, while King started the second game of his career, scored twice, and picked up 68 yards on the ground.

"They look like the Georgia of old to me," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "They're running the ball extremely well."

Ealey has actually led the Bulldogs in rushing for four straight weeks, causing many to wonder why the freshman had still not cracked the starting lineup.

According to Richt, it was strictly a matter of pass protection.

"(Washaun) is improving. I'm not trying to beat him down in any way, but when I'm asked how things are going, I want to be honest, but I can say he has progressed in that area," Richt said. "A lot of guys think they're running specialists and pass pro is not quite as important, but here it is and he has gotten better."

So has King.

King, who was benched five games after missing a key block in the 2008 game against Florida, has picked up that aspect of his game. In fact, if not for his block during Joe Cox's 50-yard touchdown pass to Israel Troupe, Richt said the score would not have taken place.

"Caleb gave a beautiful block that set up the opportunity for Joe to have that pump fake and time to throw the ball," Richt said. "If Caleb doesn't get that block, we don't score and we don't win the game. That's how crucial it is."

Richt still not counting out Green for Tech

Richt was asked to put a percentage on whether or not wide receiver A.J. Green (shoulder) or safety Bacarri Rambo (concussion) would be ready for next week's game against Georgia Tech.

"To me, saying 50-50 means we just don't know," Richt said. "We haven't counted out either one of them. These are day to day situations, one guy (Green) is dealing with pain and healing and the other guy (Rambo), we just want to make sure his symptoms are clear and he is safe."

Richt said that Rambo continues to recover nicely and his showing no signs or symptoms from the concussion.

With Rambo out, Richt said he anticipates Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans simply having to take more snaps, although he did not rule out Quintin Banks figuring into the mix.

Still mum on possible changes

Richt was asked that whether success in Georgia's final two games would affect any decision about any changes on his staff.

Predictably, he little to say about that scenario.

"I'll say this, it's definitely good policy for me. My main focus is Kentucky and that's where I have to keep my mind and focus," Richt said. "Anything too far ahead is not healthy for me or the team. I'm just making sure we're ready to play Kentucky right now."

This and that

Although backup center Kevin Perez and defensive tackle Ricardo Crawford have a year of eligibility left, both players will walk with the rest of the seniors during ceremonies prior to Saturday's game against Kentucky. The Bulldogs will honor 23 seniors.

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