October 12, 2010

Malcome in the middle for Dawgs?

With Caleb King suspended for two games and Carlton Thomas still nursing a sore hamstring, true freshman Ken Malcome may indeed make his college debut Saturday against Vanderbilt - ready or not.

With King out, the Bulldogs are expected to insert Washaun Ealey back into the starting lineup with Fred Munzenmaier a possibility to get his share of carries against the 2-3 Commodores.

But don't rule out Malcome.

Although the former Southwest DeKalb start missed two weeks while recovering from a concussion he suffered while taking snaps with the scout team, Richt said Tuesday the youngster has made enough strides where it's no longer out of the question that he might play this year.

"We've been getting Ken ready for probably the last month or so. I don't know if we had him with the varsity the very first week. We might have had him on the scout team. We were watching him in drill work and we feel like he has great potential," Richt said. "Sometimes a kid isn't ready out of camp. Sometimes it becomes a little overwhelming all the things you have to learn. Then when you break camp and the focus maybe is off of you for just a minute it gives you a chance to catch your breath and just kind of be free to make plays."

Monday, Malcome said he's ready for whatever opportunity he may receive. He also confirmed he's healthy.

"Oh yeah, I'm fine now," Malcome said. "I think I'm ready to make a contribution."

Richt said offensive coaches have been taking it slow with the freshman.

"We saw him making some plays, doing a good job of running behind his pads and knocking people back on contact in some of our inside drills. We were very encouraged by what we saw, so we said let's get him up here and just keep spoon-feeding him and get him to a position to where if we need him he'll be ready to go," Richt said. "That's where he's at right now. Is he going to be perfect if he gets in there on assignments and everything? Probably not, but he's been practicing with us for at least a month, so he does know what to do."

Richt said most of Munzenmaier's work would likely come in goal-line and short-yardage situations, along with fellow fullback Shaun Chapas who scored a touchdown last week against Tennessee.

Dustin Royston and Alexander Ogletree have also been opening some eyes.

"Dustin has been more of our jumbo group guy, the big guy you bring in to plow ahead for the fullback. I'll say this while I'm on that subject, I know it was the touchdown that Chapas scored, Dustin was the wham guy. He was kind of the lead blocker for that play," Richt said. "He showed us that not only is he physical, but he can think and he can react quickly and change direction if need be. That just gives more confidence that he'd be a pretty good fullback prospect for us, so he's been working."

NOTE: Dawg Walk Saturday is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

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