December 13, 2012

Malcome admits frustration

Running back Ken Malcome wants to make one thing perfectly clear - he's thrilled with the success being enjoyed by freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

But as a competitor, he admits being relegated to third-team duty for the second time in as many years, has been a bitter pill.

When the season began, Malcome was pegged as the Bulldogs' starting running back. But after breaking his hand in the season-opener against Buffalo, it set the stage for Gurley and Marshall to establish themselves as two of the more exciting freshman ball carriers in the entire SEC.

"Since I've been here, a lot of things have gone kind of crazy for me. I broke my hand the second quarter of the first game, and with a broken hand I could not do so much as far as hold the ball," Malcome said after practice Thursday. "After that, that's when Todd and Keith emerged. That became a problem as far as me playing, but like I tell everybody - my whole thing - the last three seasons was to be good with my opportunities. I didn't have a lot but the ones I did, I think I did OK."

Statistically, Malcome is correct.

Although he carried the football just 57 times, he gained a respectable 274 yards and scored two touchdowns.

"If I had more opportunities I would have had more carries, more yards and it might have made for some tougher decisions," Malcome said. "But that's not what happened."

It's easy to understand Malcome's frustration.

In September of 2011, Malcome quit the Bulldogs for a day before returning. Once he did, the former Southwest Dekalb standout had another hurdle to climb - get back in the good graces of coaches and climb past Isaiah Crowell, Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas on the Bulldog depth chart.

Amazingly, Malcome did just that, starting two of Georgia's final three games and asserting himself as the top back in the rotation heading into preseason drills.

But that was then.

After breaking his hand, Malcome fell back down the depth chart and sans some late-game carries, he's basically been a missing man.

It hasn't been easy.

Unlike backup quarterback Christian LeMay, who currently has sophomore Parker Welch, redshirt sophomore Hutson Mason and junior Aaron Murray ahead of him on the depth chart, Malcome has already been passed by a pair of true freshmen with more help likely on the way.

The Bulldogs already have a verbal commitment from Tramel Terry and are very much in the running for Norcross standout Alvin Kamara, meaning Malcome's playing time could potentially drop even more.

That thought isn't exactly a comforting one.

"My football career is not looking as good as far as when I came in," Malcome said. "I know not everybody makes the NFL. I wanted a shot, but now I don't know. I'll graduate with 40 more hours. After that, I'll see what happens - get a job, whatever."

Gurley said he can feel Malcome's pain.

"He's been through a lot," Gurley said. "But as far as us being his teammate, we check on him and just do what we can as we would for any member of our family."

So what's next for Malcome? Would he ever consider transferring with two more years of eligibility remaining?

"I'm all right," said Malcome, who didn't directly answer the question. "I love football and will continue to play, but if I can't, I'll just focus on what I can - my family. If football doesn't work out, something else will."