March 11, 2013

Gurley still hungry

Life is good in Todd Gurley's world.

Why wouldn't it be? After a spectacular freshman season which saw him rush for 1,385 yards and a Georgia freshman record for touchdowns (17), the rising sophomore has a future as bright as any running back in the SEC.

But Gurley, who seems to be growing more accustomed to being in the media spotlight, isn't resting on his laurels.

"I haven't even really thought about last year," Gurley said. "I'm just taking it little by little and try to work on the little things. Right now we're going over things that I already know, but now I'm trying to perfect it."

It's a more streamlined version of Gurley that Bulldog fans will notice in the upcoming G-Day game on April 6 at Sanford Stadium.

The North Carolina native said he worked extremely hard during the Bulldogs' winter workout program, including mat drills.

"I'm as healthy as I've ever been. I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "Mat drills went well. It was kind of one of the hardest things that you can do. It was tough, but it was good to go through that and see how far you can push yourself."

Gurley added there's still a lot he can improve on come fall.

"No doubt, things like taking the right steps as far as my track, reading the defenses - everything," he said. "It's just a lot of small stuff, but I also want to do a better job of finishing off my runs."

Yes, it's been a memorable year for Gurley, who along with Keith Marshal, formed the duo dubbed aptly as "Gurshall," arguably the Bulldogs' most dynamic running back combo in recent memory.

"I came not thinking I was going to play a lot and then wind up starting the second game of the season and as every game went on it built my confidence," Gurley said. By the time I got to those big games, I was ready and wasn't nervous at all."

So what will 2013 have in store?

Gurley isn't into making any predictions, but suffice it to say, he - like most Bulldog fans - is extremely excited about the potential of the offense which set a school record with 529 points scored.

But like his own personal game, he's taking nothing for granted.

"We've got the whole offense coming back but that doesn't mean anything. Last year we had the whole defense but they didn't do what they did the year before," Gurley said. "So we've got to keep working and keep trying to get better, just work on the little things as far as running, passing, limiting our mistakes and turnovers. If we do we could be REAL dangerous. Last year we were dangerous and broke a lot of school records, but if we keep working I think we could be better than last year."

One thing about Gurley's role has changed, however.

"Guys look at me different now; they expect me to be a leader," he said. "I might not want to be a leader, but I know that's my role."

Another role Gurley feels he must fulfill is that of a role model to some of Georgia's younger players, in particular those that also play his position.

Although A.J. Turman won't arrive on campus until later this spring, freshman J.J. Green is on campus as an early enrollee and has made a fast impression on Gurley.

"J.J. looks good. It was just the second day and he looked way better than I looked my second day," he said. "He's learning. It's not like camp where they're cramming everything in, but he looks real good, much better than I expected. His feet are so quick and that makes it hard for guys to wrap him up. He looks like a little power runner to me."