August 20, 2012

Gurley staying humble

Last week, senior Shawn Williams paid freshman running back Todd Gurley the extreme compliment, comparing him to former Alabama All-American Trent Richardson.

Monday, Gurley seemed genuinely embarrassed regarding the fuss that was being made.

"I think he probably compared me to him because I wear a No. 3 and have dreds like Trent Richardson. I have a long, long way to go to be like Trent Richardson," Gurley said after practice. "But for a starting senior, one of the key players to call me that, that's big. That's just a blessing right there."

But although Gurley obviously has quite the ways to go before being mentioned in the same breath as the former Crimson Tide great, the Tarboro, N.C. native continues to show encouraging signs.

Gurley has been Georgia's leading rusher in both of its preseason scrimmages, including last week's seven-carry, 87-yard effort that included a pair of touchdowns, including one on a run of 66 yards.

"Coming in from Day 1 and not knowing nothing to now getting a feel for the system to now being able to come out and show what I can do, I feel like I've come a long way since the first day of camp," Gurley said. "But I've still got a lot of work to do."

Gurley admits he's surprised himself.

"My confidence is a lot higher than it was," he said. "I'm starting to pick up on a lot of things and focus on the little things. It's (his confidence) a lot higher than I thought it would be."

Gurley was asked if the thought of starting ever crossed his mind.

Not quite.

"To be honest, I haven't thought about that," said Gurley, who continues to split time with Ken Malcome, Richard Samuel and fellow freshman Keith Marshall. "It would be great to start in the SEC at any position as true freshman, but I haven't really thought about it."

Marshall leaves practice

Marshall left practice during the fourth period Monday, apparently suffering some sort of unknown injury.

The North Carolina native appeared a little gimpy as he walked off under his own power into the team's training facilities during the fourth period while reporters were still able to watch Monday's drills.

Richt would not comment on Marshall, referring to the post-practice injury report, which did not include the young running back.

However, Gurley said that Marshall was able to return later that day.

Also, wide receivers Tavarres King (lower leg strain) and Rantavious Wooten (hip strain) both return to practice, along with tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith.

On defense, safety [db]Connor Norman (right shoulder contusion) also returned).

One other name of note - starting center [db]David Andrews - appeared on the injury report due to an illness. It was not indicated when he would return.

Backup punter Cody Johnson (right groin strain) and walk-on tight end Cole Trolinger (concussions) were also out.

Richt says team not afraid to sign JUCO

With Georgia in line to sign upwards of 36 players for 2013, Richt said the program won't be afraid to dip into the junior college ranks to address specific needs.

"If you're going to sign a relatively large class, you'd like to have some age difference," he said. "If every single guy you bring in is a freshman, that's an awful lot of guys in one class so you do want to break it up with some junior college guys so you don't have too many guys at one position in the same class."

The Bulldogs currently have commitments from junior college defensive tackle Chris Mayes along with defensive backs Stephen Nelson and Shaquille Fluker, and still have offers out to wide receiver Jonathan Rumph (Holmes CC) and defensive tackle Toby Johnson.

Richt said there are a number of reasons a school might go after additional junior college talent.

"What we don't want to do, if you sign a lot of junior college kids, is to get into that cycle where you have to continue to do it," Richt said. "We've never since I've been at Georgia built our classes around the absolute of necessity of brining in junior college guys. There have been some years I haven't brought in a junior college guy, others we've brought in three or four."

This and that

Senior Cornelius Washington was receiving more work with the outside linebackers during the four periods the media had to watch Monday's drills. … Freshman Sheldon Dawson continues to open Richt's eyes. "Sheldon has made a bunch of plays out there. He's already proved that physically he has the tools to play that position," Richt said. "He's still learning and will get better at what he does, but bottom line is you've got to have the physical ability to stick with the receivers and that type of thing. He has that and plays the ball very well. I think he's got some toughness about him, too." … Richt said that fellow freshman Josh Harvey-Clemons will see plenty scrimmage downs and time on special teams." … Malcolm Mitchell has been working after practice with receivers coach Tony Ball on fundamental drills. "He's been working after practice with Coach Ball on his wide receiver fundamentals," Richt said. "Some days, a quarterback will stick around and throw some routes with him. I'm actually going to start talking with Coach Ball on what the plan should be game one. I think he'll get some offensive snaps, but how many and how much we want to try to practice with him, I don't know yet."