Running back Washaun Ealey knows he's got a lot to prove Saturday against Vanderbilt - not only to himself, but his teammates and coaches as well.
Thanks to some key fumbles inside the 5-yard line against South Carolina and Mississippi State, the sophomore admitted Wednesday he's been in the proverbial dog house.
Saturday, he'll get his chance for redemption.
Thanks to Caleb King's two-game suspension, Ealey finds himself back in the starting lineup. He's looking forward to making amends.
"I feel like I've got to go out and earn the trust of my teammates, the coaches," Ealey said. "I know my team really needs me this game because I'm probably like the only running back besides Kenny (Ken Malcome) and Carlton Thomas, so I know I'm going to get the majority of the reps. I know I've got to step up my game."
Ealey, who himself was suspended for the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, will be making his fourth start and leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 246 yards.
"I just want to run hard and protect the ball," Ealey said. "Hopefully, I can go out and compete to the best of my abilities."
Although Ealey will get the bulk of the carries, the Bulldogs will have other others waiting their turn.
"Carlton actually got some reps today and he finished the practice so I'm not exactly sure how he is going to feel tonight or tomorrow but that was encouraging to see him do that," head coach Mark Richt said. "Ken was out of practice for a bit yesterday but he finished the practice yesterday (Tuesday) and today he practiced full speed. He had no green jersey, no limitation so I think he will be ready. But I think a lot of what happens with Ken will have to do if Carlton can play. We still have Fred (Munzenmaier) who knows how to play the H or the tailback."
Freshman Zander Ogletree has also received some reps at tailback, just in case.
"I just want to whatever I have to do to help the team win," Ealey said. "If that means me sitting down, well, that's what we have to do. I just want to win. If that's what it takes to win, that's fine with me."
NFL lockout would affect Houston's decision
Will linebacker Justin Houston considering leaving after this year to apply for the NFL Draft?
Apparently, a lot will depend if an agreement can be reached between league owners and the NFLPA and a new collective bargaining agreement.
"If I do decide, that's going to play a major role, a major part," Houston said. "But right now, it's not something I'm worried about. I'm just worried about trying to get this next win."
Houston is tied for the SEC lead in sacks with six.
Uga VIII set to be introduced
New mascot Uga VIII will be introduced during pre-game ceremonies of the game against Vanderbilt Saturday.
The pre-game "passing of the collar" from interim mascot, "Russ," to Uga VIII will take place at mid-field in the presence of UGA President Dr. Michael F. Adams, Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, and members of the Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler family, long-time owners of the Bulldog line of mascots.
Uga VIII's registered name is "Big Bad Bruce" in honor of Dr. Bruce Hollett of the University's School of Veterinary Medicine. Hollett has been instrumental in the care and treatment of the bulldog mascots over the years and will also be present for the Saturday ceremony. Uga VIII is the grandson of Uga VI and weighs 55 pounds.
"We had several puppies that were direct descendents from the Uga line to choose from," Seiler said in a statement. "We came to the conclusion that this dog had all the physical attributes that we look for in a Georgia mascot. He is the grandson of Uga VI. He is only 13 months old. He already weighs 55 lbs. and we think that he has an excellent head. We made the choice based on experience and I'm confident the Bulldog Nation will be pleased when he is introduced Saturday."
Rambo still bothered by hit?
Richt said he feels the concussion safety Bacarri Rambo suffered in last year's game against Auburn has affected his play.
"Bacarri definitely improved but I think he had a spell there where he was still a little bit shy to really strike like we know he's always been capable of doing," Richt said. "I think that strike he took last year against Auburn changed his demeanor a little bit. I don't know if he would admit to that but I think it did for a time. But I think he's played enough football now, and had enough collisions to where he can do the things he's always done. "
Richt compared Rambo's situation to that of left tackle Trinton Sturdivant and his battle back from his second torn ACL.
"That's really the process that Trinton is going through," Richt said. "He's trying to play fast, but still being a little cautious in the back of his mind."
This and that
Georgia practiced for two hours in full pads Wednesday, an outing that left Richt pleased. "I ask the coordinators to rate how our scout team performs and Coach (Todd) Grantham gave them a four out of five and Coach (Mike) Bobo gave them a five out of five, and that's great," said Richt. "We challenged them, and they responded. The better they do, the better it is for us. I'm proud of the job they are doing."
As far as injuries, Richt said the wide receiver Marlon Brown (AC joint) and linebacker Cornelius Washington (concussion) should return Saturday. Branden Smith (concussion) is still listed as doubtful as is safety Nick Williams (hamstring). Grantham said that defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (unknown injury) will play.
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