August 28, 2009

Is Samuel the fastest back since Edwards?

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo isn't prone to go around making half-hazard comparisons. That's typically not his style.

But when asked to compare the breakaway speed of sophomore running back Richard Samuel Friday afternoon to some other recent Bulldog running backs, Bobo made an exception.

"Richard can run. He's very fast, at least he claims he's very fast," Bobo said. "But I'll say this. If you get him in the open field - there's a lot of guys in this league who can run - but compared to some guys we've had in the past, he's the fastest."

Bobo said that comparison includes former teammate Robert Edwards.

"He's very similar to Robert," Bobo said. "But Richard might be a little bit faster. He's fast."

Samuel no doubt hopes to show off some of that speed during next week's opener at Oklahoma State.

The Cartersville native was tabbed the starter by head coach Mark Richt last week, beating out redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas for the job.

With Caleb King still a question mark due to a sore hamstring he tweaked Aug. 12, Richt said that walk-on Kalvin Daniels is now No. 3 on the depth chart, although that could change if King is deemed ready to go.

"I would say after next week I'll be able to give a better answer on what's going to happen, but right now I'd say Samuel and Thomas will get the bulk of the action," Bobo said. "Other than that we'll just have to see."

Bobo said he doesn't know for certain about King's availability but wants to see him practice by either Monday or Tuesday at the latest in order for him to play.

If not, he's confident the speed and power of Samuel, combined with the shiftiness and elusiveness of Thomas, will give the Bulldogs a combination that can succeed.

"You look at a lot of good teams across the country and a lot of them have two backs that can do different things," Bobo said. "You have one guy who is a changeup guy and one who moves the chains. I think it's a great asset to have."

Richt pleased with Friday effort

After expressing disappointment following Wednesday's practice game at Sanford, Richt had better things to say following Friday's workout.

"I saw a lot of energy," Richt said. "I really liked the way they practiced. They had real good focus and that gave me a good feeling. We're almost there."

The Bulldogs will work out this morning at the team's Woodruff Practice Facility, instead of going to Sanford Stadium as originally planned.

"We'll work on substitutions. We'll go from kickoff to defense to punt return to offense, all the subbing that you have to do in a game," Richt said. "We'll also do some short-yardage and goal-line situations. We'll do a few plays live, just a few. We've scripted what we think we need. It will be like a game without tackling to the ground."

• Richt said he will take between 70 and 74 players to Stillwater next week for the game against Oklahoma State. "We're not taking anyone who can't play and who can't give us a chance to win."

Injury update

Junior lineman Chris Davis missed practice with a sprained ankle, but Richt anticipates he will back soon. "Monday, probably," Richt said. "If nothing else he may do scout team only Monday, I don't know. That's kind of how we phase guys in coming off an injury like that."

Richt also expects sophomore center Ben Jones will be ready Monday as well. With Jones and Davis out, junior Kevin Perez worked with the No. 1 unit.

• Linebacker Akeem Dent and linebacker Marcus Dowtin were both in green, but Richt anticipates both being ready for Oklahoma State.

• Safeties Reshad Jones (hamstring) and Bryan Evans (hamstring) returned to practice.

This and that

• When asked to say what freedom Joe Cox would have changing plays at the line of scrimmage, Bobo winked. "You'll just have to see for yourselves."

• Tight ends coach John Lilly said he still expects tight end Bruce Figgins to return to action following the completion of his six-game suspension.

• Wide receiver coach Tony Ball said that freshman Marlon Brown and redshirt freshman Tavarres King are competing to be the third receiver when the Bulldogs go to their three-receiver set.

• Richt that that freshman running back Washaun Ealey will not be playing special teams.

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