Georgia's Mark Richt not afraid to play freshmen

ATHENS, Ga. — At least three freshmen are on track to earning key roles in Georgia’s offense.


John Theus is the current starting right tackle, while Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley could play lead roles in a tailback committee.

Coach Mark Richt said Friday he’s not afraid to have a freshman take over at tailback.

“I just think whoever is the most productive, we’ve got to get them into the game,” Richt said. “If it’s one of those two guys, we’ll get him in there. If they’re in there a lot, it probably means they’re doing good. That’s a good sign. I’m not afraid to play them. We’re definitely going to play them; it’s just a matter of how much.”

Georgia must replace Isaiah Crowell, who was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher and the 2011 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.

Richt dismissed Crowell from the team in June following Crowell’s arrest on felony weapons charges. Crowell has transferred to Alabama State.

The freshmen backs are competing with sophomore Ken Malcome, senior Richard Samuel, who also is working at fullback, and junior Brandon Harton.

Gurley (6-1, 218) had better numbers than Marshall
(5-11, 216) in Wednesday’s first scrimmage of the preseason. Gurley had six carries for 58 yards and one touchdown. Marshall had seven carries for 11 yards.

Theus (6-6, 309) was another key recruit for Richt. He was a USA Today and Parade magazine high school All-America pick and was rated among the nation’s top five linemen by and

• Defensive end Ray Drew is still out after suffering a concussion in the first week of practice.


ALABAMA: Coach Nick Saban says cornerback Travell Dixon is leaving the team for personal reasons.

Dixon was considered one of the nation’s top junior college prospects.


LOUISVILLE: Wide receiver Michaelee Harris, the team’s second-leading receiver last year, will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.