ORLANDO, Fla. — Keith Marshall didn’t make much noise in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, but the Georgia tailback will go up against a Nebraska team in Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl that was burned by big plays on the perimeter in its last game, a 70-31 thrashing by Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship.
That’s right up Marshall’s alley. He has four runs of 50 or more yards during his freshman season, including touchdown runs of 75, 72, 62 and 52 yards.
“I try to get outside,” Marshall said. “I can break a big run if I get that chance.”
Marshall was limited to two carries for three yards against Alabama, his lowest output of the year.
“Keith’s had a great week of practice, really more than a week, a great month of practice,” Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Saturday afternoon.
Marshall got first-team reps ahead of fellow freshman Todd Gurley during the portion of practice open to the media on Saturday.
“We’ve got a big plan for Keith in this game and expect him to make plays and play well in this game,” Bobo said. “He’s running good. I think the little bit of time off has helped him. He’s had some knee soreness the whole season and I think the rest has helped him. He’ll be fresh and ready to go on Tuesday.”
Marshall said he was a “little beat up” in the title game, but didn’t want to specify the injury.
“There were some other circumstances going on in that game, but yeah, I definitely wanted to show that I could play,” Marshall said of bowl practices.
He was listed with a shoulder contusion the week before the SEC title game.
Gurley has rushed for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns, the third most by a freshman in program history. Marshall is No. 8 on that list with 723 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I wanted to come in, contribute and play a lot early,” Marshall said. “I think I had a good year. Going forward, I want to just keep getting better.”
BROWN STAYS UPBEAT: Marlon Brown’s torn ACL ended his Georgia career on Nov. 3 against Ole Miss, but it hasn’t kept the receiver from enjoying the bowl experience.
He hit Universal Studios on Thursday, including a roller-coaster.
“I don’t know what it was called, but I was kind of scared,” Brown said.
Brown was having a breakout season, tied for the team lead in receptions before the senior injured his left knee. He had 27 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns.
“I just can’t be too sad about it for too long,” Brown said. “Usually in life you’ve got to overcome things. Right now, I’m trying to stay positive.”
The Memphis, Tenn., native has kept an upbeat attitude that has impressed those around the program.
“I remember going to call him and talk to him not long after it happened,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I was expecting a guy to really be in the tank, but he’s a mature man now. He knows things happen. He knows it’s not so much what happens to you, but how you handle it.”
Brown suffered the injury on a 30-yard reception. Ole Miss safety Trae Elston went low to make the tackle and hit Brown’s left knee with his helmet.
“I haven’t even seen the film of the actual play,” Brown said. “I felt him twisting my leg, but also felt him hit his helmet on my knee. I don’t know what caused it.”
Brown, who hopes to play in the NFL, said he expects to begin jogging by the end of February, but won’t be able to do anything at Georgia’s Pro Day this spring.
BULLDOGS HOLD STEADY ON LINE: The open competition for starting jobs on the offensive line won’t create any changes in the Bulldogs’ front five.
The biggest challenger, guard Austin Long, broke a bone in his right hand, setting him back. But he could play Tuesday, offensive line coach Will Friend said.
“We’re pretty much kind of stayed where it was at,” Friend said. “We’ve had good practices and had some good competition. There has been some up and down with it, but no, we’ll probably go with what we did toward the end of the year.”
Friend said that backup offensive tackle Mark Beard “will play a bunch.” Friend said that Long practiced well before his injury and “I was looking forward to playing him a good bit in this game.”
QUICK HITS: Saturday marked four weeks since Georgia played in the SEC title game to Alabama. Richt sounded antsy for the Bulldogs to play again when he was asked whether he’s having fun. “I’d have more fun if the game was today or tomorrow,” he said. “After a while you’re like, ‘Let’s just play the thing.’ You’re into practice 12, 13 or 14 and the game plan, you’ve been here having a good time for sure, but after a while you’re like, ‘Let’s just play.’ As a matter of fact, I’d be for practicing three days, play the game and then hang out three days afterwards and really enjoy the thing.” … Linebacker Jarvis Jones was supposed to attend a Saturday afternoon bowl news conference, but defensive lineman Garrison Smith replaced him. It turned out audio problems that almost delayed the news conference caused concern he would miss a regular treatment time scheduled. … Georgia practiced with some rain on Saturday morning. Richt was so pleased with Friday’s practice that he took out competitive work to focus more on fundamentals and going up against the scout team. … Tailback Richard Samuel (shoulder) practiced in a regular jersey. … Nebraska linebacker Will Compton on playing in Orlando: “Since we’ve been down here, we’ve already had a few people walk up to us and hope we beat Georgia,” he said of Florida fans. “You can feel that rivalry down here already.”