ATHENS, Ga. — Being behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall at tailback might seem like no man’s land.
Gurley and Marshall were all the rage last year in their debut seasons for Georgia, combining for 2,144 yards and 25 touchdowns.
It’s enough to make a third-stringer want to run away. Like to Carbondale, Ill. That’s where Ken Malcome is after transferring to Southern Illinois.
Still, after the explosive combination of Gurley and Marshall, there are touches to be had in the backfield. For instance, Malcome had 57 carries for 272 yards and two touchdowns last season.
“They told me three running backs every game usually have carries,” said former Aquinas star Brendan Douglas, who decided to go to Georgia right before signing day. “I’m just trying to compete for that third spot right now and see what happens.”
Douglas is vying with fellow freshmen J.J. Green and A.J. Turman for that No. 3 position.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Douglas said he “always liked Georgia.” When the chance came to join the signing class, he backed off a commitment to Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech.
“He wasn’t too happy,” Douglas said.
Now Douglas finds himself working at the same position with Gurley and Marshall.
“It’s kind of weird sitting in the meeting room with them,” Douglas said. “It’s pretty cool to be with them, but I try not to think about that too much.”
Turman, 6-foot and 198 pounds out of Orlando, Fla., was the top rusher among freshmen in the first preseason scrimmage with 36 yards on five carries.
“He’s a big back,” said junior college transfer cornerback Kennar Johnson. “He’s going to keep pushing. You might think you’ve got him down, but he’s going to keep trucking.”
Turman was held out of Friday’s practice with a sprained ankle and knee.
Green had 21 yards on eight carries and Douglas got six yards on five rushes in the scrimmage.
“I’m taking everything in the perspective of getting better,” Green said. “That’s it. Not thinking about being the No. 3 running back because everyone behind you can work to get to that No. 3. or the No. 1 or the No. 2.”
Well, barring injury, nobody expects Gurley and Marshall are going to be passed this year.
Georgia has commitments for 2014 from Sonny Michel and Nick Chubb, rated by various recruiting services as top-10 tailbacks nationally.
The 5-9, 183-pound Green said he didn’t know he would end up playing tailback when he signed.
“They told me I was going to play offense, I just didn’t know what position,” said Green, who rushed for 919 yards and 16 touchdowns in a Wing-T system at Camden County.
Green can be considered a scatback, making him a threat in the open field.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo would like to find his third and fourth tailback this preseason.
Even if their carries are few and far between, the freshmen are getting in position to help out any way they can.
“I’m on a couple of special teams right now,” Douglas said. “Just any way to get on the field right now.”