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November 23, 2011

Wanted: More RBs

NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from speaking specifically about recruits.

But Georgia coach Mark Richt certainly seemed to be sending a message when asked how many running backs he hoped to sign come National Signing Day in February.

"I'll say this - there's a tremendous opportunity at the University of Georgia for running backs in this class to come to Georgia and make an impact. I hope that's not breaking a rule, I don't know," Richt said before practice Wednesday. "It's a tremendous opportunity, I know that. If I was a running back - if I was a great running back - I would want to come to Georgia; I would be so excited about my opportunity at Georgia."

Richt's comments brought some laughter from the assembled media, considering the Bulldogs are in the running for North Carolina native Keith Marshall, the nation's top-ranked all-purpose back, who tweeted earlier this week he will verbally commit on Dec. 6.

Marshall will choose between Georgia, Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

Fellow Tar Heel Todd Gurley is also high on Georgia's list and vice versa after the Tarboro, N.C. native visited Athens last weekend.

Richt's desire to re-stock the Bulldogs cupboards comes after what's been a difficult year keeping his current stable of backs on the field.

"It's been a pain in the rear," Richt admitted.

Richt still isn't sure what the situation will be for Saturday's game at Georgia Tech (Noon, ESPN).

Although he still expects Isaiah Crowell to play, the freshman's ankle continues to be somewhat of a concern.

"I don't know. Isaiah may or may not get scout team work today," Richt said before practice Wednesday. "That's the goal, but Ron (head trainer Ron Courson) is going to take him and get him as warmed up as possible."

Even if Crowell does not practice today, Richt said that would not rule him out for the Yellow Jackets.

"I've never really had a hard-fast rule to say a guy couldn't play if he didn't practice on a certain day or by a certain day," Richt said. "I don't think it's wise to do that because there are a lot of different circumstances that would allow a guy to play. For example, if Isaiah couldn't go today but went Thursday and by Friday looked full speed it would look foolish not to play him."

Richt remained mum on the status of junior Carlton Thomas, who although he has been practicing with the team, has not been cleared to return by Richt.

"I'm not 100 percent sure what I'm going to do there," Richt said.

Meanwhile, Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton continue to split reps with the first team. As for junior Richard Samuel, who has been out since injuring his ankle on the final play against Florida, Richt has said there's a chance he could return for next week's SEC Championship Game/

NOTES: The Bulldogs were scheduled to practice in full pads Wednesday and again on Thursday morning before breaking for the rest of Thanksgiving. Georgia will have practiced in full pads every day this week. "I don't know if we've done it every time, last time we had an open date, without an open date you don't have a lot of time," Richt said. "There are two things you have to get ready for and one is the scheme of it, the thought process for our defense is different from everybody else that we play, but there's the physical aspect that you've got to try and defend and that's the cut block. We've had to spend time with that and there's no way you can prepare for that except going in pads and try to go full speed. You've to let your scout team get after it, so hopefully our scout team has done good enough to let them get after it." Wide receiver Michael Erdman, who played quarterback in a triple-option offense at Central Catholic High in Merritt, Island, Fla. is running the scout team offense for Georgia this week. Nose tackle Kwame Geathers said his ankle is still sore, but that he would play against Georgia Tech.



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