Kregg Lumpkin tore his ACL on the first day of Georgia's fall practices and opened the door for true freshmen Thomas Brown and Danny Ware. They took full advantage, combining for 1,455 rushing yards.
Any team would be thrilled to have a pair of backs like Brown and Ware
returning for three more seasons, but, does that leave room for Lumpkin,
who will return next year with three years of eligibility left?
"That's really the only thing I've thought about looking toward next
year," Brown said. "What are they going to do with all three of us
Lumpkin rushed for 523 yards in his freshman season and entered the
year as the clear starter. His rehabilitation has gone well and he will
return to limited action in spring practice. By fall, he's expected to
be full speed, and he's expecting to jump right back into the fray.
"This year has been a learning experience," he said. "I've
more attention to the offense, the blocking schemes, the offensive
linemen. I'm looking forward to next year. I can't wait."
Lumpkin said he thinks having three, starter-quality running backs can
only help the Bulldogs. Running backs coach Ken Rucker agrees.
"I'm glad to be their coach," Rucker said. "It's going to
He's not worried, he said, about not having enough carries to keep
three standout backs happy.
"I'd rather it be that way than the other way," he said.
In fact, Ware is the only involved party who will acknowledge
obviously going to be a downside," but he quickly gets back to the party
"It's going to keep the defense off of us because we have three
running backs who can do anything to you," he said. "Since that's
to help our team out, you can't really complain about that."
The backs better not complain, Rucker said.
"We're not in the happiness business," he said. "We're in
business. These guys know that."
The Bulldogs might take some pointers from Auburn, which this year
used star tailbacks Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown in the backfield
at the same time. Under Coach Mark Richt, Georgia has always used a more
traditional backfield, with either one tailback or one tailback and one
fullback, but Richt said he's not above "borrowing" from Auburn's
"We'd have to consider that pretty strongly," he said. "I
be good at fullback, but you definitely have to consider some two-back."
Georgia practiced some two-back sets last spring but scrapped the plan
when Lumpkin was injured.
"I'm hoping they might try to run the Auburn system, use all three
us and (quarterback D.J. Shockley), maybe throw in the option or
whatever," Lumpkin said.
While Brown and Lumpkin wonder, Ware is just concentrating on himself,
"I try not to even think about it and just keep doing what I'm
he said. "I can't really worry about what they're going to do with
The competition will help all three backs, Rucker said.
"These guys build on each other," he said. "It's a great
TAMPA, Fla. -- Running back Thomas Brown is back from what he thinks was a phantom injury. Fellow…