Then came Washaun Ealey’s arrest, and suspension, and now King knows those carries are about to grow.
“If they ask me to carry 100 times I’d probably do it with a smile anytime,” said King, a junior who started five times last year.
King was Georgia’s second-leading rusher last year, with 594 yards and seven touchdowns. But Ealey was first, and the pair were set to be a committee, at least for the opener.
Now King gets his chance to shine, with Carlton Thomas shifting up to the backup role.
“Of course I want to be the focus of the offense, what running back doesn’t want that,” King said. “I’m excited about this opportunity, and want to do the best I can when it comes to it.”
As for Ealey, running backs coach Bryan McClendon said the sophomore is handling his suspension well so far. Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Ealey would return after one game if Ealey handled some internal discipline.
“It has been a humbling experience for him,” McClendon said of Ealey. “All in all it’s not the worst-case thing that could’ve happened right now. And I think he’s gonna come back, and he’s gonna be hungry, and he’s not gonna take certain things for granted.”
There were probably some anxious moments last week when Demarcus Dobbs was spotted in a walking boot. Dobbs, a defensive end who had 5.5 sacks last year, is the only returning starter on the defensive line.
But Dobbs only had a sprained ankle, and was back at practice Monday. He said there were no lingering effects.
The senior said he was gearing up for an important season, and realized his importance to the front line.
“I have to produce,” Dobbs said. “I have to make plays. A lot of guys look up to me. And for me to become a leader, a true leader of the defense, you have to be a guy that’s out there producing, making plays.”
Still no word from NCAA
As of Thursday evening, Georgia was still waiting to hear from the NCAA on the status of its inquiry.
Richt and junior receiver A.J. Green, who reportedly was interviewed as part of an agent probe, have repeatedly said they were unable to comment. But both the player and coach (who were not available Thursday) have also said they expect Green to play.
Claude Felton, Georgia’s associate athletics director, said the school has “not heard anything from the NCAA. As far as the inquiry in general, as Coach Richt said yesterday, cannot talk about it at this point.”