August 10, 2012

Gurley adapting quickly

Freshman running back Todd Gurley isn't a man of many words.

When the Tarboro, N.C. product announced that his commitment to the University of Georgia in January, it took him only two or three sentences to do so.

It comes as no surprise that Gurley has little to say about his performance in the Bulldogs' first spring scrimmage on Wednesday.

Despite having six carries for 56 yards and a touchdown, Gurley had even fewer positive comments about his first live action.

"Yesterday was a good scrimmage," said Gurley. "I had a lot of mistakes and could have done a lot better. The line went out there and opened some holes for me and I just found some space. It goes to the offensive line. Without me running behind them, I'm not going to find any space to run."

In Friday's post-practice press conference, head coach Mark Richt stated his intentions to play Gurley and fellow freshman Keith Marshall, but the former four-star running back knows he still has a lot of work to do before he is at his best.

"I think I need to work on a lot of things," he said. "Just basic things like going out there and not thinking too much, pass protection, my steps, and a lot of things I can get better on. Watching film, that is going to help me."

In Richt's tenure at Georgia, he has made it clear that young running backs will have to show they can succeed in pass protection before they see extensive game action.

When it comes to his ability to protect the passer, Gurley is making no excuses.

"Pass protection is just really you," said Gurley. "If you are going to just take the inside away from that guy, and go up there and just stick him. It is really just a real physical part of it. Just go up there and show him that you have to protect the quarterback."

When Gurley joined the Bulldogs' 2012 class as a commitment, many questioned his decision since Marshall was already on campus in Athens.

While the two were good friends during the recruiting process and are currently roommates, the Tarboro native's decision to become a Bulldog had more to do with his comfort level with the Georgia program.

"It's really not about that (competition). You should just really make your own decision," said Gurley. "You shouldn't let someone else, just because they go some where, determine where you should go. I just kept Georgia as one of my schools, and nowadays, you don't just want to carry the load. You want two or three other backs so you can share the load with them. I think I fit in perfect. I think this is the best place for me and now I feel why I picked to come to Georgia."
His time in the Classic City thus far has be positive, but a couple of veteran Georgia defenders, Corey Moore and Alec Ogletree, have taken the opportunity to welcome Gurley to the next level.

"Yeah, a couple of times Corey Moore, just going up with him, and we are going thud. I would just lower my shoulder and he would knock me back a little bit, and I was like 'alright, now I've got to get my shoulders down, and just hit the hole harder," he said. "Oh yeah, I remember that one (hit from Ogletree too). I came out with a little headache. My alignment wasn't really right. I should have been deeper, and I didn't really get my shoulders down fast enough and he just hit me. I felt it."

Gurley, who admits he is picking up the system faster than he thought he would, has also gotten a great deal of help from the veteran players on the offensive side of the ball.

"Since the summer started, the older guys were helping out there," said Gurley. "I mean, no selfish people. With the younger guys, they are just out there helping you. I expect to do that when other running backs come in the future. I wouldn't even be where I'm at right now if it weren't for the older guys."

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