Friday, August 1, 2014

But what can we expect from Keith Marshall?

The local, regional and national spotlights are on Todd Gurley. And deservedly so. He's a unique talent that we hope is poised for a historic season.

But I'm much more intrigued by what we may see from Keith Marshall at this point. Rewatching that Georgia-Tennessee game the other night reminded me of just how big of a day Marshall was on his way towards before his season ending injury. He only touched the ball five times before going down, but he was faster than everyone in a smoky gray uniform. Much faster.

The reports from the spring and off season regarding Marshall's recovery and rehabilitation are that he's done very well.
...all reports are that the junior tailback is in good shape.
“He looks exactly like the old Keith,” senior receiver Chris Conley said.
“Keith looks great,” Richt said. “Straight-ahead he looks outstanding in that area. He is changing direction. I don’t know if he’d say he’s 100 percent today. But he has no limitations whatsoever in his training.”  
And Marshall certainly has had a lot to motivate him. He's been spelling/complementing/subbing in for Gurley for two seasons. And just when he emerges from #3's shadow he suffers a terrible injury. While he's rehabbing Georgia signs two of the nation's top running backs and the fans promptly become enamored as much with the guys below him on the depth chart as they've been with the guy ahead of him. Some on the periphery have even gone to such ridiculous lengths to suggest Marshall could redshirt this season. (Blame Bobo.)

Looking at Marshall's stats tells a story of fits and starts. Sure, he averages about six yards a carry for his career, but some games he struggles to get past the line of scrimmage while others he spends most of his time in the secondary untouched. You could say his breakout game his freshman year was against Fla Atlantic, but he tends to save his best performances for bigger SEC tilts, especially Tennessee as he torched the Vols for 164 yards on 10 carries in 2012 and seemed ready to double that last season.

Keith Marshall is assuredly going into this season faster and hungrier. If his offensive line is just as hungry, Clemson and South Carolina could be seeing a lot of the back of #4's jersey. Because all he needs is a crack.

And he's gone.