April 3rd, 2014 10:02 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Georgia
Tags: Brendan Douglas, Georgia, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel
Marshall will be a true junior this year if he plays. But having not used a redshirt to date allows Georgia coaches and staff to determine what’s best for Marshall this season — play him? Or let him sit?
As Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph points out here, sitting Marshall could be best for everyone. Todd Gurley — another junior — figures to be the go-to back this season. If he turns pro after this season, Marshall would have but one season left as the starter as opposed to two (if he redshirts).
The trouble, of course, is factoring in injuries to this equation. No one expected Marshall to go down a third of the way into the season last year. If Gurley goes down to injury this year and Marshall’s redshirt is pulled in order to replace him (assuming he’s healthy), then the Bulldogs could be looking at a reversed situation next offseason.
UGA running backs coach Bryan McClendon said this week that “the plan is to see how far along (Marshall) is, and then do what’s going to be best for him.” He added: “That’s going to be priority #1. To do what’s best for him. And that way, I think everybody will be able to sleep good at night.”
There’s one other factor at play here and that’s Georgia’s depth at the running back spot. Marshall might redshirt only to find that he’s no longer the starter even when Gurley leaves. First, we don’t know how his repaired knee will impact his abilities. Second, Brendan Douglas and AJ Turman are still on the team. True freshmen Nick Chubb and Sony Michel hit town in August. And if recent form holds, Mark Richt will ink another strong duo of backs next February as well.
The best option might be to focus on Marshall’s recovery alone when determining whether to redshirt him or not. New injuries and new all-star prospects tend to scuttle many long-range plans.
Marshall averaged 6.5 yards per carry as a freshman in 2012, tallying 759 yards and eight touchdowns total. His figures were down in 2013 to a 4.4 yards-per-carry average, 246 yards and just one touchdown through little more than four games.
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