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Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's official: Samuel moves back to tailback

Georgia has shored up its tailback depth by returning to an old hand: Richard Samuel, after a year redshirting at linebacker, is back at his former position.

Samuel had hinted at the move on his Twitter account, and head coach Mark Richt announced the move on Thursday afternoon.

"After discussions with Richard, his family, and our coaches I'm excited that Richard wants to make the move," Richt said. "He's one of our fastest and most powerful players, is very mature, has a strong character and is a man we can count on. I'm proud of him for always putting the team first and I look forward to seeing what he can do."

Samuel also had a statement:

"I'm excited about the opportunity at tailback. I'm ready to do anything that will help the team win."

Samuel will be available to speak to the media on Friday, according to the team. So will defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

Samuel was a five-star tailback recruit out of high school, and played 22 games there during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, including six starts. He had 528 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 114 carries, the highlight being a 104-yard game against Arkansas.

The question now is whether Samuel will merely be insurance for freshman Isaiah Crowell (and redshirt freshman Ken Malcome), or will be a real threat to cut into Crowell's playing time.

Evidently, Samuel wasn't too needed on defense, where he was listed as the backup to starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. Samuel was considered an option to start this year, but Ogletree's move to inside linebacker before spring practice may have signaled that coaches didn't have confidence in Samuel on defense.

If Caleb King had stayed eligible, Samuel probably would have stayed on defense. But King didn't, and now Samuel is back on offense.

14 comments:

SDawg said...

Richard Tripp, I mean Samuel, good luck to you.

ben said...

So we now have a 235lb running back...or whatever he weighs?

Brian said...

243 lbs! The coaching staff knows the details of the situation 1000x better than we do, but I'm still worried...

Doug said...

I'll be pulling for Samuel. He is a damn good dawg to make the change in hopes of helping the team.

Sam said...

This is horrible. What if an inside linebacker gets hurt? Will we move him back? and then if Crowell gets hurt, move him back again? It is ridiculous. They did the same thing to Justin Anderson. LET THE PLAYERS PLAY WHERE YOU PUT THEM. They just had Samuel spend and ENTIRE YEAR getting ready to play linebacker, and are going to have him play running back in two months? It is irresponsible on the part of the coaches. I hate this move, and I feel bad for Samuel and what these coaches are making him do.

Mr. Sanchez said...

I hope this works out for the better. I can't see why, if he wasn't good enough to stay at RB in the first place, but I hope so.

Bulldawg said...

Godspeed brotha.

GATA

Dawgfan17 said...

Sam have you ever coached a sport? Players get moved around based on the needs of the team. Needs change. If either King or Ealey had been able to stick around then moving Samuel to LB could have paid off nicely. As it is with both of them gone the depth at rb was more pressing than that at LB. Not to mention he was just 17 when he first got to UGA. Now with 3 years in the program and being 20 he has a much better chance of success, on either side of the ball.

j.leonardjr said...

Samuel is NOT a natural RB. He simply lacks the instincts and vision to play the position. He is going to be wasted on offense. Any chance he had of fulfilling his promise and potential was at LB.

I respect him for putting the team first but feel bad for him at the same time. If he turns out getting significant playing time it will not be a good sign for our offense in my opinion.

Sam said...

DawgFan,

I admit that I have never coached college football, so I do not have the same expertise as the coaches involved, and they are in a much better position to make this decision than I am. I also recognize that needs on a team change.

Moving players around on the same side of the ball in response to need makes sense (e.g. Ogletree to LB) because the adjustment is not that great. Even moving a player from offense to defense or vice versa makes sense when there is a dire need.

That being said, at the level of competition in the SEC, players need to specialize to be successful. My problem is that they have moved him twice, and this second move seems based on a whim and not a dire need (Crowell, Malcome, Thomas). Instead of spending time getting great at either position, he is constantly being forced to spend all of his time just trying to get up to speed. He is a great athlete, and we are wasting him if he is not on the field.

Unless he has somehow turned into an SEC caliber back while training to be a LB, he is not going to see significant time at RB this fall, and the coaches will have wasted a year of his eligibility. In all likelihood, next summer we will be hearing about how he is moving back to linebacker, where he will end up being equally ineffective because he will never be allowed the opportunity to specialize at any position.

Sam said...

I hope I am wrong, and I wish Samuel the best of luck, I just think this move is not necessary for the team and is detrimental to this young man.

Jimmy said...

Hardly enough depth to even practice with WE and CK bugging out. Frankly, I expected a move like this, and I think RS helps us this year with yardage.

OZAM said...

God knows I want the Dawgs to be successful, but Richard Samuel was NOT a good tailback in the past and there is no reason to believe he will be a good tailback now.....especially since he spent the last year doing something else.

We basically have taken a very talented athlete and made him a man without a home. I hope I am wrong but this is not a good omen of things to come.

LawDawg said...

I think it's obvious that if Samuel was a good tailback (at least better than CK and WE) he would have remained there--this move is not about his talent at the position. It has everything to do with *experienced* depth. Samuel is now the only RB with legitimate gametime experience at the position which requires not just run ability but pass blocking in Bobo's offense. Carlton Thomas cannot be counted on for anything but specialty appearances, so that leaves Crowell and Malcome, neither of which have Samuel's experience playing the position in
a game. Samuel became the best, most experienced option at tailback after CK left. Lack of experienced depth is not as dire at LB, that's why he was moved--yes, it may well hurt his development. Yes, he may get moved back. That's what makes the move so selfless. Damn good dawg. Sic 'em!