Richard Samuel rushed five times for 108 yards and two touchdowns Wednesday at Sanford Stadium to state his case for the starting tailback job at Georgia.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound sophomore from Cartersville also had a 70-yard touchdown reception. Samuel entered camp as the backup to fellow sophomore Caleb King, who had 18 yards on five carries and has been bothered by a sore hamstring.
"Richard ran the ball well, but he definitely had more space to work with than any other back," coach Mark Richt said. "There is no question about that. You can't let the amount of yards Richard got today fool you, but he was impressive."
Wednesday's scrimmage, which pitted the starters against the second-team units, was closed to the media.
Samuel had 133 yards and a touchdown last season on 26 carries, but he didn't have any carries in the loss to Georgia Tech or the win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. He sat out spring practice after undergoing wrist surgery in January.
His longest run Wednesday was for a 63-yard score.
"I think it's been going good so far," Samuel said. "It's a good competition. We're all able to stay good buddies. It's not a negative competition."
Asked whether he would mind a committee approach at tailback, Samuel said, "I'll do whatever will make the coaches happy. That's what I'm in favor of."
Samuel did lose a fumble after a long run during the scrimmage. Richt hoped the incentive of playing time will help him hold on to the ball in future scrimmages, the next of which is scheduled for Saturday.
Among the other tailbacks, redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas had five carries for 60 yards and freshman Washaun Ealey had five for 13.
Starting quarterback Joe Cox completed 9 of 13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore backup Logan Gray went 6-of-12 for 93 yards and two scores. The freshman tandem of Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger combined to go 6-for-26, with Murray accounting for five of the completions.
Richt said Gray remains a solid No. 2 signal-caller.
Sophomore A.J. Green led all receivers with four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, while freshman tight end Orson Charles had three receptions for 55 yards and two scores. Senior defensive end Rod Battle had 3.5 sacks, while sophomore linebacker Marcus Dowtin and redshirt freshman cornerback Sanders Commings each made seven tackles.
"Our No. 1 offense did extremely well, and our No. 1 defense did extremely well," Richt said. "There is too much disparity, in my mind, between the ones and the twos right now. It should be better competition on both sides of the ball."
Among those sitting out with nagging injuries were junior linebacker Rennie Curran (hamstring), sophomore tight end Aron White (hamstring) and freshman receiver Marlon Brown (finger).
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...