As we enter 2011, two things have become abundantly clear: 1) Aaron Murray is ready to step firmly into the SEC spotlight, and 2) Orson Charles is the beast who is ready to make his presence felt.
Living in the Athens area, it’s understandable that I’ve heard a lot about the impact the 7-11will have this season ‘7-11’ is the clever nickname for the Charles/Murray connection—born from the fact that the players wear the numbers 7 and 11 respectively, and will supposedly form a tandem that will be open all day for business—much like a 7-11.
That said, who else might we be missing? What other guys on this roster could play a significant role in making this offense even better?
The first position that comes to mind is that of running back where Isaiah Crowell is already getting much buzz in the blogosphere and otherwise. Most have already penciled in Crowell as the starter and expect nothing less than to see him carrying the ball from snap one of the season. While others figure it might take a game or two before he takes the reigns. In either case, it’s Crowell or bust as far as many are concerned.
So, forget what you’ve heard about Caleb King and his resurgence because there aren’t many who truly believe that he will suddenly come alive this season after having faltered in the previous three. The general opinion on King is he’s had his chance to be the guy and he dropped the ball—literally. So, it’s time to move on to the next chapter.
But in all the chatter about King and Crowell, I’m now inclined to wonder if Ken Malcome can become the surprise player of 2011?
I’ve heard a lot of whispers about Malcome’s need to prove that he’s not ready to accept a back-up role. He wants to play and he feels he’s every bit as qualified to be the starter at Georgia as either King or Crowell—if that’s the case, the competition at running back could get interesting.
Even more, with the college football world so firmly focused on what Crowell will do, there seems to be plenty of room for Malcome to scoot into the picture and knock both players out of the water by virtue of most having little-to-no expectation of him being anything more than a secondary or tertiary back.
Malcome has shown bits and pieces of what he can do, but there are doubts that he has the stamina to be a major player for an entire season as nagging injuries always seem to derail his progress.
However, when he’s at 100 percent, he has shown he’s got some nice skills and he brings just the right amount of speed and power to be an impact player running the ball up the middle—an important distinction given the fact that Georgia’s offensive line is most impressive at the interior positions.
Malcome may not have the shine of Crowell, or the experience of King, but performance is performance and this year, more than any other in recent memory, this coaching staff appears less interested in the individual than they are in the individual performance—attitudes of entitlement need not apply.
We’ll just have to see if Malcome is ready to put his play where his mouth is this summer.