Georgia Bulldogs Football: Does Todd Gurley Deserve to Start vs. Auburn?


Georgia RB Todd Gurley will be making his return to the field after a four week suspension, but should he be the starting tailback?

Everyone in the Bulldog Nation is excited that Todd Gurley will be back this week. He’s one of the most dynamic players in all of college football, and despite going 3-1 without him during his suspension, he may not be (or deserve to be) the starter when Auburn comes to Sanford Stadium this week.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than just Nick and Todd in the ballgame at that running back position – Mark Richt

The truth of it is, because of his selfish actions (regardless of the stupidity of the rule), he was suspended for four games, and that had a derogatory effect on the team.

Yes, Nick Chubb performed like a trooper, stepping in and carrying the Bulldogs when they needed him most. But what about that loss to Florida? Would having Gurley in the backfield have made a difference, or caused the Gators to defend Georgia a little differently?

The sad truth is, we’ll never know. We can never know if Gurley would have broken off some big runs to put Georgia ahead for good. We’ll never know if that missed Marshall Morgan field goal (which was a turning point in the game) would have never even been attempted.

We can never know these things because Gurley couldn’t play, by actions of his own doing.

That brings us to this week, and the Auburn Tigers.

This game is more than important or crucial. This game against Auburn is Georgia’s season. Because of the loss to Florida, the Bulldogs are in a must-win situation against Auburn, or they can (probably) kiss any shot at an SEC Championship game berth goodbye.

So, does Mark Richt reward the guy who put Georgia in a terrible position for a month, or does he reward the guy who stepped up and kept the Dawgs in the hunt at all?

“We haven’t even talked about that yet,” Richt said in an interview, via “Obviously, both those guys will play and we’ll see how Sony is doing. I think he came out of the game pretty good, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than just Nick and Todd in the ballgame at that running back position. Early in the year we did a good job of giving guys reps and hopefully we can continue to do that.”

I’m sure it won’t matter to Nick Chubb whether or not he’s the starting tailback. He obviously just wants to win. He wants to contribute, and be a part of this team. He deserves to start, but he probably doesn’t care.

More from Georgia Football

On the flip side, this is Auburn. This is an SEC title shot. This is the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The Tigers are not going to foolishly fumble the ball twice in the last minute of the game again, and the Georgia defense doesn’t have the acumen to stop this Auburn running attack.

Georgia will need points and offense…lots of it. And that means needing Todd Gurley…lots of him.

It puts Mark Richt in a curious position, and one that shouldn’t be envied by anyone. While true that Gurley has served his suspension (and longer than he probably should have), Richt still has to consider why he was suspended, and who picked up this team while Gurley was out.

We all know that both Gurley and Chubb are going to get their carries and yards, but being named as a starter is a big deal, and isn’t something that players take lightly.

I wouldn’t want to have to decide.