Georgia Football: Competitive Mindsets benefit running back room

Kenny McIntosh (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kenny McIntosh (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

One of the deepest rooms at the Georgia football facilities has to be the running back room.

With Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards, the Bulldogs have almost too much talent at running back — joking, but jeez, think about all that talent.

To put into perspective, with just 10 games, all five of those guys combined averaged 5.76 yards a carry. The offensive line deserves some credit for giving them the holes to run through, but it’s also a testament to how much talent is in that room.

Last year, White led the backs with 779 yards on 144 carries. He scored 11 times and averaged 5.4 yards a touch. Cook toted the rock 45 times for 303 yards and three scores while averaging an impressive 6.7 yards a carry.

These two were Georgia’s predominant runners, but head coach Kirby Smart and his offensive coordinators are always trying to get the ball in as many running backs’ hands as possible.

When there is this much talent, it’s hard not to give them all the ball because they’re all always a moment away from making a big play.

One could speculate that if Kenny McIntosh didn’t hurt his knee against Alabama, causing him to miss most of that game and the two that followed it, he would have emerged as one dangerous weapon. He ran the ball 47 times for 251 yards and one score, but he also made plays catching balls, recording 10 catches for 111 yards.

Milton is another back that we all think, what if he didn’t get hurt?

As a true freshman, he saw action in seven games, recording 193 yards on 35 carries. Milton gave us glimpses of what he’s capable of doing against Tennesse, recording 56 yards on eight touches and Alabama running six times for 44 yards — that’s seven and 7.3 yards a carry.

Then there is Edwards, who managed to collect 37 carries of his own for 218 yards and one score. Even with four running backs in front of him, he found a way to make something happen when he got his number called.

Edwards took advantage of extra playing time against Missouri when he recorded his first 100-yard game in college by collecting 103 yards on 11 carries — 9.4 yards a touch people, I mean, wow.

With so much talent, one would think jealousy would happen, but that’s not the case. These guys genuinely seem to love each other and are happy when one of them does something incredible.

After practice on Aug. 25, according to Georgia’s interview transcripts, McIntosh said it’s a blessing to have this many guys in the room.

"“It’s a lot of talent on the field on one team,” McIntosh said. “It takes a lot of wear and tear off of each of our bodies, so all of us are getting opportunities to go out there and perform, and we love it.”"

The junior running back also said what stands them apart from other running back rooms is their mindset.

"“Just going out there and being able to compete and having the mindset that this is our job to come out here, and we have to do what we have to do every single day, McIntosh said.”"

What also makes Georgia different is the various types of running backs they have. In that same interview, McIntosh broke down what each guy brings to the table.

While they’re all different, there was a common theme among each running back — explosiveness and the ability to make guys miss. Two things every coach wants in a running back, along with speed.

No matter who Georgia calls on, they trust that guy will get the job done. It’s honestly really impressive that if the Bulldogs need a bulldozer to run through the tackles, they have a few guys to choose from, or if they need a speedster to hit a corner and explode into another gear, they got some of that too.

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This versatile group of running backs proves why Georgia is the true RBU because no matter who gets the call, the Bulldogs have success with them. To be honest, it sounds like a great problem to have.