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Insider

Q&A: Marshall adjusting in backfield

8/10/2012

ATHENS, Ga. -- Tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley -- along with the rest of Georgia’s offensive true freshmen -- were available to speak to the media for the first time on Friday.

Marshall, ESPN’s No. 5 overall prospect and No. 2 tailback in the 2012 signing class -- spoke with reporters about a variety of topics, including how Isaiah Crowell’s departure affected his preparation for the upcoming season.

Here is what Marshall had to say:

How do you view the timeshare at tailback?
Rarely is it one guy. You know, [Alabama had] Trent Richardson, they had Mark Ingram and they had Eddie Lacy last year, so everybody has more than one running back to get the job done, so that’s not what we worry about.

How did enrolling in January help you adjust?
I think it helped me with the playbook and just knowing how practice was going to be. Academically it helped me a lot. I got to get ahead of everybody else. I’ll probably be able to graduate after my junior year. So I think it’s helped me a lot.

How did you perform in the scrimmage?
I think I played fine. I didn’t have a whole bunch of stats, but I feel like I hit the holes and I did good on my blocking assignments and everything, so it’s not always going to be a big day, but I kept pushing through.

People say camp can be overwhelming to freshmen. How are you handling it?
It’s not overwhelming. It’s tiring, but you’ve got to do it. It’s part of coming to Georgia and playing football.

Have you always played with a knee brace?
No.

Is there a reason why you’re wearing it?
I just had tendinitis and it’s just to keep it under control for now while we’re practicing every day.

Is it slowing you down at all?
No, my knee’s not bothering me. It’s just precautionary.

Since you missed some of spring with a hamstring injury, do you still feel like spring helped you?
I went through like seven or eight practices, so I definitely got a taste of college football.

Have there been any new 40-yard race challenges? Has Malcolm [Mitchell] called for another race?
No, he hasn’t called for another race.

What about any of the new freshmen? Can they hang with you?
I’m not sure. There’s some fast guys. I know Sheldon Dawson’s pretty fast. Todd’s pretty fast. So I don’t know.

You’re up to 216 now. Has that cut into your speed?
I don’t believe so.

What have you seen of the offense’s progress?
I definitely think the offensive line is coming together. The running backs are running the ball well. The wide receiving corps looks great. So I think everybody’s coming along.

Most freshmen aren’t looking so far along to be thinking about graduating after their junior year.
I mean just academically, I came in with I think five hours already, then I got 13 in the spring. So I didn’t mean like graduate and leave. I meant like graduate and focus on a master’s or something like that.

So you’re going to declare now that you’re coming back for your senior year?
No, I’m not going to declare that. I just meant academically.

Do you remember your 3-yard run in the scrimmage that Coach Richt said you had to see to appreciate?
I had a lot of 3-yard runs in the scrimmage. I’m not sure which one he’s talking about.

What have you seen from the defense?
Our defense is great. Especially going against those guys is going to make the offense better. So I’m glad we get to practice against them every day.

Anybody stand out in your mind?
Jarvis [Jones], he’s just great. He’s a great player. It’s hard to stop him. The offensive line really has trouble with him. But he’s a great player.

Has Shawn Williams gotten a lick on you yet?
No. The only person that’s really hit me is Chase Vasser. He got one on a pitch play. He got me and caught me off guard.

How did Isaiah Crowell’s departure affect how you’d prepare for the season?
It didn’t really affect how I was preparing for anything. Obviously Coach, he said now we have an opportunity to step up into a bigger role. But I wanted to play anyway. I was going to work my best and try to do my best I could anyway.

Jordan [Jenkins] mentioned about this being a different kind of class, as far as staying out of trouble.
I can’t speak for everybody, but I know I will not be in trouble, get suspended or anything like that. I know me and Todd, we’ll make sure we keep each other out of trouble. And then some of the other guys, we have a big group of freshmen.

Why do people say you and Todd will be able to stay out of trouble when other tailbacks haven’t?
I’m not sure about Todd. I’ve just never been one to get in trouble. My parents didn’t allow it, so I learned at an early age, getting in trouble wasn’t an option.

How many hours are you taking this semester?
Twelve hours.

What are you going to major in?
Business management.

What do you want to do after football?
Open up my own real estate company. Probably something like that.