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King, Samuel neck and neck in UGA backfield.


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By Ken Sugiura

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS -- Georgia running backs Caleb King and Richard Samuel evenly split 22 carries Saturday against Arizona State.

For now, the plan is to keep playing both.

"Right now in my mind, they are 50-50 in my thinking," coach Mark Richt said Tuesday. In a given game, "one guy might be running a little bit better than the other, and he may get more [carries in a game]."

The Bulldogs rank 11th in the SEC with 112.2 rushing yards per game and 11th with a 3.6 yards-per-carry average. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo cited turnovers and penalties as part of the reason that Georgia hasn't done better on the ground, but also noted that "we've got to be able to break tackles in this league."

Bobo indicated that he would like to see King or Samuel take the lead and hoped that Tuesday's full-pads practice would help clarify the situation.

"We've got to get somebody in a groove," he said.

After practice, running backs coach Bryan McClendon said he thought King did better than Samuel in pass protection but that "there might have been some things that Richard did a little bit better than Caleb, too."

LSU, Georgia's Saturday opponent, has some running problems of its own. The Tigers are 10th in the SEC at 130.2 rushing yards per game. Against Mississippi State last Saturday, LSU netted 30 rushing yards. Georgia assistant head coach and defensive line coach Rodney Garner called LSU-Georgia a "credibility game" and said that LSU's running game will figure into the outcome.

"We're going to find out who is the contender and who's the pretender," Garner said. "That's really what it boils down to. I know the mentality that [LSU coach Les Miles] is going to have on that team this week. I'm sure he's not very happy, and I'm sure he's probably going to come in here and really make a statement to run the ball. Hopefully, we'll hold up in the matchup."

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