Richt ready for “Gurshall” nickname to be retired

mlough@macon.comJune 4, 2013 

Pigskin_Preview

Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell answers a reporter’s questions during the Peach State Pigskin Preview on Tuesday at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH — gblankenship@macon.com

When it was born, the nickname of “Gurshall” for Georgia running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall was nice and unique and catchy.

And now it might be time to shelve it.

“First of all, I think the guys are trying to want to get away from the ‘Gurshall’ label a little bit,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Tuesday at the annual Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. “Because they are two individual human beings. So, I’m all for kind of breaking off that saying.”

The first month of the 2012 season wasn’t in the books when the nickname emerged from the Georgia locker room, to fittingly rhyme with the name at the forefront of Bulldogs’ lore, Herschel Walker.

Marshall came to Georgia with a little more hype and had a semester head start, but Gurley stormed into preseason practice and made an immediate impression.

And the college football world knew about both soon enough. Gurley finished with 1,386 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, while Marshall ran for 759 and eight.

“Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are two tremendous backs,” Richt said. “To consider where we were a year ago and really not be sure what type of running attack we would have -- our offensive line was really a big question mark -- and then for those guys to rush for over 2,000 combined -- and I don’t even know how many touchdowns -- was just more than we really could have dreamed of.”

Nickname or not, a repeat performance would certainly be appreciated.

“If we got the same production out of those guys, I’d be pretty happy,” Richt said. “If you got that every year, you’d be in great shape.”

Georgia gets no breathers

Richt may have all sorts of things to think about as a head coach, but he has down pat who the Bulldogs open up with this season.

On assorted topics, he offered the reminder that Georgia starts off at Clemson and with South Carolina, has a week off before hosting North Texas, then as LSU, Tennessee, Missouri and Vanderbilt in one stretch.

“That’s a pretty strong start,” he said. “I think everybody understands that and wants to be as prepared as possible.”

The Bulldogs, Richt has said throughout the offseason, have talent and ability to go with some inexperience.

“It’s gonna be hard to know how good we can be until we’ve played three or four games probably,” he said.

Odds and ends

Among other topics Richt addressed:

• Wideout Justin Scott-Wesley is a player who will enter fall camp with a buzz.

“He’s got his weight down, he’s about 205 pounds,” Richt said. “When his weight’s down, he’s faster, he’s more agile, he’s a better route-runner. He’s been a little bit like maybe a Marlon Brown, where little by little by little, he keeps getting better and better and better.”

Scott-Wesley caught six passes for 135 yards and a touchdown last season.

“I think it’s time for him to break out and be a playmaker for us,” Richt said. “He’s got speed, he’s got good hands, he’s tough and he knows what to do.

“It’s time to do it.”

• Richt usually announces or confirms disciplinary issues fairly promptly, in some form, as he did with Josh Harvey-Clemons. Last year, it was almost a drama as to who was out for how long.

“If there’s a decision that’s made that I think ... everybody (should) know, I’ll let everybody know,” he said. “If it’s one I don’t think everybody needs to know, I won’t. This time, I thought it was a good plan.”

He did say he didn’t like how last year’s scenario played out.

• There’s plenty of anticipation for the season, and Richt said the youngsters and newcomers better be ready for it.

“They also have, in my opinion, an obligation to learn as much as they possibly can, especially the guys that are coming brand new,” he said. “That falls on the responsibility of the veterans to help the young guys, and the young guys to do what it takes to learn.

“We can’t teach them in the summer. I think they’re going to have to have a working knowledge of our system before the first day of practice. If not, it’s going to be ... I don’t know if we can win that race on trying to be ready in time.”

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