UGA head coach Kirby Smart praises player performance in G-Day scrimmage
Brian Herrien enters his fourth and final season at Georgia in September, played in all 14 games a season ago and was the Bulldogs’ third leading rusher in 2018. And yet somehow, Herrien’s chapter in Athens feels a bit incomplete. A bit anticlimactic.
He’s never been quite the flashiest running back. But sitting behind the likes of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift will cause any player to seem that way.
Each player listed above, aside from Swift, is gone. So Herrien, now, has something to prove. There’s no better time to do it than his senior season, and Georgia’s annual G-Day scrimmage provided a nice warm-up for his last go-round.
“During spring, the goal for myself was to become a better player,” Herrien said. “Know more of the defense. Know more of the offense. I just need to get better at knowing the defensive fronts.”
Even still, Herrien’s numbers from Saturday are not that flashy. He finished G-Day with seven carries for 25 yards, with a long run of nine yards. However, he provided a strong counter-punch to Swift, and was used primarily out of the backfield.
Herrien was the red team’s third-leading receiver (three catches, 54 yards) and found himself on the receiving end of Jake Fromm’s only touchdown pass.
Herrien ran a swing route to Fromm’s right. Fromm turned and found him in acres of space along the right sideline, tossed him the ball and let the senior do the rest.
To Fromm’s benefit, Herrien did the rest quite well. He ducked underneath a tackle, then dashed to the corner of the end zone.
“I think I can be more active in the receiving game,” Herrien said. “I have a couple of routes that we run from the backfield and from the empty formation (no running back alongside the quarterback). I feel like I can do a lot better.”
Herrien said catching the ball out of the backfield comes naturally to him, and his comfort with running those routes would provide a solid compliment to Swift, the presumed No. 1 running back heading into fall camp.
Herrien was targeted four times during the scrimmage — once by Stetson Bennett and three times by Fromm — and each of his three receptions went for either a first down or a touchdown.
Herrien scored his first career receiving touchdown against Texas in the 2019 Sugar Bowl, and has 57 career yards receiving. His stats, be it rushing or receiving, are not flashy. For a player like him, though, in an offense like Georgia’s, his style of play might just be what the Bulldogs need.
Zamir White is still healing up, James Cook played with the second-string offense on Saturday, and last season’s Swift counterpunch, Holyfield, is no longer in Athens. If anything, he’s about all Georgia has got.
He’ll take it.
“I’ve always been able to catch,” Herrien said. “I played baseball, so catching is always just easy.”