ATHENS - It's been talked about a lot, then shot down, then talked about some more, then shot down again. But the surest signs yet came on Tuesday that Richard Samuel will be playing at least some fullback.
During the early portion of drills, Samuel lined up as the fullback in the I-formation, lining up between quarterback Aaron Murray and tailback Isaiah Crowell. Then when the tailbacks ran through plays, it was Crowell, Ken Malcome, Keith Marshall and Brandon Harton - with Samuel watching from the side.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said playing Samuel, the team's biggest tailback at 243 pounds, was under discussion.
"We're gonna talk about it a little bit there," said Bobo, pointing out that Samuel worked some at fullback early in practice, when the media was present. "We got some depth issues there and tight end, and sometimes those positions are interchangable, so we're trying to train another guy for that position."
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The switch to fullback seems a natural one, if Samuel can make the transition:
Even after the transfer of Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs have four scholarship tailbacks, with another on the way in Todd Gurley. But at fullback the team just has sophomore Zander Ogletree, with Quayvon Hicks on the way.
Running backs coach Bryan McClendon said the big-bodied tailbacks, such as Samuel and Ken Malcome, often have to cross-train. But Samuel is the only one playing fullback and tailback right now.
"What we do as an offense, we'll sit back and look and say, OK which personnel groups give us the best chance to win," McClendon said. "I tell those guys, they're not just competing amongst themselves, they're competing with the tight ends, they're competing with the third receiver about what's going to be our best personnel."