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Kirby Smart not worried about injuries in Georgia backfield

2 min read
Kirby Smart not worried about injuries in Georgia backfield

Georgia will have its hands full trying to defend its second straight national title after losing an abundance of talent, both through the NFL Draft and by graduation.

The Bulldogs had 10 players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, a year after having nine players selected on the heels of their first national title.

There will be plenty to replace, starting with a Georgia backfield that loses starting quarterback Stetson Bennett and leading rusher Kenny McIntosh. But Smart isn’t so much worried about running back.

“We have good backs,” Smart said. “Andrew Paul had a really good fall camp. Feel really good about him coming back healthy. And it’s going to be like his freshman year because he really didn’t get that, so he’ll be behind. Branson (Robinson), whenever we’re able to get him back, man, he had a great spring. He got the workload.”

Paul wasn’t a particularly highly touted back out of high school, rated as a three-star prospect and the No. 432 recruit in the 2022 class. But Smart is high on his potential to develop into a key depth piece.

Robinson, meanwhile, got a good bit of run last season as the Georgia backfield rotation took hold.

The freshman ran for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 68 carries. He’ll be back as a sophomore to help complement the veterans again. And Georgia returns some pretty experienced veterans in the backfield, despite losing McIntosh.

“We’ve got two backs with a lot of experience in Daijun (Edwards) and Kendall (Milton) who have played and done a good job, so I’m excited about those guys,” Smart said.

Edwards nearly matched McIntosh’s production a year ago, running 140 times for 769 yards and seven touchdowns. He had the same 5.5 yards per carry average as McIntosh.

Milton is a little bit more of a home run threat, having averaged 7.0 yards per carry last season. Milton ran it 85 times for 592 yards and eight touchdowns.

That said, while both Edwards and McIntosh were very capable runners, neither logged the kind of receiving production that McIntosh did. Will someone else step up as a receiving option in the group?

Cash (Jones) has done a great job. Rod Robinson had a good day today,” Smart said after the team’s spring game. “He’s a different kind of back, but he catches the ball well out of the backfield. He’s big and physical, guys don’t like tackling him. We have a good group of backs, so I feel really confident about the group we have.”

The takeaway: Whoever wins the starting job at quarterback is likely to have a healthy and deep Georgia backfield to lean on this fall.

The post Kirby Smart not worried about injuries in Georgia backfield appeared first on On3.

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