State of the Running Backs: McIntosh gives insight on Georgia's deepest position
It’s no secret that Georgia has the deepest and arguably the most talented running backs room in the country.
Junior Kenny McIntosh met with reporters on Tuesday and spoke confidently about the highly touted group.
“I think it’s a blessing to have a lot of running backs,” he said. “A lot of talent on the field on one team. It takes a lot of wear and tear off of each of our bodies. So, all of us are getting opportunities to go out there and perform. I love it.”
McIntosh highlighted that each running back has its own specific skillset.
"All of the backs have a different running style," McIntosh said. "(James) Cook, he's very explosive. He can get skinny whenever he wants to. Zamir (White) is downhill. He can make a guy miss too as well, but he's going to put his head down and get those tough yards. Kendall (Milton) definitely can break tackles. He's explosive. Daijun (Edwards) is real quick, shifty, and I feel like he can get in and out of his cuts easily. As I said, I feel like we all have different running types, but I feel like that's an advantage for us."
White led Georgia last year in rushing with 779 yards on 144 attempts (5.4 ypc) with 11 scores. Cook rushed the ball 45 times for 303 yards (6.7 ypc) and three touchdowns. McIntosh had 251 yards on 47 attempts (5.3 ypc) and one score. Meanwhile, Edwards ran the ball 37 times for 218 yards (5.9) and a score. Then, Milton totaled 193 yards on 35 attempts (5.5 ypc).
Nonetheless, it’s safe say that Georgia has five quality backs that each play an important role on the offense. Last season, McIntosh and Milton dealt with injuries that kept them out for part of the season. So, Cook and Edwards took on a more important role behind White in the absence of their two injured teammates. Now, as the Bulldogs enter the season with everyone healthy, it gives every running back a chance to compete and improve as the season goes on.
McIntosh, who also played a pivotal role on special teams last year, said he’s improve his skill set over the offseason.
"Me, I feel like my vision is great," he said. “I feel like I can get in and out of cuts, too. I can make defenders miss. I feel like I can the ball well, too. We all have a great advantage.”
Georgia’s run-game is going up a Clemson defense that ranked No. 15 in rush defense last season. The Tigers only allowed an average of 112.7 yards per game and 3.09 yards per attempt. Nevertheless, Clemson does return a lot of talent on the defensive line. So, the Georgia running backs will need to produce more explosive plays out of the backfield, especially to counter that strong defensive front.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart pointed out this past weekend that there were some positives during the team’s final scrimmage of fall camp.
“We may have had a couple of check downs where they broke tackles and busted loose,” the sixth-year head coach said. “A couple runs of 15-20 yards where they did a good job.”
No. 5 Georgia takes on No. 4 Clemson on Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 7:30 p.m.