Georgia looks to fill-in starter Michel to boost offense
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Quarterback Greyson Lambert’s early season magic has faded.
Starting tailback Nick Chubb has had season-ending knee surgery.
Georgia’s sagging offense, held without a touchdown in its last game, needs a lift as the Bulldogs prepare for Saturday’s crucial SEC East game against No. 11 Florida (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference).
Chubb’s replacement, Sony Michel, could be asked to provide that boost.
Michel suffered a bruised hip early in the Bulldogs’ ugly 9-6 win over Missouri on Oct. 17, but he remained in the game and rushed for 87 yards on 26 carries. He ran for 145 yards in a loss at Tennessee the previous week.
Michel said Tuesday the hip injury affected his running against Missouri. He said having an off week after the Missouri game has helped.
”I feel great,” Michel said. ”I had a good practice yesterday.”
Coach Mark Richt confirmed Michel ”looked very good” on Monday. ”I don’t anticipate him having any issues with injuries unless something would happen today or tomorrow in practice,” Richt said.
Chubb was instant offense for Georgia before suffering the knee injury on the first play against Tennessee. He had a string of 13 straight games with at least 100 yards rushing end with the injury.
Michel paused when asked if he is comfortable filling Chubb’s all-important lead role. He said ”anybody is replaceable.”
”But I’m comfortable playing that role as the starting running back,” Michel said. ”It is an opportunity, an opportunity for me to help the team go to the SEC championship.”
The offense has struggled in two of its last three games, including an embarrassing 38-10 home loss to Alabama on Oct. 3.
Lambert completed only 10 of 24 passes for 86 yards against Alabama. He threw for 178 yards with one interception and no touchdowns against Missouri.
Lambert, the Virginia transfer, set a NCAA record by completing 24 of 25 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-20 win over South Carolina on Sept. 19. He again had only one incompletion in limited time against Southern the following week.
Richt said the uneven performances by Lambert are an accurate reflection of the quarterback competition in the preseason. Lambert beat out Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta for the starting job.
”We’ve definitely had some up-and-down performances at that position and it was kind of that way throughout camp,” Richt said. ”It wasn’t like one guy stole the show and that was it.”
Richt said it’s too early to judge Lambert’s season. He said the most important point is Georgia (5-2, 3-2) can still control its hopes of playing in the SEC championship game.
”So that’s where you hope to be,” Richt said. ”To me, there’s still a lot to be written this season. It’s just a little past halfway. So I’m not ready to say what kind of year it was for quarterbacks yet.”
Georgia did not make Lambert available for interviews last week or on Tuesday. His overall numbers are solid. He has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,276 yards with nine touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The Bulldogs began the season with a plan to give Ramsey regular time behind Lambert. Ramsey has not played since throwing two interceptions in only six attempts in the Alabama game.
NOTES: Richt smiled when asked about speculation his name could surface in his alma mater Miami’s search for a new coach. ”I don’t think much of it, really,” he said. ”I love my alma mater, no doubt about it. But there’s been nobody calling or writing or texting or anything like that. I’m sure they’ll find a great coach.” … Due to wet conditions, the team practiced on Tuesday at the Atlanta Falcons’ indoor facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, about one hour away.