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Friday, November 12, 2010

Coach Q&A: Bryan McClendon

It would be easy to call this a lost season for Georgia's running backs. Bryan McClendon, Georgia's running backs coach, declines to say that.

McClendon sees a silver lining in the off-and-on seasons of tailbacks Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, who on Saturday are set to both be healthy and eligible together for only the third time this season. McClendon discusses the issues of his unit this season and entering the Auburn game:

SE: I know we ask you every week, but how are you divvying up the carries this week?

Well you know, it’s pretty much the same answer you’re gonna get every other week. We’ll see how those guys stick to the gameplan, take to the gameplan that we’re putting in. See which guys does what better. Those are the guys that you want to put in that position on Saturday, the guys that do the better things.

SE: Is it fair to say we’re still at Caleb and Washaun neck and neck, and with Carlton still in the mix?

Yeah I think so. I think so yeah, I definitely think so.

SE: Do you still want one of them to separate themselves, or is it just kind of too late in the season for that?

You’d definitely want somebody to just take it over. Just somebody say, Hey this is mine no matter what. But I’ll follow up by saying that you definitely need more than one guy to handle the load that the season will put on you at this position. Playing the position that they play, and playing how they’re supposed to play it, you’re not always gonna feel too hot through every aspect of the game. So you definitely want to keep those guys fresh, and you definitely want to go in playing more than one guy at that position.

SE: Is the lack of continuity for those two what’s prevented either of them from grabbing the job?

I’ll say this, I think that’s what helped them towards the end of last year, both of those guys being able to get into a groove, sort of having it down as far as we want to have things, how we want to split things up. We haven’t had. We’ve only played what, three games with both of them this year, out of 10. So I do think that that’s been a difference. But we’ll see. This is gonna be really the first week where everyone’s 100 percent healthy, which should help things out too.

SE: The running backs also haven’t been too much of a presence in the passing game. Is that just because of the other weapons that are available once A.J. came back?

You have A.J. Green out there. Me personally, I would rather throw him the ball than throw it to a running back, to be quite honest with you. But definitely with the weapons we have around here, A.J., Tavarres, Durham, even Marlon Brown, and the good tight ends that we have. We have guys that specialize in that and can do damage.

SE: So running-wise, has this season sort of been the definition of one step forward, one step back?

I think it’s definitely been a growing experience. Like I said, those guys have handled the position they’ve put themselves in probably as well as they could – but they put themselves in some pretty bad situations. And they’ve had to deal with that, and they’ve grown from that. I got asked the question, would I want to start (the season) over for them? I wouldn’t, because I think that they’re better players, I think that they’re better people than they were at the beginning of this year.

SE: Does that give you the confidence for next year then, since everyone will be back, and Ken Malcome won’t have the redshirt?

I think I would rather look at this game first. I want to see who does good tomorrow. And I want to look at the film and see who does good today.

SE: So with this game, how are these guys feeling about going up against Nick Fairley?

We’ll see. He’s definitely a special player, there’s no doubting that, he’s a special, special player. That’s why guys come to this league, to play against players like that. We definitely gotta face it. Saturday’s coming. And we’re gonna have to face it. Guys are gonna have to do one thing or another, but we’re gonna have to go play him.

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