May 27, 2009

Competition Welcomed

As each day brings Georgia closer and closer to the start of fall camp, running back Caleb King does so with a special sense of anticipation.

You see, the former Rivals.com top 100-performer believes he has something to prove, not only to his coaches and teammates, but to fans of the Bulldog Nation as well.

King, who was hailed as royalty when he arrived in Athens two years ago, admits he has yet to provide the sense that he can be the man to take over for Knowshon Moreno, who spearheaded the Bulldogs' rushing attack the past two seasons.

Of course, he didn't help his cause midway through last season when he fell out of favor with coaches after missing a key missed block in last year's game against Florida. King, who rushed 61 times for 247 yards with one touchdown last fall, swears it was a lesson learned.

So, although running backs coach Bryan McClendon has King, Carlton Thomas, Richard Samuel, Dontavius Jackson, Kalvin Daniels and Washaun Ealey on equal footing in the battle for the starting job this fall, King is looking forward to the competition.

"It seems like that's what everybody talks about but I'm going about trying to change that for next year," King said. "I believe my blocking skills were my downfall last year. I don't that's the case any more. I'd like to say I'm an all-around player."

King has certainly put in the effort to make sure that's the case.

The Norcross native has spent much of the off-season working with the same personal trainer he did while in high school, and has dropped 10 pounds to his current weight of 210.

King conceded he weighed 217 pounds last year.

"I'm in much better shape than I was last year," said King, who rushed 61 times for 247 yards last year. "I feel great. I'm able to make my cuts quicker, become faster and more explosive than I was before."

Like King, Thomas was able to take advantage of the absences of the injured Samuel and Jackson during the spring to make an early impression, but admitted that his older teammate has really opened his eyes.

"Not to say that Caleb didn't work hard last year, but he's extremely motivated to do well," Thomas said. "He was out here working all through spring break. There's just more fire to him. He's working hard, I'm working hard and we're just feeding off each other."

Like all the running backs, the biggest thing McClendon said that Thomas and King need to do is become more familiar with the Bulldogs system.

The biggest thing, like I mentioned earlier, is just them (Thomas and King) knowing what to do and being confident in what to do, and being able to identify who we may declare and who is responsible for who," McClendon said. "That's been the biggest thing to help those guys. There's always things you could do as far as technical stuff but those guys have come a long way and they're just going to continue to get better."

King wholeheartedly agreed.

"I can see the big picture," King said. "I know I can be the guy but it's up to me to make it work, which is what I'm going to do."



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