Depth in backfield helps Bulldogs absorb Kenny McIntosh injury

Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh (6) during the Bulldogs’ practice session Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Credit: UGA Athletics

Credit: UGA Athletics

Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh (6) during the Bulldogs’ practice session Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

ATHENS – What happened to Georgia’s Kenny McIntosh on Saturday illustrates three things: Running back is a hazardous position; fourth-year backs Zamir White and James Cook returning was a big deal; there is good reason the Bulldogs continue to recruit the running back position like they do.

McIntosh, a rising junior from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., suffered a dislocation of his right elbow during Georgia’s first day in full pads on Saturday. UGA trainers were able to pop the joint back into place, but McIntosh will be out of action for the remaining four weeks of spring ball. It should not affect his availability to play in the fall.

McIntosh confirmed the news by posting a photo of himself — with a face-palming emoji filter covering his face — as an Instagram story Sunday morning.

Georgia junior running back Kenny McIntosh posted this selfie on Instagram Sunday morning after spraining his right elbow in the Bulldogs' practice on Saturday. (Instagram)

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There is definitely some lost value for both the Bulldogs’ offense and for McIntosh being out this spring. He established himself last season as one of Georgia’s best receivers out of the backfield and big-play threat with the ball in his hands. Continuing to build chemistry with JT Daniels and the other quarterbacks and expanding his knowledge and presence in the playbook was important work for him.

But the Bulldogs still have four other scholarship backs to turn to, including White and Cook, numbers 1 and 2 in the rotation. McIntosh was number 3, but sophomores Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards proved themselves excellent backups as freshmen last year. And that does not include freshman Lovasea Carroll, a 4-star running back signee out of IMG Academy who coach Kirby Smart tabbed for conversion to cornerback. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have at least four other high-caliber invited walkons in camp.

McIntosh’s injury does, however, probably heighten the caution with which Georgia will proceed the rest of the spring. Typically, the Bulldogs don’t tackle their backs to the ground in scrimmages. But there might be an extra layer of insulation around them going forward, especially White and Cook, both of whom have dealt with injuries already. The good news is it will likely mean even more work for Milton and Edwards, who certainly need it.

McIntosh was the third-most utilized back on the Bulldogs’ roster last season. He carried the football 47 times for 251 yards (5.34 per carry) and scored one touchdown in eight games. He missed two after suffering a knee injury early against Alabama. McIntosh also had 10 catches for 111 yards, including three critical receptions on Georgia’s final drive toward a game-winning field goal against No. 8 Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

McIntosh’s injury also opens up the door on the kickoff-return team. He averaged 36 yards on six kickoff returns before he was sidelined in the fourth game.

The Bulldogs return to the field for the fourth of 15 spring practices on Tuesday. The annual G-Day intrasquad game will be played April 17. It is sold out.

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