By Joe Vitale:
On Saturday against Tennessee – the team that ended Georgia running back Nick Chubb’s 2015 season – the star ball carrier received just one carry, taking it for three yards.
Chubb came into that game battling a left-ankle sprain, and apparently it had not healed as much as he and the coaching staff had been hoping – hence the one carry.
However, that will not be the case this weekend as Georgia travels to Columbia to take on South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Head coach Kirby Smart said Monday that Chubb is “cleared to play” in practice this week and will be available to play against South Carolina.
“We feel good about him going into this week,” Smart said. “We’re not holding him back in any kind of way. … He’s cleared to go. So we’ll see where he’s at and make sure he builds his reps as the week goes and is ready to go for the game.”
Having one of the best backs toting the rock for your offense is always nice, but Chubb’s absence did not seem to hurt Georgia’s production in a close loss to Tennessee last week. Georgia found success bouncing the ball to the outside, utilizing the speed of Sony Michel, Brian Herrien and Isaiah McKenzie. UGA rushed the ball 46 times for 181 yards.
Though Chubb sat out basically the whole game, he is still Georgia’s leading rusher this season, due in large part to his monster opening week game against North Carolina, in which he rushed for 222 yards. Chubb has 425 rushing yards this season…35th in the nation.
With the injury that just occurred, does Nick Chubb still have a chance at winning the Heisman Trophy this year? It’s not impossible, but he has definitely fallen behind due to the injury and his lack of production in games following the UNC victory. Chubb does not appear to be as quick in running the ball to the outside this year as in year’s past, so he will require more help from his offensive line in opening up holes down the middle if Georgia hopes to increase Chubb’s production.