The Georgia Bulldogs had a very promising start to the 2015 college football season. Led by star running back Nick Chubb, the sky was the limit (not only when it came to the SEC picture, but the College Football Playoff picture as well).
Unfortunately for Chubb and the Bulldogs, the Heisman contender went down with a nasty leg injury against the Tennessee Volunteers. What resulted: Chubb was lost for the rest of the season and Georgia lost its second game in a row (it lost its previous contest against the Alabama Crimson Tide, who ended up winning the national championship). Side note: Georgia finished the season with a 10-3 record and knocked off the Penn State Nittany Lions in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
It is a new year and there is once again plenty of promise surrounding the Bulldogs. The best part: Chubb recently passed another test and could be ready to go for the first game of the 2016 season against the North Carolina Tar Heels on September 3.
According to DawgNation, Chubb not only had around eight carries in a scrimmage, but he was tackled as well.
“Nick got to carry the ball,” head coach Kirby Smart said following the two-hour scrimmage, according to DawgNation. “He did well. He carried it seven or eight times. I think the officials were more worried about him than we were because they were blowing the whistle quick and we didn’t want that. But he got tackled and did well with it and it was important for him to get over that psychologically but also the physical conditioning part of it.”
In 2015, the Heisman contender racked up 747 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He also averaged a whopping 8.1 yards per carry. In comparison, Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry, who ended up winning the Heisman, only averaged 5.6 yards per carry. In fact, Chubb’s 8.1 YPC was good enough to rank him at No. 1 in the nation in that category.
While simply having eight carries and getting tackled might not seem like much, folks must not forget how ugly Chubb’s injury was. His injury was the type of blow that made fans wonder if he would ever play football again. The answer to that question: Yes.
Some people might be wondering if Chubb can still be the same player he was before he went down due to a devastating injury. ESPN seems to think so, as it ranked Chubb No. 11 in college football heading into the season.
If Chubb can actually duplicate his success from the previous season, some fans might be wondering, can the Bulldogs make a run at the SEC title, and can Chubb compete for the Heisman? It’s certainly going to be an uphill battle in terms of both.
Georgia is ranked No. 16 in the Coaches Poll entering the 2016 season. Four other SEC teams, according to the Coaches Poll, are ranked higher than the Bulldogs (Ole Miss Rebels, Tennessee Volunteers, LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide). Needless to say, the Bulldogs are not the top team in the conference entering 2016.
ESPN SEC Preseason Power Rankings— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 15, 2016
3. Ole Miss
7. Texas A&M
In terms of the Heisman, Chubb will have to go up against players like Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, LSU RB Leonard Fournette, and Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (among others).
Nonetheless, Georgia fans are likely very relieved that Chubb is taking hits in practice. Not to mention, he could be ready to go by the first game of the season against North Carolina.
Nick Chubb starting to look like a lock to start against North Carolina. Interested to see his early season workload https://t.co/NNliyhZzsu— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) August 13, 2016
The Coaches Poll has the Tar Heels ranked at No. 20 in the preseason poll. While Chubb is still a question mark for the first game of the year, he is making great progress.
The Bulldogs won’t play their first SEC opponent until September 17. On that day, they will travel on the road to take on the Missouri Tigers.
[Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images]