Dogs' Ealey poised to take off in 2010

Most of the attention this spring at Georgia has been focused on the quarterback battle.

But I still think the player who can make the biggest difference for the Bulldogs offensively in 2010 is sophomore running back Washaun Ealey.

As a freshman, he was tremendous the last month of the season, but Ealey admits that he was running blind most of the time.

He’ll have a much better understanding of the offense next season and will be a much more complete player. He’ll also be in better shape, having gone through the strength and conditioning program for a whole year.

The other thing we haven’t seen is a healthy A.J. Green at receiver playing with Ealey. Green was injured for much of last November.

“I think I’ll be able to help the team in a lot more ways than I did last year,” Ealey said. “My blocking is better, and I think I’ll read my blocking better and have a better idea of what defenses are trying to do to me.”

Ealey plans to play right around 210 pounds. He was closer to 220 a year ago and says he got out of shape during the preseason when he hyperextended his elbow and couldn’t practice for several weeks.

“And I wouldn’t say he came in great shape, either,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He had to get used to a little different work ethic than he was used to, and he has.”

Ealey, who will wear No. 3 next season, learned well a year ago during his first tour through the SEC. Most notably, he learned that every play counts.

This isn’t high school where you can pick and choose your spots.

“The play you loaf is the play that will beat you,” said Ealey, who scored a Georgia state-record 133 touchdowns in high school. “You better be going hard on every play in this league.

“The other thing I want to do better this year is not get tackled by one guy. You don’t see the great running backs going down on that first hit or being tackled by one guy.”

Ealey finished with 717 rushing yards in just nine games last season. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

If he stays healthy, he's a strong bet to be a 1,000-yard rusher next season and will be running behind one of the deepest, most experienced offensive lines in the league.

"If we all stay healthy, I think you're going to see an explosive offense out there next year," Ealey said.