Over the past couple of years Georgia’s has had several running backs like Todd Gurley, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. In fact, a couple of times a combo of those guys rushed for over 1,000 yards during the same season.
This past week, Georgia’s run-game coordinator Dell McGee was asked about the program’s title as ‘RBU’ and he didn’t shy away from the question.
“It’s a very, very high standard in our room that was established long before me being here,” McGee said. “Our kids kind of take that personally, and they show it every single day with the way they prepare and practice. We as coaches always try to make practice a lot harder than games. If you can make it through practice, day in and day out, you’re going to be really prepared for a game.”
Now, junior running back James Cook is also aware of the certain stigma surrounding the program. Hopefully, Cook and redshirt sophomore Zamir White can keep the tradition alive as the Bulldogs prepare for the 2020 season opener at Arkansas on Sept. 26.
“Zamir and me are like brothers,” Cook said during a Zoom call with reporters Thursday afternoon. “Whatever he does, I compliment him, just try to encourage him and every time I do something, he encourages me. We’re just looking to be the best version of us that we can be.”
Cook agreed, stating that their relationship has grown since arriving in Athens.
“We are just looking to be the best version of us and not anyone else—just to keep continuing to push each other every day and working hard,” said Cook. “That’s about it—just keep pushing and keep working together.”
The duo will be the leaders at the position as they will mentor three younger guys, including sophomore Kenny McIntosh as well as freshman Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards.
McGee provided some insight on how Cook and White are preparing for their roles this season.
“I feel like all of our guys are putting forward great effort, on the field and in the classroom,” Edwards said. “Zamir [White] and James [Cook] have provided a lot of leadership to the room, and they provide a lot of experience. They are definitely two guys that complement one another from the standpoint of understanding the offense and learning the offense the fastest. They’ve kind of propelled themselves in that regard.”
Cook, who’s skills haven’t been used much in the past couple of years, will expectantly get more carries in Todd Monken‘s new offensive system.
“It’s easy to be excited, just getting out there,” Cook said. “We’re learning different things, and out there doing the best we can.”
The Miami, Fl. native has only accumulated 472 rushing yards and four scores in the last two years. He’s also hauled in 24 receptions for 221 yards in the air as well. It’s evident that Cook hasn’t had his skill set showcased yet, but that’s bound to change. Monken actually mentioned a few weeks prior that Cook has had a great offseason.
Cook mentioned in the interview Thursday that he’s actually put on some weight in the offseason.
“I put on a lot weight, and just worked hard over the [off]season—like getting my body in tiptop shape and ready to go,” said Cook. “For the offense, we just [have to] keep connecting just learning and learning every day.”
When asked about if his abilities fit Monken’s offense, Cook complemented the offense as a whole and didn’t make his answer about himself.
“We are just trying to build everything around trying to get better as a team—just getting to know the offense very well, in and out,” said Cook. “Like, knowing other people’s jobs and knowing what to do when other people are lining up, and helping tell them what to do. Things like that, I mean we are just [wanting] to get better every day with this new offense we have going on.”
Regardless, Cook still knows Georgia is a running team at heart. Even if Monken’s new offense is very oriented.
“We are always going to be an RBU team,” said Cook. “We’re going to pound the ball. Nothing is going to change—we are RBU.”