Mark Richt not ready to name Todd Gurley as starter

Georgia star running back Todd Gurley returns from suspension this week against Auburn, but Bulldogs coach Mark Richt passed on the chance to name Gurley the starter.

"We haven't even talked about that yet," Richt said, according to The Associated Press, about who would start between Gurley and Nick Chubb. "Obviously, both those guys will play and we'll see how Sony (Michel) is doing. I think he came out of the game pretty good, too. I wouldn't be surprised to see more than just Nick and Todd in the ballgame at that running back position. Early in the year we did a good job of giving guys reps and hopefully we can continue to do that."

There would certainly be nothing punitive involved in a decision not to start the star junior. Although Georgia, not the NCAA, initially suspended Gurley for accepting cash for signed memorabilia in violation of NCAA rules, the school has been supportive of him and even appealed on his behalf when the NCAA declined to immediately sign off on Georgia's application for reinstatement.

Freshman Nick Chubb has been very impressive in Gurley's absence, rushing for nearly 700 yards in the four games Gurley missed. But make no mistake, Gurley is arguably the nation's most dominant rusher and the notion that he might not deserve to reclaim the starting role is absurd. It's not as though Georgia doesn't share the rushing load, anyway. In the season opener against Clemson, before Georgia's backups succumbed to injuries, Keith Marshall, Sony Michel and Chubb combined for more carries than Gurley himself got. In other words, Gurley's return doesn't necessarily mean anyone else will spend the entire game against Auburn on the bench.

It all makes for nothing but curiosity as to why Richt would hesitate to name Gurley the starter against the Tigers.

But it also leaves little suspense about what the ultimate decision will be.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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