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Todd Gurley was in a pretty good mood when he addressed the media following Saturday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.
So much so, he was even able to joke around with reporters when asked about the ice wrap that covered his right hand.
"I hit somebody out there," Gurley deadpanned. "Naw, I'm good."
Actually, Gurley had reason to feel that way.
After rushing 10 times for 67 yards, the rising junior said he felt "close to normal" and was actually able to rip off what he called some "nice runs."
"The first two series I did," Gurley said. "There was some pretty good holes out there."
It marked the second straight practice where Gurley made his presence felt.
During Thursday's practice, Gurley broke off a long touchdown run during a situational drill that covered a reported 50-plus yards.
"That was just a little situation thing. You had to score or run the clock out. I just happened to hit the hole," Gurley said. "I was expecting them to blow the whistle, but I just kept running."
Head coach Mark Richt likes what he's seen, at least as far as the past week is concerned.
"He started slow in spring. The early practices, I thought he was ho-humming it a little bit. Then he really … this last week it was impressive," Richt said. "When I say ho-humming. I don't know if that's the right word. I don't know if that's how people perceive that. I don't know if he was going as hard as he could go. This past week, I thought he was tremendous every day, including today."
Gurley knows teammates are depending on him.
After suffering a high ankle sprain that cost him three games last fall, the Tarboro, N.C. native never truly got healthy and when spring practice began some wondered if he might take it easy in order to rest up for the fall.
Apparently, that was not quite the case as he's been challenged by Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to take as much advantage of his workouts this spring as he can.
Their message has apparently been received.
"Yeah man. It's an exciting year. We've got basically everybody back and it's exciting, even for the defense because everybody is so pumped up with the new coaching staff. Everybody just wants to compete harder. If I'm competing hard, it's not going to do anything but make those guys better," Gurley said. "We're just tired of being mediocre, just going to SEC Championship games, going to a bowl game and losing. We're trying to start something new."
Richt said Gurley understands what is at stake.
"Oh, yeah, I do. I don't think there's much doubt he's going to have some kind of decision to make when it's all over this year. He'll be draft eligible. If he plays as good as he can play and stays healthy, he'll have to figure it out," Richt said. "He knows that, but he wants to focus on this season and being the best he can and just enjoy college, enjoy being a kid. He likes being a normal guy.
"He wants to be as much as he can, but it's hard to be. You go out in the public and people want your autograph, people want to take a picture with you, all that kind of stuff. He knows it's really time to focus on being great in every detail of his life and I think he's taking on that challenge.