For running back Nick Chubb, one year has made all the difference.
This time last year when Georgia opened spring practice, he was on crutches, looking on as he recovered from his knee injury suffered against Tennessee the prior October.
Fast forward to this year and Georgia's workhorse is stronger, a few pounds lighter and, most importantly, fully healthy and ready to lead his team into the upcoming season.
“I feel great. Last year, I wasn’t hurt; it was just different,” Chubb said. “My range of motion now is freer, being able to move quicker and more lateral.”
Chubb admitted he had to overcome mental hurdles as well.
He didn’t start running until June of last year, and, at that point, the season was only a few months away. Despite playing all last year, his timing wasn’t up to his standards.
Now, he’s without any braces on either leg and is leading his team in any way he can.
“I was always told that the first year back is hard and the second you're back to normal,” Chubb said. “I’m starting to see those things coming into play now.”
Another aid to his comfort, aside from a full recovery? This is also the first time in his career that the full offensive staff is returning for consecutive seasons.
That's allowed the conversations with staff to shift to the different ways Chubb, as well as his fellow running backs, can be used.
“[Jim Chaney] told us that we’re going to use all the backs in different ways,” Chubb said, “Me and Sony have to be more versatile, just doing things so I can move out to where Sony is sometimes and run routes."
Expanding that versatility should aid Chubb's future draft prospects, an opportunity he passed on testing out this year.
“That one decision I made kind of changed a lot, I could be right there with those guys,” Chubb said, “But at this time, I’m right here and what’s said doesn’t matter. I’m happy to be here.”