Georgia’s RB legacy takes another hit with suspension

Carlton Thomas is the latest Georgia running back to find trouble. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Carlton Thomas is the latest Georgia running back to find trouble. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Back on the Left Coast, USC was referred to as “Tailback U” for its rich history of running backs. Among them: Marcus Allen, Mike Garrett, Charles White,  Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell, Reggie Bush and a certain alleged double murderer.

Georgia’s history may or may not be equal to that, but with the likes of Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Charley Trippi, Frank Sinkwich, Rodney Hampton, Robert Edwards and Knowshon Moreno, it has an argument.

So what happened?

The Bulldogs just lost their third running back of the offseason. At least for one game. Junior Carlton Thomas, who only last week spoke of taking on a leadership role with the team, has been suspended for one game for unspecified violation of team rules during spring football, according to our Chip Towers. That’s one less body available for the season opener against Boise State.

Thomas’  suspension follows Caleb King being declared academically ineligible (again) and ultimately leaving the program, then declaring himself for the NFL supplemental draft (good luck with that). And King’s exit followed Washaun Ealey being released and transferring to 1-AA Jacksonville State.

Ealey had a series of off-the-field incidents in Athens. So did King (who also was ineligible for last season’s bowl game and was suspended two games earlier in the season). Now, Thomas falls in line. Or maybe that should be out of line.

When and why did the Georgia running back position become such a parade of knuckleheads?

I’ve stated in this space before: How the Bulldogs perform next season will be based largely on the success of the offensive line and freshman back Isaiah Crowell. The Dogs’ best hope is that Crowell is a departure from his recent predecessors.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

289 comments Add your comment

Sir Barks A Lot

July 18th, 2011
1:38 pm

Jeff Schultz

July 18th, 2011
1:39 pm

UGA_2001

July 18th, 2011
1:40 pm

This would’ve been covered up at Aub, Fla or Tenn.

BTW, when do Tenn and Aub get nailed by the NCAA? Are any of our rivals not under investigation?

Jamaica Dawg

July 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

It’s amazing how much the AJC loves to sensationalize. How about some more informative (and less drama based ) reporting on the two studs that the Dawgs just got commitments from at Dawgnight at Tailback, Derrick Henry and Stanley Williams?

Jamaica Dawg

July 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

It’s amazing how much the AJC loves to sensationalize. How about some more informative (and less drama based ) reporting on the two studs that the Dawgs just got commitments from at Dawgnight at Tailback, Derrick Henry and Stanley Williams?

You are absolutely correct sir!

July 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

I take with a grain of salt when kids are asked to comment upon taking over a leadership role.
Their actions hardly keep up with their words.
Please remember to lead by example before you open up your mouth.

Dawgs Roll

July 18th, 2011
1:43 pm

This is not a deal–he wouldn’t play much anyway. Crowell is the real deal and will be starting from day 1. Look for crowell to run over Boise St. and get 100 against SC in Athens.

BW

July 18th, 2011
1:43 pm

Wow…it’s like they don’t want to start…go figure

Bartles & James

July 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

Jeff, Thanks for the new kindness in reporting of all things Dawgs.
What happened to the old Schultz that just spewed venom and sarcasms in any thing related to UGA?
We like the new and improved Jeff better. Easier to converse with….
And as always, we thank you for your support!

DawginLex

July 18th, 2011
1:48 pm

Dawgs Roll

a little dose of reality here.

The depth chart for the opener will be:

Samuel-RS Jr 6′2″ 238 lbs
Malcome-RS Fr 6′1″ 220 lbs
Crowell-Fr 5′11″ 190 lbs

If we have the ball the normal projected amount of time-80 plays, Murray will throw it about 35 and we will run about 45.

Samuel will get 20+ carries
Malcome will get 8-10 carries
Crowell will get 8-10 carries
Nick Marshall/Branden Smith will get about 5 or 6

Crowell will be lucky to gain 30 yards.

Reality

Jeff Schultz

July 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

Jamaica Dawg — Sensationalize? Seriously? Three RBs had problems — that’s fact, not fabrication.

PMC

July 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

Not really, if anything it’s further proof that running back is a harder position to fill than we usually think. The greats are few and far between. Just because the basic philosophy behind the position is simple the execution at elite levels is difficult.

It’s another reason I don’t feel so high on Crowell yet. Lattimore is an incredibly special talent who has the propensity to work very hard at his craft, those don’t come around all to frequently.

Most of these guys just play because of the bennies that come along with it.

Doug

July 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

I’d include Lars Tate in the list of best UGA running backs. He’s third all-time in career rushing yards and second in rushing TDs. He never put up a spectacular season, but he was steady.

Jeff Schultz

July 18th, 2011
1:51 pm

You Are Absolutely Correct Sir — Yep, actions-over-words indeed is the way to go.

slydog

July 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

this at least cuts out the stupid draw play right up the middle on 3rd and 8…lol With this tailback situation, UGA will have to be more creative in the passing game and spread the ball out. maybe use even more formations, shifts, and motions than ever before. I believe down to my core, with all these elements presenting problems, CMR will not give BoBo free reign on offense like in the past. It WILL cost him his job. I see some tension forming up between the two as CMR will probably overrule him alot on key downs. Take what we have left, call alot of slants and screens, then pound them in the third quarter with malcolme and samuel, they Could be unstoppable. there is nothing better than when a talented team and its embattled coach have their backs against the wall

PMC

July 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

Florida has had one of the best football programs in the nation the last decade, the bulk of thier running backs are borderline awful. Why?

It’s really difficult to find guys who have the measurables you need that goes along with the work eithic the position requires.

May the Force be with you!

July 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

Yeah Jeff, it is better to join the Force and be for UGA then be on the Darkside….

Beast from the East

July 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

“This would’ve been covered up at Aub, Fla or Tenn.”

UGA_2001,
Keep dissing your superiors if it makes you feel better, kid.

Jeff Schultz

July 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

Bartles & James — Have I changed? Didn’t notice. Well, maybe gained a few pounds but …

Worm

July 18th, 2011
1:54 pm

Ever hear of Isiah Crowell and Derrick Henry(Who was just named the top prospect in the state of Florida for 2013)…

UGA_2001

July 18th, 2011
1:56 pm

Beast-from-the-East:

Shhhhh! The adults are talking.

Sir Barks A Lot

July 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

To be honest – Ealey and King leaving is the best thing for them and the program. Both of these guys developed into liabilities and were cancerous to the team due there inconsistencies on and off the field.

Although it would have been a great story if the both turned it around – finally mature and “get it” – it was wishful thinking and I do wish them the best.

All is not lost:
1. Moving Samuel is HUGE and a plus. He passed blocked exxceptionally well when he played as a 17 year old – and is hungry and mature. Yes, he has stiff hips – but he is a powere runner.
2. Malcome is a brute – another power runner – redshirted last year and had a great spring – although he was injured. He is ready to go and will have 2 summers in the system. Reports are his fitness level is exceptional.
3. Brandon Harton – walk-on – fast, extremely quick – hard runner and a big surprise to the team.
Similar to Carlton Thomas – 3rd down and change of pace type of back.
4. I. Crowell – Should have an impact – need to find a way to put him in position to be successful as he is learning the system and learning how to pass block.

Regarding Carlton Thomas – extremely quick and fast – but he scares me as he is a fumble liability -even in the spring game – he fumbled. On his TD run – the ball squirted out after he broke the plain.

More concerned with the O-Line.

slydog

July 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

@ pmc… also add that both UF and UGA have not let the running game be the focus of their offense for years. even miami put 4 pro bowl rb’s in the league (two with ACL issues) during the last 12 years and alabama may have a string 5 in the nfl real soon.

Worm

July 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

BTW-Jeff, Thanks for being on top of that Tech investigation…The next sound we heard was snoring-Your words, not mine!

UGA_2001

July 18th, 2011
1:59 pm

Bottom line is UGA is playing by a different set of rules than their SEC rivals.

Florida players have to get arrested 5 times before they’re even suspending. At Aub and Ala, players are never arrested because the cops are on the take!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 18th, 2011
1:59 pm

DawginLex,

If Murray averages 35 passes a game I think we are in trouble. Only two games last year did he attempt that many, Florida and UCF. I think we gotta pass it successfully, but that does not many in large quantities.

Schultz is right. UGA has had two good backs since 1995, Musa Smith and Knowshon Moreno. Edwards was nice, but only in glimpses. So what was once Tailback U is now as much a myth as anything. UGA has bombed on to many cant miss tailbacks, Sanks over Jamal Lewis? It is as much evaluation of talent as it is coaching. The talent evaluation in Athens has got to get more better as Ray Goff would say.

GeoffDawg

July 18th, 2011
2:00 pm

A legacy is not determined by one season alone let alone a one game suspension for a 2nd or 3rd string player. You can argue that CMR’s balanced approach has deemphasized the running game over the last ten years over the history of the program, I’d stack Georgia’s RBs against anybody. We’re forgetting other guys like Lars Tate, Tim Worley and Musa Smith. Also, even though he was overshadowed by Garrison Hearst, some guy named Terrel Davis.

WayxDog

July 18th, 2011
2:00 pm

Can Crowell learn the system fast enough?

cave canem

July 18th, 2011
2:00 pm

Sensationalize? Yes, seriously. Three tailbacks having problems of various sorts does nothing to the legacy of great running backs at UGA. Why not just report the facts instead of fabricating some supposed hit to the “legacy”? Some of those facts might include the fact that UGA reruited a top running back last year, will, probably get another this year, and is already recruiting for the future at the position. The tradition will continue.

MichaelC

July 18th, 2011
2:02 pm

Sure will be nice to have Murray doing the dump off plays to our nice crop of TE’s (Charles mostly) As good as running plays, but more effective……

DawgDad

July 18th, 2011
2:06 pm

With a 238-pound RS-Jr. tailback meaned-up at linebacker for a year I’m expecting the Dawgs to line up and run right at people until they stop him. Shouldn’t hurt the pass-protection, either, and that QB-TE tandem can keep the linebackers and safeties honest. I’m more concerned with the O-line than the tailback situation.

Not Disappointed

July 18th, 2011
2:11 pm

I’m a Tech fan but this is very sad. I hate to see these young men get in trouble. Hopefully it’s not to big of a problem and he will be back on the field soon.

Ramblin Wreck!

If they could only speak...

July 18th, 2011
2:13 pm

Does anybody else cringe when they hear a player being interviewed that speaks with the intelligence of a third grader? They’re in college and should be able to at least speak english….Jeez.
The state of Georgia needs to add speech classes to their high school core curriculum.
It can only help. Every student needs to be able to articulate the English language (except for athletes?!) for future employment. So what’s the downside?

JB

July 18th, 2011
2:15 pm

#1. We have not been tailback U in a while. #2. This is just business as usual, when a player has an issue, they sit, unlike Tech. and speaking of Tech, what about that image. On probation TWICE in less than 10 years. They can spin it all they want, but that program seems out of control. 2005-6, 11 football players ALLOWED to play who were not eligible. Someone please list all the probation’s under Richt’s tenure.

If they could only speak...

July 18th, 2011
2:16 pm

Don’t knock the messenger.

San Diego Dawg

July 18th, 2011
2:16 pm

We best prepare for reality. This is going to be another long season. You just cannot like our chances to win the SEC with this set of RB’s and that offensive line. Unless one of those backs has a “break out” year and the OL responds to their new coach, this is going to be a long, long season. Best prepare for 7-5. Maybe 8-4.

Call me the wet blanket.

Russ, the Temporary Running Back

July 18th, 2011
2:17 pm

Yes, that’s right . . . Coach has asked me to run a few plays at tailback. I run low to the ground and am hard to knock off my feet. Most importantly, I have no arrest record and I am popular on campus. I remember last year meeting the Okra Festival Queen. I’ve told some of you this story before. She was a student at UGA and she was wearing a hat that looked like a piece of fried okra. At halftime, she urged everyone to eat more okra and not to drive while drunk. That completed the Athens experience. It was a good day of Georgia football.

JB

July 18th, 2011
2:20 pm

Anyone care to guess how many games Garcia at Carolina will miss this year. Remember, he like Carlton, got in trouble last spring. Garcia suspended at the time indefinitely, yea right. Garcia will play, Carlton won’t. Interesting. By the way, that was Garcia’s SIXTH suspension…… No, no difference.

chazzo

July 18th, 2011
2:22 pm

1st: I’d add smith, henderson, worley, and tate to the list of UGA backs.

2nd: It might be a hasty leap to lump Thomas in with Ealey and King. Unspecified but speculated?

As far as thug BS goes, did it ever occur to anyone that maybe UGA hands out so many suspensions because they are the only ones that punish smoking weed and ditching class?

DawginLex

July 18th, 2011
2:23 pm

Lowcountry

I hope you are right but I fear we will be unable to pound the rock like a lot of us want to.

If the defense is doing well, our gameplan could change to more of a running game.

JB

July 18th, 2011
2:24 pm

SEC’s win at any cost Coah’s by rank
1. Auburn
2. Bama
3. Carolina
4. Fla
5. LSU
6.Miss St
7.UGA
8.the rest don’t matter.

42-34 Dawgs All Year Long

July 18th, 2011
2:24 pm

Bottom line is AJC dropped the ball on the cheating/lying/cover-up going on down the street at tech and Jeff is trying desperately to bail them out. Even Pat Forde called the AJC out for missing the story.

JB

July 18th, 2011
2:24 pm

s/b coach’s

Beast from the East

July 18th, 2011
2:25 pm

“Florida players have to get arrested 5 times before they’re even suspending.”

UGA_2001,
And you hve proof of this? Please provide it.
I’ll make an allegation. UGA grads from 2001 cannot put together an intelligible sentence. Proof provided above. LOL!

What's up with Donnan?

July 18th, 2011
2:26 pm

Was he suckered into this thing was legit?
Sounds like he did a lot of the legwork, but the question is….
What did he know and when did he know it?
Love that old, long over-used Watergate question from Sen. Baker.
Fits into any investigation, conspiracy, etc. anytime, anywhere!

Bishop Eddie Longs Red Panties

July 18th, 2011
2:27 pm

Are we going to have enough players to field a team ?

Oh well......

July 18th, 2011
2:28 pm

Isaiah better have a big red “S” on his chest and let’s hope there ain’t no Kryptonite on the defense……….

Buckeye

July 18th, 2011
2:30 pm

The Annointed One II is only 5/11 190??

What’s the plan, dogs, when takes one upside the chin and decides to lay down??

Boise in ATL

July 18th, 2011
2:30 pm

King and Ealey hurt UGA and Carlton Thomas is not an every down dependable RB.
Samuel, Malcome and Crowell will lead the way for UGA. It may take some time for this position to gel. I would be equally as concerned with your Offensive Line and WR’s.

If UGA picks up Marshall and Henry for 2013 – then UGA is have a stable of backs that every school will envy.

I wonder if D. Henry from Yulee (love the name – Yulee) will have a negative impact on UGA’s chances at getting Marshall.

BOISE VS UGA
Funny how many Dog fans are still thinking Georgia is going to hammer the Broncos!
Vegas and the rest of the college world see this as a Bronco victory.

I expect a hard fought game – and Boise to win this game – potentially win it going away in the last half of the 4Q. Much like Mississsippi State did – or South Carolina did – or Auburn did!
If this game is close in the 4Q – Boise will win.

Recent 8-5 and 6-7 records are not flukes – but realities to the state of the UGA football program.

Boise has a large number of returning starters – with the exception of WR. However, the next wave of WR’s will be ready to go. Our defense if very good – and our Offenses excels in picking teams apart. We play are disciplined and play as a TEAM – two things UGA has not done in quite sometime.

I expect UGA’s defense to be improved – but your OL is a mess, your WR’s are unproven, and you are converting a LB to play RB – when it did not work out for him the first time.

With that said – UGA may need to develop first half of the season – then gel into a monster second half. Like the year UGA whipped Hawaii. UGA was a completely different team 2nd half of that season.

Best of luck to UGA.

Since moving to ATL about 3 years ago – have really enjoyed following the teams and love the passion. ATL is the capital of college football – Hockey??? who cares!!!

Buckeye

July 18th, 2011
2:32 pm

Boise,

I’m with you. It will be the only game in the Dome for the dogs this year. Put a hammer on Isaiah (The Annointed One II).