Crowell, others suspended — Dogs don’t need this now (UPDATED)

This already is the second time Isaiah Crowell has run into trouble. (Jason Getz/AJC)

This already is the second time Isaiah Crowell has run into trouble. (Jason Getz/AJC)

(Updated with confirmation of failed drug tests)

Timing is everything.

A few days following Georgia’s biggest win of the season over its greatest tormentors (Florida), the Bulldogs suspended three tailbacks, including Isaiah Crowell, for the next game. But because Saturday’s opponent is New Mexico State, half the team could be suspended, and it wouldn’t make a difference in the result. It just means that with the team now down four running backs, quarterback Aaron Murray’s favorite call in the huddle will sound something like this: “Everybody go out!”

But, yes — timing is everything, and for Georgia this stinks.

The Dogs have won six straight. They’ve started to distance themselves from a 0-2 start. But now the news is not about the team being on a roll and possibly running the table for the next four weeks and winning the SEC Eastern Division. Rather, it’s about three players veering off course again, which threatens to derail some of the momentum the team has built in the past few weeks.

Coach Mark Richt has suspended Crowell (who also was benched for the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game for unspecified reasons), Carlton Thomas (who also was suspended for the season opener) and Ken Malcome.

All three players failed drug tests that were administered last week before the Florida game, two sources told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And so we have confirmation that, yes, these are college kids who sometimes do really dumb things.

Richt did not mention anything about the suspensions or drug tests at his weekly news conference Tuesday but released a statement later, saying only: “We have certain standards in all that we do, and their actions do not reflect the Georgia way. They will serve their suspensions, learn a lesson and I’m sure be better men for it.”

Now, there’s a lot of speculation out there about what happened and when it happened. The Twitterverse has gone nuclear with suggestions that Richt and school officials knew something was amiss last week but sat on it, so as to defer punishment until the New Mexico State game (which obviously isn’t as important as the Florida game).

Honestly, there are a lot of coaches in Division I college football where I would believe such a conspiracy theory to be true. But Richt isn’t one of them.

Athletic director Greg McGarity told our Chip Towers, “This has nothing to do with anything that [happened before] the Florida game. Absolutely not. … Certain things are found, and we act right then.”

Just when the Dogs finally got going, they stepped in it again. We’ll find out in the coming weeks how much this impacts the team, and it starts with Crowell. He is the biggest concern. He was benched for the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game (Richt never stated why). So this is at least two strikes for the team’s freshman starting running back. There is no need to amplify how important he is to the team. No. 2 running back Richard Samuel already is out for the remainder of the regular season after ankle surgery, so that’s four running backs off the depth chart.

Crowell clearly still has maturity issues. That’s not uncommon for a freshman. But it can’t comfort Richt going down the stretch of the season.

Running back hasn’t been the most stable of positions in Athens. Less you need reminding, the depth chart last season included Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, both potential returnees this year. But they suffered through suspensions and eligibility issues. Ealey transferred to Jacksonville State. King was declared academically ineligible for this fall and went to the NFL (he went undrafted before signing with Minnesota’s practice squad).

The assumption at this point is that Crowell, Thomas and Malcome all will be back in time for the Auburn game in two weeks. But nothing can be certain — nothing except that at a time when the Dogs are finally winning, the last thing they needed was for a few players to start acting like knuckleheads.

And that would certainly seem to be the case here.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

751 comments Add your comment

just a fan

November 1st, 2011
3:18 pm

Simeon Rice N Gravy

November 1st, 2011
3:19 pm

I think they might have that “syndrome” Outkast was talking about.

Troof

November 1st, 2011
3:19 pm

Business as usual in Athens. 2009 Fulmer Cup Champs!

just a fan

November 1st, 2011
3:19 pm

So Brandon Harton gets his first start of his career and if he gets hurt who is his backup?

Troof

November 1st, 2011
3:19 pm

Sorry. 2010 Champs!

Dawg Fan

November 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

Are you kidding me?? Will this team ever get it together and stop with the stupid off-field antics?

Ed

November 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

So, who is left? Walk-ons?

make Blair Walsh carry the football. Sure as hell cant do anything else.

Ed

November 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

So….who is left? Do we have any other tailbacks?

Energy Vampires

November 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

Happy Halloween

JJ

November 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

THE MAJOR

November 1st, 2011
3:21 pm

This was rumored all last week, and now we get suspensions.

Burdell

November 1st, 2011
3:21 pm

Interesting timing of the suspensions…I figure the violations occurred during the bye week. Tough to swallow considering past RB problems on the team…Ealey, King, etc…

Too bad…UGA was finally getting their act together it seemed. I want Tech to play a ranked UGA team…hard to do with no one to tote the rock…

Greg

November 1st, 2011
3:21 pm

“Maybe all three players will be back in time for the Auburn game in two weeks. At this point, nothing is certain”. Yes we do know and it is for certain. They will be back. Richt does whatever it takes to keep his job.

GA Sandlapper

November 1st, 2011
3:21 pm

Must be hanging out with Stephen Garcia…3 more to go for Crowell

Dawg-on it

November 1st, 2011
3:22 pm

This is the closest I’ll get to first. So I’m gonna say “FIRST” anyway. Sooo, who will play tailback?

Lee

November 1st, 2011
3:22 pm

wow, and all this happened AFTER the Florida game? Right! Richt, you’re a joke.

Simeon Rice N Gravy

November 1st, 2011
3:22 pm

Suspend em early before they turn into an Ealey, King, or Carlton Tho… oh wait.

RCB

November 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

We have the irresistible force and unmoveable object on display. Will this writer say something positive or will he say something right? I suppose we will never know.

south carolina dog

November 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

Why do we recruit guys that are destined to bring disappointment?? Isaiah could take some lessons on class from Marcus Lattimore. As much as I dislike the Gamecocks, their players seem less “thuggish” than ours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PerPlexed

November 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

WoW!!!!….suspension came right after the UGA/Florida game. What perfect timing for the suspensions. This is a joke, they will sit out against New Mexico state but not against another SEC team. There’s a reason why we call the SEC the “Dirty Dozen”

honest_abe

November 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

invictus mon

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

“If you’re gona be stupid, ya gotta be tough”. Can’t friggin believe this. How dumb can ya get. There’s the 1-3 string RBs gone. Hope they’re proud of how they left their team in a lurch. That’s going to make our game against NM State interesting. What garbage!

Charles

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

How long before IC is no longer a Bulldog?? I’d hate to see it happen, but an extended carrer as a dawg is not looking promising with his “suspension” frequency. Maybe this time will be enough to wake him up…

B Bell

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

Richard Samuel is proving to be an exceptional young man all around. A player who truly puts the team first as shown by his willingness to play where needed.

DesignerJacket

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

I’m staying out of this one as we can’t know what happened, and I don’t tend to care about issues not happening at GT, but imagine how the walk-on or converted LB or whoever’s gonna get a whole game of playing time feels right about now! I find it fun to think of college football from the perspective of the walk-ons and scout-teamers since I met a few at Tech. Such an interesting life they lead (but don’t think this isn’t a dream come true for their kind.) What an interesting turn of events.

Say It Aint So

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

Just watching IC this year, theres something just not right. The taking himself out of the game with mysterious injuries really bothers me. Also there was talk before signing him that seems to be coming true.

Ralph

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

@Greg….of course they will be back, it only a one game suspension. You must have gone to Tech and are unable to count.

Tom

November 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

Of course, there is no way that the infractions happened BEFORE the Florida game. Nope, no way. Could not happen.

How sad, UGA used to have a bit of integrity. Not anymore. Anything to win.

Hollywould

November 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

As I said on the other blog, rest ‘em My tigers are resting/no excuses next week. You know they will be back then. Bank on it War Eagle!!

honest_abe

November 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

branden smith? heh guy would get killed trying to run between the tackles but he might be a option. it is new mexico state.

The Dogfather

November 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

So lets give the ball to Figgins.He has not run the ball all year. C’mon coach you got to give big Figgins the ball.

GA Sandlapper

November 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

Herschel Talker

November 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

Schultzie:

I disagree this won’t matter. The only running backs available weren’t even on scholarship last year.

THIS IS A JOKE!!!!

THESE PLAYERS STILL DON’T RESPECT RICHT!!! SOMEONE FIRE THIS IDIOT AND GET IN A COACH WHOM THESE PLAYERS WILL FEAR SO THAT THE OFF-FIELD ANTICS STOP!!!

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!
FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

HT

Parrott

November 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

I’m starting to get a not so good feeling about our #1 tailback at georgia. I think they need to recruit another tailback of his calibor, just in case

The Ghost of Wally Butts

November 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

And now we have the (quote) Captain (quote) of our….quote…Dream Team…quote…suspended for not 1/2 a game, but a full game…does this mean that CMR “loves him twice as much since he suspended him for a full game?

For the second time this year, we have players celebrating a big win by committing violations that get them suspended.

CMR = Bobby Bowden 2.0 on discipline. It worked back in the hey day of Bobby Dadgummit, but acting like the playas’ golfin buddy instead of someone to be feared and respected like a Sabin just don’t work these days in Athens.

Will Muschamp

November 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

Funny how all these suspensions took place 3 days after the Florida game! Time for another SEC investigation!

New Mexico

November 1st, 2011
3:27 pm

Shockin the world baby!!!!!

honest_abe

November 1st, 2011
3:27 pm

we don’t even know what happened so i don’t know why people are already judging these kids. ridiculous.

invictus mon

November 1st, 2011
3:27 pm

Tom, go whine to someone else. Not here. Gators and geeks have always been sore losers.

Bogey

November 1st, 2011
3:27 pm

Crowell already has the reputation of a “me” guy and this will just add fuel to the fire. Malcome has been unhappy and even left the team for a day earlier this season so he’s probably on thin ice. Second suspension for Thomas as well. What is going on with these guys?

GA Sandlapper

November 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

Now you know what us Gamecocks feel like, starting a 5th string running back! UGA will still win by 30!

Nik Saban

November 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

Keep Mark Richt!

GA Sandlapper

November 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

Enter your comments here

Say It Aint So

November 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

Its unbelieveble the BS that continues to happen under CMR’s tenure. What can we expect next?

Paull Johnson

November 1st, 2011
3:29 pm

Keep Saint Richt!

bamadawg

November 1st, 2011
3:29 pm

Greg, You want to talk about whatever it takes to win. You better look at the dope smokers at LSU getting a ONE game suspension. Les wasn’t going to let them miss the UA game!!! Our guys would have been gone 2 games.

Steve Spurrier

November 1st, 2011
3:29 pm

Do NOT fire Richt!

Slick

November 1st, 2011
3:30 pm

Guess I’ll take the over in this game then since it looks like UGA will be in a lot of shotgun with 4 wide.

invictus mon

November 1st, 2011
3:30 pm

B Bell..Richard Samuel is proving to be an exceptional young man all around. A player who truly puts the team first as shown by his willingness to play where needed.

Ya…the same Richard Samuel who just had ankle surgery and is now out 2 weeks. Great guy, amazing runs between the tackles last week. Not gona do is a whole lotta good next week.

San Diego Dawg

November 1st, 2011
3:30 pm

Look, no one roots for this team more than me. But this streak is a smoke screen. We are *better* than last year, but we are not a great team. We certainly cannot afford these kind of distractions.

The issue isn’t who we are recruiting and who is on our team. There is no way Bama, LSU, Auburn and the like get higher character players than we do. We all get about the same type of character player when you blend it all together. Some really good, a few bad apples and lot in the middle.

To me, this is coaching and the tone that is set by the leaders of this program. Either this, or all of our rivals just sweep these instances under the carpet.

This team will not compete for anything worthwhile until there is some form of discipline within the ranks. There seems to be more than there was in the past, but we ain’t even close to where we need to be. Yeah, were winning. But peel back the layers…paper tiger.