Should Georgia rest Crowell against Tech for SEC title game?

Isaiah Crowell had only two carries against Kentucky before being taken out. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Isaiah Crowell had only two carries against Kentucky before leaving. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This is not to short-change the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry in any way. Whichever school wins the annual game owns 12 months of bragging rights — or to be more precise, mocking and taunting rights.

But no matter how big the Tech game is to Georgia, the potential LSU game next week is bigger. Ten years from now, whether the Bulldogs won an SEC championship in 2011 will carry far more weight than whether they defeated the Jackets, rivalry banter notwithstanding.

That’s why Georgia coach Mark Richt has to answer a difficult question this week: Should the Dogs rest running back Isaiah Crowell against Tech?

The Bulldogs have to believe they have a chance to win the SEC championship because, even if they’re a heavy underdog to LSU or Alabama, it’s not far-fetched to believe they can win one game in the Georgia Dome. But without a reasonably healthy Crowell — and with Carlton Thomas lost in a blur of suspensions — the running game takes a hit.

Richt says he expects Crowell to play despite ankle issues. Crowell has battled health issues much of the season but a sprained ankle is particularly problematic. Ankles are slow healing, and seeing Crowell pulled after two carries against Kentucky set off alarms.

Sitting Crowell against Tech is a risk. Richt would run the risk of hurting Georgia’s chances to beat Tech, especially if the Jackets can run and control the clock and keep quarterback Aaron Murray and his receivers on the sideline. But if the SEC championship is bigger, shouldn’t the plan this week be made with next week in mind?

What are your thoughts on this subject? Should Crowell be rested this week? Or should the thought process be: Go all out to beat Tech and worry about next week after this game?

By Jeff Schultz

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

887 comments Add your comment

I did it.

November 21st, 2011
10:29 pm

I did it.

November 21st, 2011
10:29 pm

Yep…still first. Never, ever been first before. What do I win? :D

Right On Time

November 21st, 2011
10:30 pm

No. Use anything and everything to beat tech. That is a must win game every year.

Old School

November 21st, 2011
10:30 pm

never happen unless he really, really can’t physically go

barney strickland

November 21st, 2011
10:30 pm

dbc

November 21st, 2011
10:31 pm

If healthy, Crowell should be put in the game and should have the churchbells to stay in said game until his services warrant a back-up receiving playing time. Until then, his heart will remain the size of a skittle.

NCR

November 21st, 2011
10:32 pm

Jawga is gonna get pummeled twice. Overlooking the Jackets this weekend and then reeling from the Sting next weekend. Count it!

Atlantalawyer

November 21st, 2011
10:32 pm

I would like to see Crowell rested for the rest of the season. He is too fragile to play in the SEC. Let him sit the rest of this season out and then move on to a Big East team.

St. Clarkston

November 21st, 2011
10:32 pm

I’ll take a victory over tech, if I had to choose.

I did it.

November 21st, 2011
10:33 pm

Crowell has been an interesting case study this year. So much talent and so many questions. I really don’t know what to make of the young man. I hope he gets his head together. This many voice can’t be wrong. He needs to take a long look in the mirror and decide what his legacy shall be. That of the ultra talented running back that never lived up to his potential….or the man that decided it was more important to leave a legacy that others would marvel at. I hope he will choose wisely.

MikeDog

November 21st, 2011
10:33 pm

Play him if he is able. There is no guarantee about any player staying healthy and I hate the jackets.

ben

November 21st, 2011
10:33 pm

Can’t see resting him. Needs to play and needs to get in a game…get his rhythm. Georgia needs the confidence of a win over tech going into the SEC championship.

Kenneth E. Futch

November 21st, 2011
10:37 pm

That is a silly column.

Say What?

November 21st, 2011
10:39 pm

If the kid is hurt then sit him until he is ready to go. I mean he is a high schooler. and he has not had a year in the weight room as of yet. Let BOO-Malcolm carry the load. he has been waiting so this is his time to put up or shut up! Well what are you going to do Malcolm? Break out game Vs tech, or permanent third string relief guy?
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE, HOLD ON TO THE ROCK AND PLAY BALL SON!

and loan me 5 dollars till Sunday!

Brotherman

Go dawgs!

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 21st, 2011
10:39 pm

I’m a fan of neither Tech nor UGA. Tech is not a top 25 top team, regardless what the polls say, and UGA has not beaten a single significantly good team — they lose to the two best teams they played, barely survive against Vandy and Kentucky and are so fortunate not to have played LSU, Bama or Arkansas. Even though they’re playing for the SEC championship (thanks to a patsy schedule), they’re not even one of the best 5 teams in the SEC. All the “9-1″ talk that the dawg fans love to scream about in their recent success against Tech no longer holds water. It’s now Richt versus Johnson and it’s my prediction that Johnson will even the series at 2-2.

GTBob

November 21st, 2011
10:39 pm

It’s not like if he plays that he is actually going to stay in the game long. Might as well rest him.

DAWG57

November 21st, 2011
10:40 pm

Can anyone venture a guess what in God’s name is wrong with this kid Carlton Thomas? Is he on the verge of getting dismissed from the team?

Potter

November 21st, 2011
10:40 pm

In 2009, when Tech was in this EXACT same situation, and then lost to the Dawgs, their fans(sic) were QUICK to point out that they had “more important games to prepare for”

Now all of a sudden they want to act like they are the most important game on OUR schedule???

Tech fans(sic) are completely delusional.

TO HELL WITH GEORGIA TECH

Yo Dawgs

November 21st, 2011
10:41 pm

I’m sorry, but i just hate tech, wreck tech this Saturday!

Go dawgs

GT Fan

November 21st, 2011
10:42 pm

LOL, it won’t matter.

UGA is not winning the SEC without a running game. Not against at Chavis coached defense.

I have been saying all freaking year the SEC East champ is cannon fodder for the West. USEe had the better chance with Lattimore because at least USCe has a running game with him.

Crowell’s ankle will not heal as bad as it was hurt last week in two weeks. If GT does not go after it, LSU darn sure will. Crowell will not last the entire game against LSU, so you have a 160 pound soaking wet running back behind him.

FACT: UGA will NOT beat LSU, Bama, or Arkansas without a bruiser and UGA doesn’t have one. Period.

UGA’s defense is unproven at best as well. UGA has not played an offense ranked above 60th in the nation, they average around 100 in total opposing offenses. The only teams they will face or have faced have great offenses and UGA has lost one them. We’ll see this weekend how great their D is.

Either way…it won’t matter. UGA won’t even sniff LSU or Bama. No running game=no chance.

A gentleman and a scholar

November 21st, 2011
10:42 pm

Smitty —

Name five SEC football teams better than Georgia right now. Name five SEC football teams with higher BCS rankings than Georgia at this moment.

Thanks in advance.

Right On Time

November 21st, 2011
10:43 pm

I hate tech. But, GTBob has a point.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 21st, 2011
10:43 pm

Seems to me that 2008 was the year that UGA was gonna win it all, yet lost to Tech. Then the following year was Tech’s best season in years (ACC champions), but lost to UGA. Both teams really have nothing to say.

Finchdawg

November 21st, 2011
10:44 pm

Play him. We need to beat Tech. Period.

Dawg stuck in Bham

November 21st, 2011
10:45 pm

So, what is the real word out of Athens on Carlton Thomas???? Anyone heard anything????

BG

November 21st, 2011
10:46 pm

Richt owns Tech!

SMITTYSTHEMAN

November 21st, 2011
10:47 pm

Top 4 — LSU, Bama, Arkansas, South Carolina. If they played Vandy or Kentucky again, they would not win both of them. YOur welcome in advance.

JacketFan77

November 21st, 2011
10:47 pm

What a bunch of sissy nonsense. Yeah, sit Isiah “Cush” Crowell, by all means. Or don’t. Doesn’t matter to us. We’re going to decimate you mutts. Be glad Munson didn’t live to see the beat down y’all are going to get on Saturday.

COFH
THWG

Headley Lamar

November 21st, 2011
10:49 pm

Won’t matter because Crowell will take himself out anyway. Doesn’t have the heart to be a Dawg – easily injured, takes himself out of games. Won’t matter past this season since I can’t see him managing to stay eligible and out of trouble for an entire off season.
Wish we still had Caleb King. With the way he ran against Tech in 2009 you’d think we could have ignored all the other stuff.
Not feeling good about this game.

tekfan

November 21st, 2011
10:49 pm

Either or

November 21st, 2011
10:51 pm

Crowell will pay 3 or 4 plays vs GT then go out. He will play two or three vs LSU/BAMA/ARKy, then go out. He for now is a big mystery and he is very child like for a qaulity ( supposedly) back. Right now ………………he could be over 1000 yds but his gut would not let him do it.

Next year, after a winter of Joe T training, he will be fine. If by Spring’s G Day game, he is the same, AND we sign two great backs in Feb. ……………..let the dreadlocks fall where they may.

I really think that if he has no more issues, Boo Malcome could really help UGA and in the GT game, I look for Ken Malcome to churn up 100ys+.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

Tech Forever

November 21st, 2011
10:51 pm

I truly do not believe UGA needs Crowell to play in order to win this game. UGA wins, period.

The original OLD Greg

November 21st, 2011
10:52 pm

If IC is healthy i expect he will be running harder than he has run all season. I say let Boo Malcome run the ball as a backup and pound it right into the middle of that 3-4 giving IC and Boo 15 carries each. Tech has been bad against the pass this year so 30 carries along with a successful passing game should equal a win for UGA

GT Fan

November 21st, 2011
10:52 pm

tekfan

November 21st, 2011
10:49 pm
first?

Not even close.

Abnerish

November 21st, 2011
10:52 pm

If he can play, give ‘em the rock. That kid doesn’t need any more pampering than he’s already had.

SatillaDawg

November 21st, 2011
10:53 pm

Win it for Munson, Dawgs!

Wreck Tech!

Paul in NH

November 21st, 2011
10:53 pm

As a GT grad, I’d be happy to see Richt rest Crowell, Jarvis Jones and Aaron Murray for the game on Saturday – he’ll need them all healthy and playing well in the SECCG.
On a serious note, if Crowell is 90% or better you play him – in the immortal words of Herm Edwards: you play to win the game.

cadawg

November 21st, 2011
10:54 pm

wow, smitty makes some excellent points. actually, he doesn’t.

GT Fan

November 21st, 2011
10:55 pm

The original OLD Greg

November 21st, 2011
10:52 pm
If IC is healthy i expect he will be running harder than he has run all season. I say let Boo Malcome run the ball as a backup and pound it right into the middle of that 3-4 giving IC and Boo 15 carries each. Tech has been bad against the pass this year so 30 carries along with a successful passing game should equal a win for UGA

Tell that to Sammy Watkins who is better than any receiver UGA has. If you can’t run the ball you aren’t going to beat Tech. GT’s strength on D is the pass D. If it get’s one dimensional, ala Clemson passing every down, GT is effective on D.

The key is running like VT and UVA did.

Mr Cool

November 21st, 2011
10:57 pm

If crowell is able to play he need to. The young man has a lot of talent he was just in high school last year and thrown into the SEC and now he know that he must work harder as talent is not enough but give it time and the bandwagon riders will be right back on the saddle.

AceDawg

November 21st, 2011
10:58 pm

Don’t be devil’s advocate, Schultz! If Crowell is good to go, he needs to go out and get some yards on Saturday. The UGA offense will have to be in sync against LSU, and playing Tech at its best is how to help do it. If Crowell sits, I have my doubts he’s ready to man up against an LSU or Bama anyhow. Plus, the only real way for UGA to go out champs is to leave it all on the line and finish with three more straight wins.

Coastal Dawg

November 21st, 2011
10:59 pm

What is really going on with Crowell and Thomas?

If Crowell is hurt, sit him. If not play him! He has had enough rest.

Go Dawgs! The Hell With Tech!

Larry Bowie

November 21st, 2011
10:59 pm

Beat Tech…..that is all.

murfdawg

November 21st, 2011
11:00 pm

As long as he is on scholarship, play him. Then send him to Jax State or Troy. He is not a SEC running back. Probably not an ACC rb. If we had Roddy Jones, we could play with anybody.

Go Dawgs and Tuck Fech!!!

kerryb

November 21st, 2011
11:00 pm

Sounds like Schultz is hoping that Richt sits Crowell. That’s the ONLY chance the bugs may have to win. Again with UGA’s defense I doubt they have a chance.

kerryb

November 21st, 2011
11:01 pm

murfdawg, you must be a closet Tech fan.

cadawg

November 21st, 2011
11:02 pm

also good to see schultz filling out his quota with thoughtful, well-researched articles like this.

Kevin

November 21st, 2011
11:02 pm

How about not starting him and see what Malcome/Harton do. Then decide. And dress Karempelis for the game, too. He looked as good/better than Harton to me vs. N. Mexico St.

George Stein

November 21st, 2011
11:02 pm

As a Tech fan, I can’t help but think that resting him will only encourage the behavior. You play him unless he’s injured.

tekfan

November 21st, 2011
11:02 pm

GT Fan..

I’m taking it you did not attend Georgia Tech. Else, you would have realized a user with the alias tekfan wouldn’t have scrollled down a number of comments to then ask if he were first. But props to you for cheering for your home team (assuming you do live in / near Atlanta).